Mrs. McLeod is literally our living treasure. Her tireless research about the history of Suriname has helped both the locals and foreigners gain a deeper understanding about the period of slavery in the Suriname and by extension in the New World.
I cannot recommend her books, lectures and now Movie enough! In fact it is a must 🙂
Her book, “The Cost Of Sugar” tells a story about two privileged sisters, against the backdrop of slavery in the 17th century in Suriname. You will clearly see the prevailing attitudes of the day of both slaves and slave masters.
This book has now been made into a Movie as well. Make sure you get the version with English subtitles because it is in Dutch.
She also has a book about the first Black millionaire in the “New World” Elisabeth Samson, the English version is called ”
Here she is presenting a lecture about Elisabeth Samson at The University Of Berkley
Anton De Kom
Wij Slaven Van Suriname
Us Slaves Of Suriname
This is IMO a must read for ALL Surinamese especially, but also for those in Americas Diaspora who lived under colonial rule. In Suriname as it was in all European colonies, everything non-European was deemed inferior and was taught so in schools. Nothing non-European was worthy of praise, especially in the early colonial time. There was and in many cases still are no praise worthy stories or characters in school text books about non European cultures.
See this article for more about Anton De Kom
Anton De Kom, beautifully and forcefully dismisses those ideas in his book Wij Slaven Van Suriname(English version)
Narrative of a five years expedition against the revolted Negroes of Surinam
Arguably the most important period book from the slavery time was that of John Gabriel Stedman (1772 – 1777), who went to Surinam as a hired soldier to fight against the Marroons. He goes in great detail about the society in Suriname including the cruel punishments the slaves had to endure.
His book was actually very instrumental in the abolitionist movements worldwide. Nevertheless he embodied the contradictions of the time. He fought against those who were fighting to remain free, and he also fell in love with a slave girl.
What is unique about his book are the many illustrations that were made to help tell the story.
There is a PDF version available here, but nothing is better than a hard copy:
Please note that early versions of his book were censored. The uncensored version came out in the 70’s and was released with a foot note by Richard Price.
Modern anthropologists who studied the Saamaka.
There is no better source in English than the work of Richard and Sally Price.
They lived with the Saamaka for 2 years and documented their research in their book, “First – Time”. First-Time is an extraordinary collection of oral testimonies about the lives of eighteenth-century Saramakas, Afro-American maroons who escaped from slavery and settled in the tropical rain forest of Suriname. Proverbs, songs, prayers, genealogical nuggets, and contemporary engravings are woven into a fascinating interpretation of past events.
The Boni Maroon Wars in Suriname
By Wim S. M. Hoogbergen