The Economic Future of the CaribbeanEdited by Eric Williams and E. Franklin Frazier New Preface by Erica Williams Connell
This book, now almost forgotten, was first published in 1944 and is now republished for the first time in sixty years. It carries a foreword by Erica Williams Connell, daughter of Eric Williams and founder of the Eric Williams Memorial Collection at the University of the West Indies in Trinidad.
In 1943 Dr. Eric Williams, a thirty-one year old Assistant Professor of Political and Social Science at Howard University, organized a conference on “The Economic Future of the Caribbean.” Williams, a rising star in intellectual and activist circles, brought together an eclectic and influential group of experts to debate the conference theme. Speakers included advocates of independence for Puerto Rico, leaders of the pro-democracy movement among Caribbean Americans, scholars, diplomats and the top brass of the British and United States sections of the newly-formed Anglo-American Caribbean Commission. Participants discussed the dominance of sugar throughout the region, the need for agricultural diversification, the fisheries industry and the media. They also examined race relations, the future of colonialism and the prospects for Caribbean federation. The proceedings were published under the editorship of Williams and E. Franklin Frazier, Professor of Sociology and Chairman of the Division of Social Sciences at Howard.
In a new introduction to the current reprint of the conference proceedings, Tony Martin for the first time reveals Williams’ use of this conference as a major component of his strategy to gain employment in the Anglo-American Caribbean Commission. Williams already saw his scholarship as merely a prelude to a political career and the Anglo-American Caribbean Commission presented an unprecedented opportunity for him to make his much desired transition from academia to policy-making. Revealed here for the first time also is Williams’ employment with the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), immediate forerunner of the United States’ Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
Eric Williams won a Trinidad and Tobago island scholarship, graduated at the top of his undergraduate class at Oxford University and obtained a D. Phil. from Oxford in 1938. He was successively chief minister, premier and prime minister of Trinidad and Tobago from 1956 to 1981. In academic circles he is best known as author of Capitalism and Slavery, one of the outstanding historical works of the twentieth century.