The legendary Stephen "Cat" Coore from the iconic band Third World gives thanks to Jamaican national hereos Paul Bogle and George William Gordon during a visit in Fort Lauderdale, FL. The Morant Bay Rebllion in Jamaica is the inflatus behind the band's 1977 hit song "96 degrees in the shade." In the song, the year was 1865 and recalls the march to the courthouse in Morant Bay in Saint Thomas parrish by hundreds of peasants led by Paul Bogle. They were protesting the gross injustices and poor living conditions which were widespread.
As we take hard look back into the history of Jamaica, we learn that emancipation from slavery in Jamaica and apprenticeship went into effect in 1834 with full freedom following four years later in 1838. Despite freedom, most freedmen were prevented from voting due to a high poll tax put in place to keep slaves from influencing change and shifting the balance of power. The years following slavery were espcially difficult due to flooding which severly damaged crops and the American Civil War which also halted supplies to the island. In retaliation of the rebellion while the court was in session, Governor, Edward John Eyre declared martial law and ordered that rebels be brought in to be tried for their crimes. More than 430 innocent black men, women and children were massacred by troops in their hunt for those behind the uprising. George William Gordon, mixed race, wealthy politician and representative of the parrish was also arrested. Gordon was very critical of policies and colonial goverment practices of Governor Eyre. Gordon along with Bogle were both excuted for the roles in the uprising. Their profound sacrifices and bravery was not in vain as Eyre was soon recalled to England and conditions began to improve there after.
Third World had a profound effect in the world of music and made a powerful and lasting impact not only in Jamaica, but worldwide. Music is a vehicle used to carry a message and induce feelings and Third World effectively used this medium to ensure that the message continues to travel through annals of time and planting the seed in the minds of our youth. Let us never forget our history and those who fought valiantly and laid down there lives for the freedoms that we enjoy to this today.
"Some may suffer and some may burn, but I know that one day my people will learn, as sure as the sun shines, way up in the sky, today I stand here a victim the truth is I'll never die."