Blacks on Tobacco Plantation, Jamaica


This photograph depicting a scene in Jamaica is from the Frank and Frances Carpenter Collection at the Library of Congress. Frank G. Carpenter (1855–1924) was an American writer of books on travel and world geography, whose works helped to popularize cultural anthropology and geography in the United States in the early years of the 20th century. Consisting of photographs taken and gathered by Carpenter and his daughter Frances (1890–1972) to illustrate his writings, the collection includes an estimated 16,800 photographs and 7,000 glass and film negatives. This photograph appeared in Land of the Caribbean (1925), part of Carpenter's World Travels series, with the caption: “Only fourteen thousand of Jamaica's population of almost a million are white. Most of the people are blacks or mulattoes descended from hundreds of thousands of African slaves brought here to work on the plantations.” The text explained that “slaves were brought in to work on the plantations, and the island became famous for its allspice, ginger, sugar, and rum. Then, in 1838, when its development was at its height, the slaves were emancipated, and most of the largest plantations fell into ruins for lack of labour.”

Last updated: February 12, 2016