Unsilencing Slavery: Telling Truths About Rose Hall Plantation, Jamaica

Celia E. Naylor

Popular references to the Rose Hall Great House in Jamaica often focus on the legend of the “White Witch of Rose Hall.” Over one hundred thousand people visit this plantation every year, many hoping to catch a glimpse of Annie Palmer’s ghost. After experiencing this tour with her daughter in 2013 and leaving Jamaica haunted by the silences of the tour, Celia E. Naylor resolved to write a history of Rose Hall about those people who actually had a right to haunt this place of terror and trauma-the enslaved. Naylor deftly guides us through a strikingly different Rose Hall. She introduces readers to the silences of the archives and unearths the names and experiences of the enslaved at Rose Hall in the decades immediately before the abolition of slavery in Jamaica. She then offers a careful reading of Herbert G. de Lisser’s 1929 novel, The White Witch of Rosehall-which gave rise to the myth of the “White Witch”-and a critical analysis of the current tours at Rose Hall Great Hall.

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