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Caribbean Visionary

A. R. F. Webber and the Making of the Guyanese Nation

Selwyn R. Cudjoe

Publication Year: 2009

Caribbean Visionary: A. R. F. Webber and the Making of the Guyanese Nation traces the life of Albert Raymond Forbes Webber (1880-1932), a distinguished Caribbean scholar, statesman, legislator, and novelist. Using Webber as a lens, the book outlines the Guyanese struggle for justice and equality in an age of colonialism, imperialism, and indentureship. In this fascinating work, Selwyn R. Cudjoe examines Webber's emergence from the interior of Guyana to become a major presence in Caribbean politics. Caribbean Visionary examines Webber's insightful novel, Those That Be in Bondage, his travel writings, and his poetry. The book chronicles his formation of the West Indian Press Association, his work on British Guiana's constitution, and his championing of its people's causes. Cudjoe studies Webber's work with the British Guiana Labour Union to improve the conditions of the Guyanese working people and Webber's authorship of the Centenary History and Handbook of British Guiana. An important addition to Caribbean intellectual history, Caribbean Visionary is an indispensable work for scholars interested in the region's literature, political science, and economic thought. It is also an invaluable resource for those who wish to understand the genesis of contemporary Guyana and the English-speaking Caribbean.

Published by: University Press of Mississippi


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pp. ix-x


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p. xi-xi

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Note on Nomenclature

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p. xiii-xiii

GUYANA POSSESSES A VERY DIVERSE POPULATION with many interlocking and changing definitions. The population consists of the American Indians, who are now called “First Nation” or the “First People.” The term “Bovianders” refers to persons of American Indian and African ancestry. There are the Europeans who colonized the land, Africans who were brought to the colony and who were called ...

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pp. 3-14

Every acre at present in cultivation has been the scene of a struggle with the sea in front and the flood behind. As a result of this arduous labour during two centuries, a narrow strip of land along the coast has been rescued from the mangrove swamp and kept under ON THURSDAY, JUNE 30, 1932, the New Daily Chronicle shocked the consciousness of Guyanese people when it reported the sudden death of Albert Raymond ...

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CHAPTER ONE: Those That Be in Bondage

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pp. 15-23

As the ships dropped anchor in the river, no cannon from Fort William Frederick boomed forth the great event; no strains of music from the City band greeted the landing of the new-comers. There were no outward demonstrations of joy, as one friend greeting friend. Their coming was marked by a mute reception, save, perhaps, by the rude gibes and taunts of Africa’s liberated sons, drawn thither by idle curiosity to look ...

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CHAPTER TWO: The Private Thoughts of a Political Man: The Making of A. R. F. Webber, 1917–19

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pp. 24-37

THE END OF THE GREAT WAR (1914–18) ushered in new social and political relations in the Caribbean and the colonial world and made questions of self-determination and racial awareness even more urgent. Not that there were no indigenous liberation movements prior to the war, but the contradictions in the colonial-capitalist world simply gave colonial peoples a better opening and a greater ...

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CHAPTER THREE: Webber’s Entrance to the Political Arena, 1919–21

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pp. 38-46

Several reasons combine to make it likely that the common demand for a measure of representative government will in the long run prove irresistible. The wave of democratic sentiment has been powerfully stimulated by the War. Education is rapidly spreading, and tending to produce coloured and black intelligentsia, of which the members are quick to absorb elements of knowledge requisite for entry into learned professions, and ...

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CHAPTER FOUR: Webber’s Political Ascendancy, 1921–25

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pp. 47-63

Mr. Webber: I said, sir, that he [the former governor] is now sitting in a quiet corner of His Excellency: I do not see what the observation of the Financial Representative has to Mr. Webber: In [the] process of time Your Excellency and your Lieutenant will also go into peaceful retirement in the happy possession of a pension and the people of As long as the Colony remains under a paternal sort of Government, manned chiefly ...

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CHAPTER FIVE: The Constitutional Crisis: The Bullet or the Ballot

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pp. 64-76

It was the Marquis of Normandy, the only Peer in Holy orders, and a really earnest man, who said, here in England a day or two ago, that it was impossible to work in slum dis-THE DROUGHT THAT GRIPPED BRITISH GUIANA from August 25, 1925, to May 1926 led to economic depression, unemployment, and financial loss to the colony. When the rains returned in May, they brought with them fever epidemics and ...

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CHAPTER SIX: Webber’s Leadership, the Popular Party, and the Constitutional Crisis, 1926–27

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pp. 77-88

It is not surprising that the famous tolerance leaves him almost entirely [when he arrives in the colonial territories]. At home he was distinguished for the liberality and freedom of his views. Hampden, Chatham, Dunning and Fox, Magna Charta and Bill of Rights, these are the persons and things (however misconceived) which Englishmen, undemonstrative as they are, write and speak of with subdued but conscious pride. . . . ...

