J. J. Thomas


J. J. Thomas

Thomas was born in the year 1841 in South Trinidad under humble circumstances, only a few years after the end of the period of apprenticeship had ended in the British West Indies. Thus his experience of plantation life was limited to the shared experiences of others. His most impressionable years were spent among those who themselves had known the indignities of the servitude and the excited hopes of emancipation and some of these in their memories could reach back to Africa. In Froudacity, Thomas states that he had been “familiar since childhood with members from every tribe in Africa” This is important in understanding and accounting for his race consciousness.

As one of the foremost champions of the African race in nineteenth-century Trinidad, John Jacob Thomas was acutely aware of the fact that the values of black inferiority had to some extent been internalized by African Trinidadians. As CLR James notes ‘ many people believe that (and you will find this nowhere more clearly stated that in the famous report of Lord Moyne in 1939) the blacks who came to the Caribbean brought nothing with them, no hint of their language, religion or of their social experiences in Africa. What the Africans lacked that the Indian Indentured labourers exhibited was the structural organisation of these elements.”

Biography Source

Texts by ThomasTexts about Thomas
  • Thomas, J.J.  Froudacity: West Indian Fables” by Anthony Froude  (1889)

    Citation: Froudacity: West Indian Fables by James Anthony Froude. T.F. Unwin, 1889.

  • J. Thomas and Political Thought in the Caribbean” by Rupert Lewis (1990)

    Citation: LEWIS, RUPERT. “J. J. THOMAS AND POLITICAL THOUGHT IN THE CARIBBEAN.” Caribbean Quarterly, vol. 36, no. 1/2, 1990, pp. 46–58. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/23050450.