Dr. Kwame Nantambu

African Slavery 101: Willie Lynch's advice to control African slaves, ad infinitum

By Dr. Kwame Nantambu
March 29, 2011

The Euro-British abolished slavery in the Caribbean on 1st August 1834; on that day, 600,000 African slaves were freed, at least physically.

Put another way, although physical abolition of African slaves in the Caribbean is a historical reality, however, 177 years later, mental or psychological slavery still exists.

The fact of the matter is that since the 15th century, Europeans have been extremely successful in implementing a concerted, well-structured game-plan to keep the African slave in perpetual enslavement.

This article recounts/recalls this European master-plan that was articulated by Willie Lynch in 1712. Willie Lynch has been described as the master of a "modest plantation" in the Caribbean. He was requested by slave-owners in the then colony of Virginia, United States, "to advise them on problems they have been having in managing their slaves."

In his speech, Willie Lynch presented a plan "to control slaves for at least 300 hundred years (and beyond)." Here is Willie Lynch's speech in his own words:


I greet you here on the bank of the James River in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and twelve. First, I shall thank you the Gentlemen of the Colony of Virginia for bringing me here. I am here to help you solve some of your problems with slaves. Your invitation reached me on my modest plantation in the West Indies where I have experimented with some of the newest and still the oldest methods for control of slaves. Ancient Rome would envy us if my program is implemented. As our boat sailed south on the James River, named for our illustrious King, whose version of the Bible we cherish, I saw enough to know that your problem is not unique. While Rome used cords or wood crosses for standing human bodies along it's old highways in great numbers, you are here using the tree and the rope on occasion.

I caught the whiff of a dead slave hanging from a tree a couple of miles back. You are not only losing valuable stock by hangings, you are having uprisings, slaves are running away, your crops sometimes left in the fields too long for maximum profit. You suffer occasional fires, your animals are killed, gentlemen, you know what your problems are; I do not need to elaborate. I am not here to enumerate your problems. I am here to introduce you to a method of solving problems.

In my bag here, I have a fool proof method for controlling your Black slaves. I guarantee everyone of you that if installed correctly, it will control the slaves for at least 300 years. My method is simple, any member of your family or any Overseer can use it.

I have outlined a number of differences among slaves and I take differences and make them bigger. I use fear, distrust, and envy for control purposes. These methods have worked on my modest plantation in the West Indies and it will work throughout the South. Take this simple little list of differences and think about them. On the top of my list is 'Age' but it is there only because it starts with an A; the second is 'Color' or shade; there is intelligence, size, sex, size of plantations status of plantation, attitude of owners, whether the slaves live in the valley, on a hill, East, West, North, South, have fine or coarse hair, or is tall or short. Now that you have a list of differences, I shall give you an outline of action, but before that I shall assure you that distrust is stronger than trust and envy is stronger than adulation, respect or admiration.

The Black slave, after receiving this indoctrination, shall carry on and will become self re-fuelling and self-generating for hundred s of years, maybe thousands.

Don't forget, you must pitch the old Black vs. the young Black male and the young Black male against the old Black male. You must use the dark skin slaves vs. the light skin slaves and the light skin slaves vs. the dark skin slaves. You must use the female vs. the male and the male vs. the female. You must also have your White servants and overseers distrust all Blacks but it is necessary that your slaves trust and depend on US. They must love, respect and trust only us.

Gentlemen, these kits are your keys to control, use them. Have your wives and children use them, never miss an opportunity. My plan is guaranteed and the good thing about this plan is that if used intensely for one year, the slaves themselves will remain perpetually distrustful.

The stark reality is that Willie Lynch's control advice can be updated and re-named the Divide and Rule (Conquer) ploy Europeans have used on the colonized for the past 500 years and counting. This is not rocket science or advanced calculus. As Willie Lynch himself said, this is a "simple" plan.

This Divide and Rule (Conquer) European master-plan was successful during the heydays of colonialism and slavery and it is now all the more successful during the current heydays of Neo-colonialism in the Caribbean.

Indeed, the sad legacy of Euro-colonialism and slavery is that although the Euro- British governor is no longer physically present in the Caribbean, the psychological advice enunciated by Willie Lynch in 1712 still resonates in the Caribbean today.

The only difference is that the descendants of those so-called freed slaves are now maintaining and perpetuating Willie Lynch's divisive game-plan. "The more things change, the more they remain the same."

Truth Be Told: In modern geo-political terms, the Euro- British Westminster system(model) of two-party government that was imposed on the colonized in the Caribbean in the early 1960s was nothing more than a new, improved and contemporary manifestation/version of the 15th century European plantation Divisive system of governance as articulated by Willie Lynch in 1712.

In that scenario, the Euro-slave-master was in charge while the house-servants and field-hands fought against each other. Today, in the era of putative political independence, this divisive Euro-centric model of government is reflected in the Caribbean, including T&T, whereby a Prime Minister from among the colonized/enslaved has now replaced the Euro-British slave-master/governor while the ruling government (descendants of the house-servants) and the opposition (descendants of the field-hands) still continue to fight against each other a la death penalty legislation in T&T.

"The more thing change, the more they remain the same."

As the adage goes: "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." Willie Lynch's 1712 advice is still alive and kicking in T&T in 2011.

Result: Forward never, Backward ever for African people.

Shem Hotep ("I go in peace").

Dr. Kwame Nantambu is a part-time lecturer at Cipriani College of Labour and Co-operative Studies.

Nantambu's Homepage / Trinicenter Home