“The State of Decay into which the Island Has Fallen”: Education and Social Welfare on Montserrat after emancipation

  • Krysta RyzewskiEmail author
  • John F. Cherry
  • Laura McAtackney


The social life of the newly created ‘laboring classes’ in the post-emancipation Caribbean has been relatively unexamined across a number of disciplinary perspectives. This paper argues for the need to bring together a variety of sources to enable researchers to gain a better understanding of this important, transitional time in Montserrat’s history. Using evidence gathered from archives in the Caribbean, North America and the British Isles, materials excavated from a previously undocumented schoolhouse structure in the north of the island, and local memories of education on Montserrat, this paper illuminates an almost forgotten aspect of the lives of nineteenth-century laboring classes: the aspiration of education.


Post-emancipation Education Montserrat Caribbean 



This research was conducted with the support of the National Endowment for the Humanities (Collaborative Research Grant RZ51674-14), the Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World at Brown University, and the Department of Anthropology at Wayne State University. The authors appreciate feedback provided by Matthew Reilly and Genevieve Godbout on earlier versions of this paper. We are especially grateful for the cooperation and assistance of Lady Eudora Fergus and Mrs. Sarita Francis, OBE (past and present Directors, respectively, of the Montserrat National Trust), and Mr. Joseph Prosper (Director, Antigua and Barbuda National Archives). We thank Athena Zissis for her contributions to the laboratory analysis of the Potato Hill assemblage, as well as the many other archaeologists who have participated in research activities as part of the Survey and Landscape Archaeology on Montserrat project.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018
corrected publication December/2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyWayne State UniversityDetroitUSA
  2. 2.Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient WorldBrown UniversityProvidenceUSA
  3. 3.School of Culture and Society, Department of Archaeology and Heritage StudiesAarhus UniversityHøjbjergDenmark

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