In this Book
In numerous visits to the island over 25 years, Kenneth Bilby gained the confidence of the Maroon elders, who revealed to him secret details of their ancestral heritage--including history, music, Kromanti religion, language, and culture--for publication. Whereas almost all previous studies of the Jamaican Maroons have focused on the distant past, this one is as much about present-day Maroons as about their ancestors. For the first time, the story of what it means to be a Maroon is conveyed through the words of the Maroons themselves. Gathering together dozens of oral-history narratives, sacred songs, and other forms of esoteric knowledge, the book is a study of cultural memory challenging the common assumption that contemporary Maroons have little or no knowledge of their own ancestral past, as well as the related idea that they have "all but disappeared" from Jamaica. Equally important is the story of the complex local and global politics into which the contemporary Maroons are increasingly drawn and the problematic ways in which the Maroons’ highly valued history has been appropriated, theorized, and commodified in postcolonial Jamaica and beyond, threatening to sever the Maroons from their own past.
The first study of Jamaican Maroons to place living voices at the center of analysis, True-Born Maroons sheds much new light on both the past and present situation of Jamaica's hidden Others, once described as "some of the world's most famous but least-known people."