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….


The Afro American, 14 April 1934:

Mt. Moritz on Facebook:

  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.

      • February 20, 2016 at 5:01 am

        The link to my blog is

        I haven’t been active on the blog but rather the private Nt Moritz page on Facebook. I’ve just returned from Mt Moritz and spent 2 weeks there. My family is Scottish, English, Irish and French.
        My family lived in Barbados until a campaign was orchestrated in the nearby islands of Mt Moritz, Grenada and Dorcestershire Hill, St Vincent to offer work. My family split up and went to both islands. Some went to Bequia. Many of these Irish, Welsh and English were thought to have been banished or “Barbadoed” from Oliver Cronwell. They were sent there as indentured servants.
        My Scottish family came directly from Scotland to take advantage of the sugar industry in the 1700s. The French were in Martinique and Grenada was considered a colony of Martinique in the 1600s, early 1700s. The island was owned by the French however Britain took control during the latter half of the 1700s and since then it was ruled by Britain until their independence in 1974.
        The island is truly a mix. I don’t know anything about your Irish family on that other island but I would check to see if they were Scottish and part of the sugar barons of the 1600/1700s.
        Good luck.

  3. bdosparks
    June 30, 2015 at 2:56 pm

    Further to this – many ‘White’ Grenadian and Bajan families have been researching their ancestry since the internet became a via resource for sharing and communication back in 1990, some even before that since the 1970’s, and for a great number of reasons have chosen not to publish. Of the many names from Mt. Moritz, Grand Mal, Beauséjour including the surrounding areas in Grenada (most from earlier origins on Barbados) are NOT of IRISH decent. They are from the very earliest ousting related to the English (from Tiverton, Axminster, Membury, Colyton, Honiton, Exeter, Sidbury, Chardstock, Coombe Raleigh, Whitford) of the Monmouth rebellion of 1685. However it must be pointed out that these names are often NOT Scottish either – a very few names were sent first from Scotland to Ireland and thence to the Caribbean. Even the BBC broadcast a programme that associated those from St. John in Barbados (commonly given the name Red Legs) yet the families of Mt. Moritz and are not of the set that left Barbados sometime after the emancipation of slaves – which force their economic status’ to crash and they had no option but to seek better land and work prospects on other islands or in the Americas.

    Of cause it is true you can find Celic surnames — but there are few associated with those on Mt. Moritz:

    common Scot surnames on Barbados such as Douglas, Robinson, Reid, Russell, Lewis, McLean, McFarlane, McKenzie, McDonald, Grant, Gordon, Graham, Stewart, Simpson, Scott, Ferguson, Frazer and Farquharson are not of the aforementioned families. Neither are the Irish surnames Burke, Collins, Lynch, Mackey, Murphy, Reynolds. Nor the Welsh surnames of Challenor, Drax (or Drakes), Gittens, Griffiths, Jeffries, Jordon, Lewis, Mauhan (or Morgan & Morgan), Morris, Perryman, Powell or Terrell.


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