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circa 1820 – 23rd October 1865
George William Gordon was a Jamaican politician and businessman.
His father was a Scottish planter who was an attorney to several sugar estates in Jamaica.
George’s mother was an enslaved woman called Ann Rattray.
George was self-educated and used his influence and power to leverage the freed people of Jamaica.
He subdivided his own lands, selling acres to Black people as cheaply as possible, and organised a system so they were able to sell their produce at fair prices.
George encouraged the Jamaican people to protest against and resist the oppressive and unfair conditions that they were forced to live in.
On the 11th of October 1865, George’s friend Baptist Deacon Paul Bogle led a protest to Morant Bay, or also known as the Morant Bay Uprising.
This was to object against the unfair arrest warrants issued to 27 men of the Stony Gut community in Jamaica.
The governor of Jamaica Edward Eyre prosecuted Black Jamaicans severely, even if they were not involved.
George was accused of inciting a violent rebellion when in fact he had nothing to do with it and was in Kingston, Jamaica at the time.
He was tried illegally and executed on the 23rd October 1865, as was Paul the next day.
The news reached Britain and the country was divided.
Half wanted Edward Eyre to be tried for murder, and another defended his actions.
The Jamaica Committee was set up by liberally-minded politicians and Charles Darwin.
Those that defended Edward Eyre’s actions included Charles Dickens…
Edward was guilty of murder however, he was never imprisoned.
George was later recognised as a National Hero of Jamaica in 1969 for leveraging Black people.
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