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CHAPTER SEVEN: Webber: A Traveling Man

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pp. 89-102

Texts that are inertly of their time stay there; those which brush up unstintingly against historical constraints are the ones we keep with us, generation after generation.If I would convert one hundred million tropical heathen[s] to the worship of an UNKNOWN God I would lead them to see a heavy snowfall: not while it was falling for that is monotonous, and it is the accumulated effect that is required. I would lead ...

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CHAPTER EIGHT: The Quest for Self-Government

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pp. 103-117

As I look ahead to the future of these Colonies, I do not see the question of present day conception of Empire as one of the greatest issues and I would prefer, and many of my friends would agree with me, to count the Empire dead and, out of its ashes, Phoenix like, expect to see raised up a Commonwealth of Free Nations with the West Indies filling her own part as a confederate whole and taking her place in the administrations ...

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CHAPTER NINE: The Sugar Crisis, Constitutional Reform, and the White Man’s Burden

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pp. 118-136

Arise! Cry out for the children that hunger and are naked. “Proclaim all these words in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem, saying Hear ye the words of this The Executive Committee of the Labour Union is therefore of the considered opinion that nothing short of adult suffrage and the sweeping away of all qualifications for elections as a member of the Legislature will assure labour significant control of the ...

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CHAPTER TEN: Exploring New Worlds

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pp. 137-151

Let me tell any boys and girls, or boys alone, or girls alone, who are anxious to spend a wonderful Easter holiday, to make the trip. See a country that is a hidden book to nearly AT THE END OF 1929, EVERYWHERE THEY LOOKED, any way they turned, the people of Guyana saw the effects of a sugar economy gone sour, leaving ruination; devastated plantations; starving, desperate people; and a helpless, inept ...

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CHAPTER ELEVEN: Patriot and Businessman

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pp. 152-166

In every representative assembly in the world there is usually one man who stands out as the Tribune of the People. Such a man will make a mistake but such a man is vitally necessary. Mr. Webber has filled the role of Tribune with distinction. An orator who can move his hearers to laughter and to tears, Mr. Webber is the man you need to be ever vigilant in your cause, but ever ready to encourage Government in any measure which ...

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CHAPTER TWELVE: Webber: A Keynesian

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pp. 167-185

British Guiana alone cannot right the world’s under consumption; but it can see to it that it does not aggravate under consumption within its own borders. Let us stretch our vision. Let us look beyond the immediate horizon. Away with cringing fear which bids us shiver. The night must pass. Panic helps nobody. Let us greet the unseen with cheer.Look after unemployment and the Budget will look after itself. . . . We must save if ...

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CHAPTER THIRTEEN: Colonies in Search of a Nation

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pp. 186-201

Guiana is a country that hath her maiden head, never sacked, turned nor wrought. The face of the earth hath not been torn, nor the virtue and salt of the soil spent by manurance, the graves have not been opened for gold, the mines not broken with sledges. ...

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CHAPTER FOURTEEN: Going Down with His Colors Flying

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pp. 202-214

The Colonial Office regards a reformer in any of these islands as an agitator.—A. R. F. WEBBER, “Hon. A. R. F. Webber Defeated by 29 Votes”ALTHOUGH WEBBER TOOK MOST OF 1931 to complete Centenary History, he still found time to continue his legislative duties and to make a living since the elective members of the Legislative Council were not paid a salary, nor were they ...

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CHAPTER FIFTEEN: Ideology, Race, Celebrity

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pp. 215-224

While rivers run into the sea, while on the mountain shadows move over the slopes, while heaven feeds the stars, ever shall thy honor, thy name, and thy praises endure.I will cut myself a path through the world or perish in the attempt. Others have begun life with nothing and ended greatly. And shall I, who have a competent if not a large fortune, remain idle? No, I will carve myself the passage to Grandeur, but never with ...

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CHAPTER SIXTEEN: A Devoted West Indian Son

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pp. 225-232

Albert Raymond Forbes Webber is dead. Is it true? Everyone was asking this yesterday. . . . Let us leave Allie Webber with God his Creator who I am sure having regard to his humanity and kindliness of heart with all men, will undoubtedly find for him a place of happiness condign to his service. In this belief I pray God rest for his soul.WEDNESDAY, JUNE 29, 1932, dawned as any other day in Guyana. A bright and ...


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pp. 233-264


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pp. 265-270


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pp. 271-293

E-ISBN-13: 9781604733327
E-ISBN-10: 1604733322
Print-ISBN-13: 9781604731064
Print-ISBN-10: 1604731060

Page Count: 304
Publication Year: 2009