Bryan, Patrick E.
Author Affiliation, Ana.
Department of History and Archaeology
Augusta Zelia Fraser in Jamaica: The case for racial separation
Date of Publication
Examines the themes in the novel and short stories of Alice Spinner, pseudonym of Augusta Zelia Fraser, and looks at how she depicts Jamaican society at the end of the 19th c., and highlights the relations between whites, blacks, and mixed bloods. Author explains that underlying the descriptions were Spinner's views about race and culture, which differed from Social-Darwinism and pseudo-scientific racism viewing blacks as inferior, and her dismissal of imperialist goals of civilizing blacks toward European norms. He discusses how Spinner describes, from a metropolitan, outside position, the white upper strata on the fictional San Josť (but clearly Jamaica), and how she satirizes their lives and views as the supposedly 'civilized'. He then discusses how she describes the mixed population, and the black population, which she describes as culturally, inherently different from whites. Author points out that Spinner, who saw the races as fundamentally different, calls for separate development of races, but did not present this in terms of racial superiority or inferiority. Augusta Zelia Fraser, who accompanied her railroad engineer husband to Jamaica in the 1890s, wrote a number of short stories and a full-length novel that reflected her perceptions of 'creole' life in Jamaica. Published under the pseudonym, Alice Spinner her novels and essays gained some popularity in Jamaica. Her work embraces the style of the people of the island, and the social and sexual interaction between ethnic groups. To some extent her work is also a critique of imperial trusteeship, which she rejected in favour of separate development of the races.....