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XII) Race Consciousness

The thoughts and opinions of Marcus Garvey held great sway in the TWA and many of its executive officers were members of the Universal Negro Improvement Association. The Garveyite Negro World was smuggled in by visiting seamen despite being banned by the colonial government. The concern of the authorities over the influence of Garvey was so great that the American Consul in Trinidad implored the United States State Department to take all precautions to interdict the Negro World at the source because he feared the paper was "directly inciting the Negro population to acts of murder and anarchy (Martin 1976:98)." The Argos, an African creole owned newspaper, promoted the concept of race pride and reported extensively on post-war anti-black riots in Britain. The white community feared the increasing racial hostility and requested that the Colonial Secretary suppress the Argos, arm the whites, and station British troops on the island (Brereton 1981:161-2).

The rise of middle class East Indian merchants and their desire to voice their concerns and promote their interests led to the formation of their own political and social organizations. The East Indian Destitute League was formed in 1916 to provide some kind of relief for poor Indians and to agitate for the end of indentureship and repatriation for all those who qualified (Brereton 1981:157). With the end of indentured servitude in 1917 after considerable opposition from the Trinidad Workingmen's Association and the Indian National Congress, Indian political demands became even more strident. Racial consciousness among East Indians was encouraged by missionaries and cultural figures from India. News of the efforts of the Indian independence movement was closely followed (Brereton 1981:175).

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