1800-1859 | 1920-1939 | Appeasing Hitler | Censorship | Executions | Germany | Jamaica | Slavery

23 MAY

BAPTIST DEACON SAMUEL SHARPE HUNG FOR LEADING JAMAICAN SLAVE STRIKE 

Bronze figures depict Samuel Sharpe preaching on the injustices of slavery. Located close to the place of his execution. D. Ramey Logan – CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia.

[ 23 May 1832 ]

Today in 1832, the Jamaican Baptist deacon Samuel Sharpe was hung by the British for leading a slave strike. He was the last of 326 slaves to be executed. Their crime was refusing to follow orders by refusing to return to work after their Christmas two day leave. A European resident who had earlier been held captive by the slaves later reported that Sharpe

‘said that he did not wish to take away the life of any person who did not stand between him and his rights; that it was but lately that he had begun to know much of religion but that he knew and I knew as well, that freedom was their right, and freedom they would have…. (and) he said a great deal more, all tending to show that from the religious notions he had imbibed, he conceived that the slaves had a right to be free.’1

EDITOR OF THE TIMES ADMITS CENSORING REPORTS CRITICAL OF NAZI GERMANY

A Jewish owned clothing store in Nazi Germany, each window daubed in paint with the word ‘Jew !’ – c. 1933-1936. Public domain via Wikimedia.

[ 23 May 1937 ]

On this day in 1937, Geoffrey Dawson, editor of The Times, confessed to H.G. Daniels, his Geneva correspondent, that ‘I did my utmost, night after night, to keep out of the paper anything that might hurt (Nazi) sensibilities.’ As a close friend of Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain and a member of the pro-Nazi Anglo-German Fellowship, Dawson felt strongly that it was in the interests of big business to maintain friendly relations with Hitler’s regime, despite its murderous persecution of Jews and aggressive rearmament.2

FOOTNOTES

  1. The Brighton Gazette, 1 March 1832, p. 4.
  2. Letter of 23 May 1937 from Geoffrey Dawson, Editor of The Times, to H.G. Daniels cited in Franklin Reid Gannon, The British Press and Germany, 1936-1939, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1971, p. 114.

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