Samuel Ward and the Making of an Imperial Subject

Document Type


Publication Date

May 2012


This article examines Samuel Ringgold Ward's anti-slavery labours in Canada, the United Kingdom and Jamaica between 1851 and 1866. It demonstrates the ways in which Ward transformed himself into an imperial subject through the pursuit of personal and race-based liberty. This transformation is explained in four ways: Ward's physical relocation from unfree to free soil; his advocacy of legal equality for all people regardless of racial origin; his calls for emigration to the British Empire; and his commitment to the spread of pan-African evangelical Christianity. The article's central concern is to reveal the contradictions between liberty and empire.