The Cross and the Machete
The Morant Bay Rebellion, otherwise known as the ‘Native Baptist War’ represents an important watershed in Jamaican history. Traditional historiography has often represented the actions of Paul Bogle the hero/villain Baptist Deacon and his followers when they marched on the Morant Bay court house in 1865 as being motivated by mere murderous intent.
But in this new work, Devon Dick – himself an ordained Baptist minister – argues that Bogle and Assemblyman George William Gordon, were propelled to protest inequalities and injustices because of their distinctive Native Baptist Christian faith. The Native Baptist tradition can be described as a creolised version of the English Baptist faith of the missionaries. It was developed in response to the racial prejudice experienced at the hands of those missionaries, and their acquiescence of the status quo with its emphasis on oppression of the native population. By contrast, the Native Baptists emphasised their African heritage, defended the use of creole in the liturgy of the church and based the practice of their Faith on the community’s reflection on its struggles in light of the Scriptures.
It was this distinctive interpretative approach to the scriptures and other related sacred literature, argues Dick, that informed Bogle’s prophetic response in the 1865 Native Baptist War.
Thoroughly researched and drawing on original documents attributed to Bogle and other Native Baptists, The Cross and the Machete provides an alternative interpretation of the actions of Bogle, Gordon and other Native Baptists and introduces a new paradigm for understanding their struggle for equality, justice and liberation.
- Identity of the Native Baptists
- Religious Influences on Native Baptists
- Native Baptists’ Beliefs and Practices
- Themes and Hermeneutic of the Native Baptists
- Nature and Scope of the1865 Native Baptist War