UCL Institute of the Americas


UCL Institute of the Americas Caribbean Seminar Series: Unsilencing Slavery

24 January 2024, 5:30 pm–7:00 pm

Celia Naylor Author

Unsilencing Slavery: Telling Truths about Rose Hall Plantation, Jamaica

This event is free.

Event Information

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All | UCL staff | UCL students


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Institute of Americas


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Rose Hall Great House looms large as a popular tourist destination in Montego Bay, Jamaica. It has become popular due to the myths surrounding the white mistress of the plantation, Annie May Palmer, who is frequently referred to as the “White Witch of Rose Hall.” The current material displayed at Rose Hall Great House does not highlight or contextualize the experiences of enslaved persons at this plantation or slavery in general. Instead, the names and experiences of the enslaved persons who lived and laboured at Rose Hall remain unspoken, unremembered, and unmemorialized. For this seminar I will present aspects of my book and companion website, which focus on the lived experiences of the 208 enslaved persons at Rose Hall between 1817 and 1832, as well as encourage more speculative and imaginative renderings of the fullness of enslaved persons' humanity in telling truths about their lives.

Celia E. Naylor was born in Kingston, Jamaica. She migrated to the United States with her family in 1977. She is Professor of Africana Studies and History and Chair of the Africana Studies Department at Barnard College, Columbia University. Her first book, African Cherokees in Indian Territory: From Chattel to Citizens, was published by the University of North Carolina Press in 2008. Her recently published book is a microhistory of enslaved people’s experiences at Rose Hall Plantation in Jamaica. It is entitled Unsilencing Slavery: Telling Truths about Rose Hall Plantation, Jamaica (University of Georgia Press, 2022). In addition to the book, she also worked with a talented team of people from Barnard and Columbia to create the companion website for this project—it is available at unsilencing-slavery.org