Dr. Yvonne Brown will present a paper entitled, “Making Sense of the Jamaica Hansard, 1920-1944: A Critical Analysis of the Structure of Power, Authority and Influence Under Crown Colony Government”
In constructing a political biography of a legislative councillor who served under the Crown Colony Constitution of Jamaica and who is long deceased, the Jamaica Hansard is one of the main archival sources to recuperate his words and deeds and to get a measure of character, personal power, and influence to challenge imperial power over policy, law and finances. The Jamaica Hansard is a verbatim record of the proceeding of the legislative council meetings. Here, through the role performance of various members of the Council, one can discern the machination of the imperial state apparatus. Upon reading the Hansard between 1920 -1944, when Charles Archibald Reid entered electoral politics, it becomes evident that there was an asymmetrical power relation existing among the various roles enacted during the proceedings. This presentation attempts to delineate the imperial political framework in which Charles Archibald Reid, an Afro-Jamaican shoemaker and cultivator, negotiated power sharing and influence to gain concessions in services, land, money grants, and fair treatment in tax assessments, education, food prices and so on, for his constituents of Manchester.
Yvonne Brown has reinvented herself as a writer and historian, after 39 years in the education system in British Columbia. In the 2010-2011 school year she completed a post-doctoral fellowship on the Major Collaborative Research Initiatives (MCRI) Program: “Slavery, Memory Citizenship” at the Harriet Tubman Institute for Research on the Global Migration of African Peoples, where she immersed herself in the new experience of doing archival research. Professor Paul E. Lovejoy was the principal investigator. Her subject of research, writing and workshops focuses on how the legacies of the transatlantic slave trade, plantation slavery on the continent of Africa and in its Diasporas are remembered in various struggles for citizenship.
She believes that memoirs, autobiographies and biographies are educational texts in multicultural contexts such as Canada. Yvonne gives workshops on the literature of Africa and its diaspora for teachers of English, Social Studies and English- as-a Second Language. She believes that shared life-stories help us to understand the history and cultural productions of African/Black people, locally and globally. She is currently researching and writing the biography of Charles Archibald Reid, a Jamaican politician.