In the first entry about Barbados national hero Samuel Jackman Prescod, we went into his early career in politics and journalism. Now we go further into his political career and his road to the Parliament.
VOTING CHANGE IN BARBADOS
For years, Prescod was involved in the abolitionist movement in the British colonies and class equality. He would go to the 1840 World’s Anti-Slavery Convention in London to represent Barbados and discuss conditions and steps in his country. Later that summer, he would protest the prices of land plots sold by White landholders.
The issue here was that land was priced so high that it froze out Black people from owning land and getting in farming-base commerce. Owning land was also power on Barbados as it allowed for class mobility and the right to vote. By pricing people out of land ownership it kept ballot power firmly in the hands of rich White people.
The Colonial Office investigated this and found that this was the case. A law is enacted with the intent of fixing this but voters only jumped slightly in the years following.
He would enter the next stage in his life in becoming a politician. With emancipation in Barbados Bridgetown got its own representatives. Prescod was one of those to head to the Parliament in 1843 as part of the House of Assembly. To represent Bridgetown he had to win over mostly White landowners he had taken to task for decades.
His assignment to the Assembly made him the first Black person elected to Parliament in Barbados. While in the Parliament he would help form the Liberal Party. In his time serving, he focused heavily on all levels of education for former slaves. After 17 years, he retired from Parliament but continued to his service as a judge in the Assistant Court of Appeal.
On September 26, 1871, Samuel Jackman Prescod passed away. He became one of the ten National Heroes in early 1998.