Mt. Moritz, Grenada

Mt. Moritz, Grenada

Mt. Moritz, Grenada

From Alison Donnell:

You are probably all aware of the piece about Grenada in Nancy Cunard’s infamous 1934 anthology Negro: ‘White Trash in the Antilles’ by H. Gordon Andrews. It begins….

“The ‘White Trash’ colony of Grenada is located about three miles inland from the capital St. George in a district called Mt Moritz. So far as the historical printed records of the island are concerned no information whatever is given on this subject. Whatever statement is made here on this matter is done in good faith and based on personal knowledge. The population of this group of poor whites is swiftly being absorbed by amalgamation with some of the lower classes of Africans. No mulato or black who may consider himself of good class would inter-marry with one of these whites, so great is the contempt in which these poor unfortunates are held.” (305)

And ends….

“The ‘Po’ white trash of the West Indies and America call for as much sympathy as the wretched Negroes of Africa who were enslaved and exploited for the same reasons, and against whom is felt that self-same prejudice that the lowliest Grenadian feels against poor ‘Backra Johnny,’ who to him is nothing more than ‘White Trash’.” (307)

Interestingly, this book was banned in Trinidad in the year of its publication and one newspaper report suggests that the action may have been taken on account of Andrews’ suggestion of equal oppression. Also interesting, Mt. Moritz has its own FB page.

I plan to go there in June but if anyone can share more in advance, please let me (Alison Donnell) know or post here….

Sources:

The Afro American, 14 April 1934: http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1532&dat=19340414&id=r4k9AAAAIBAJ&sjid=aisMAAAAIBAJ&pg=272%2C12210192

Mt. Moritz on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Mt-Moritz-Community-Development-Organisation/202684563081687

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  1. June 19, 2013 at 8:41 pm

    I hope you’ll be posting follow-up comments after your trip to Mt. Moritz. My sister and I will be there next month to – we hope – collect some family stories. We’ll also be doing research in Barbados and visiting St. VIncent for family background. We are not professional researchers, but have been digging into our Scots – English – Irish West Indian family histories for years.

  2. June 6, 2014 at 9:19 pm

    I have a new blog here on WordPress about Mt. Moritz Grenada. In fact, the comment above is from my cousin. I was born and raised here in New York but my parents, sister and entire extended family was born and raised in Mt. Moritz, Grenada.
    I don’t know where you are getting your facts from but the people of Mt. Moritz are NOT a poor breed the way you are depicting it. I am well aware of the, Redlegs of Barbados and that they are still in Barbados with many photos of them online, toothless and in rags. I don’t know how true that is. .
    Many left in the late 1800s for Mt. Moritz or Dorcestershire Hill, St. Vincent but those people were hard working whites who maintained their homes, built a school and church with British Pastors and wore a uniform to school. My parents were born around 1930 and even though they grew up with no electricity and by US or British standards at that time, they may have seemed poor but not comparatively to the rest of the island. Many held office positions in St. George’s, the city and they were taught very well, rivaling our schools here in the US. They kept their houses well when most of the blacks in the surrounding areas lived in shanty towns which is why the whites kept them out at that time. During the 1950s, they was more integration. But many of the surrounding areas of Grand Mal and Happy Hill knew of the Mt. Moritz people as generous and they would come up on Christmas morning to celebrate and stop for food and drinks. That is because the people in Mt. Moritz were well off comparatively.
    Again, I don’t know where you are getting your facts from but it is getting quite offensive to the people of Mt. Moritz who grew up with high standards.

    • September 3, 2014 at 3:33 pm

      You’re right to point out how derogatory the language of “white trash” is, but please note that it was quoted from another text: Cunard’s Negro anthology from 1934. Do you know of any local resources like archives in Mt. Moritz that can tell us about the Irish Caribbeans of Montserrat? Would be glad to have a link to your blog, as well.

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