A few years after slavery was finally abolished in British Guiana on August 1, 1834, Africans freed from slavery pooled their money and bought abandoned plantations. The village of Buxton was one of the many villages established by Africans after slavery was abolished. The Buxtonians survived the deliberate flooding of their farms and other attempts to dislodge them from the homes by colonialists who sought to discourage their independence. The final straw was an unfair taxation of their land by the colonial government. Several attempts to dialogue with the governor were rebuffed. When news reached the villagers that the governor would be passing by their village as he inspected the recently laid train tracks, it was an ideal opportunity to engage the governor in conversation. As the train approached Buxton, the women of Buxton strode onto the train tracks, literally putting their lives on the line. The men followed when the train was forced to stop. The protestors immobilized the train by applying chains and locks to its wheels which forced the Governor to step out and meet with villagers. The villagers demanded that the governor listen to their concerns about the exorbitant taxing of their land and repeal the tax law – which he eventually did.
Painting: ‘Women Stonebreakers’ (1952) by Ripudaman Persaud