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Emancipation Day
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Posted by:Aug 4th 2008, 01:02:29 pm
Jungle JimThe 1st August 1834 was a memorable day in Harbour Island; it passed without excitement. Methodist Missionary Charles Penny supplied liberated black people with the scriptures. More coloured people than he had ever seen before attended the meeting, all with anxious looks and many with tears begging that their names be taken down in order to receive a testament. He reports his exchange with them:

I said to them, “Why? You cannot read”.
They said, No sir, but my little girl goes to Mrs Penny’s Sunday School and I am learning at the adult school and before long I will be able to lead too.

Sunday School attendance leapt to nearly 100 white and black children and altogether over 300 diligent and attentive scholars.

Four years later, the Stipendiary Magistrate, Mr. McGregor, organized a special watch-night service for Apprentices and, looking forward to full emancipation, sang:

Prisoners of hope lift up your hearts
The Day of Liberty draws near.

Again the white people were as anxious as the coloured people, neither knowing what to expect in the coming months and years but there seemed to be a friendly feeling between apprentices and their masters. McGregor expressed his wish that the late apprentices might celebrate with a dance but Methodist missionary Thomas Lofthouse didn’t approve.
(Anne and Jim Lawlor "Harbour Island Story)

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