Nature or Nurture: Women Have Nurtured Change

Go Lean Commentary

Here is valuable advice to young people … hoping to partner with a soul-mate:

Take time to know him/her … give it a full cycle of seasons: Summer and Winter.

There is the person’s Nature and also their Nurture-ing that must be taken to account:

Nature – Genetics determine behavior; personality traits and abilities are in “nature”

Nurture – Environment, upbringing and life experiences determine behavior. Humans are “nurtured” to behave in certain ways.

So prospective marriage mates need to ascertain the Nature and Nurture of a potential partner.

If the potential mate does not measure up, my advice: do not bond, take your leave. Just do so BEFORE the wedding rehearsal – i.e. Runaway Brides – do not abandon all the stakeholders high-and-dry (“at the altar”), after they may have invested in catering, banquet halls, clothes, travel, etc.. Such a failure would just be pathetic!

This advice applies to individuals, yes, but not so much for communities, or societies. For the group dynamic, we simply have no choice; we must work to transform the attitudes, traits and practices in a community. The book Go Lean…Caribbean identified this subject as “community ethos”, with this definition:

… the fundamental character or spirit of a culture; the underlying sentiment that informs the beliefs, customs, or practices of a group or society; dominant assumptions of a people or period. – Page 20

If/When the community ethos is unbecoming for a society, citizens do not bond; they abandon! This is so pathetic, as the community too may have invested hugely in the individuals – think education, scholarships and student loans. The community is “left at the altar“.

But change is possible! Communities have forged change and been transformed .. in the past, in the present and I guarantee future communities will also forge change.

How is this possible? How to Nurture change despite “bad” Nature? Let’s consider a sample-example from the history of the UK; this is actually the history of the Caribbean as well, as it features the Abolition of Slavery in the British Empire in the year 1833 – the date that the measure passed the British Parliament.

There were a lot of advocates and activists that led the fight against … first the Slave Trade and then eventually the institution of Slavery itself; think William Wilberforce and Charles Spurgeon who argued for the abolition of slavery and advocated for women to have rights equal to that of men. Slavery and Women’s Rights became locked-in-step – see Appendix VIDEO. So a lot of the Nurturing for the abolition advocacy came from women of the British Empire. See this portrayed in the article here:

Title: Ending Slavery

For much of the 18th century few European or American people questioned slavery. Gradually on both sides of the Atlantic a few enlightened individuals, some of them Quakers, began to oppose it.

From the 1760s activists in London challenged the morality and legality of the slave trade. They included former slaves, like Olaudah Equiano and the abolitionist campaigners Granville Sharp and William Wilberforce.

Women who opposed slavery took the lead in boycotts of slave-grown produce, particularly sugar. Slavery abolitionists used badges and iconic images to publicise their views, like the sugar bowl above made by Wedgewood. Enormous petitions opposing the slave trade were delivered to the House of Commons.

Women Against Slavery

It is only relatively recently that historians have explored the activities of women abolitionists. When looking at local provincial sources, autobiographies, historical objects and sites it becomes clear that women played a significant and, at times, pivotal role in the campaign to abolish slavery.

These women came from a range of backgrounds. The tactics they used – boycotting slave-produced sugar and other goods, organising mass petitions and addressing public meetings – proved highly effective.

Hannah Moore

Hannah Moore (from 1745 to 1833) was an educator, writer and social reformer. Born in Bristol, she was strongly opposed to slavery throughout her life. She encouraged women to join the anti-slavery movement.

In 1787 she met John Newton and members of the Clapham Sect, including William Wilberforce with whom she formed a strong and lasting friendship. Moore was an active member of the Society for Effecting the Abolition of the African Slave Trade. Her writings reflected her opposition to slavery and “Slavery, a Poem” which she published in 1788 is regarded as one of the most important slavery poems of the period.

Ill health prevented Moore from taking an active role in the 1807 campaign to end the slave trade but she continued to write to Wilberforce and other campaigners.

She lived just long enough to see the act abolishing slavery passed. She died in September 1833 and is buried with her sisters in the south-east corner of All Saints’ Churchyard, Station Road, Wrington, Bristol, BS40.

Mary Prince

Mary Prince (from 1788 to around 1833) was the first black woman to publish her account of being an enslaved woman. She was born in Bermuda in 1788 and endured a life of violence and abuse through a succession of slave-owners.

Her owners, the Woods, brought Mary to England. To escape their cruelty she ran away to the Moravian Church in London’s Hatton Gardens. Members of the Anti-Slavery Society took up her case and they encouraged her to write her life story.

Published in 1831 as “The History of Mary Prince”, this extraordinary story describing ill treatment and survival was a rallying cry for emancipation. The book provoked two libel actions and had three editions in its year of publication.

In 2007 Camden Council and the Nubian Jak Community Trust placed a plaque near to the site where she lived at Senate House, Malet Street, London, WC1E 7HU.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning

The poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning (from 1806 to 1861) is commemorated with two plaques in Marylebone, London. A brown Society of Arts plaque is at the site of her former home at 50 Wimpole Street, London W1G 8SQ. There is a bronze plaque at 99, Gloucester Road, London W1U 6JG.

Barrett Browning’s father, Edward Barrett Moulton Barrett (from 1785 to 1857), inherited 10,000 acres of sugar plantations in Jamaica, with an annual income of £50,000. Her maternal grandfather John Graham-Clarke (from 1736 to 1818) was a Newcastle merchant who owned sugar plantations, trading ships and many more businesses associated with slavery. At his death his assets were equivalent to around £20 million today.

Barrett Browning was aware of the source of her family’s wealth:

  • I belong to a family of West Indian slave-owners and if I believe in curses, I should be afraid. – Letter from Elizabeth Barrett Browning to John Ruskin in 1855.

In 1849 she published an anti-slavery poem “The Runaway Slave at Pilgrim’s Point”. It portrayed a slave woman cursing her oppressor after she had been whipped, raped and impregnated.

Elizabeth Jesser Reid

A social reformer and philanthropist, Elizabeth Jesser Reid (from 1789 to 1866) is best known for founding Bedford College for Women in London in 1849. The College is now part of Royal Holloway, University of London.

Jesser Reid was also an anti-slavery activist and she attended the Anti-Slavery Convention in 1840 and was a member of the Garrisonian London Emancipation Committee. A green plaque has been placed at her former home, 48 Bedford Square, London WC1B 3DR to commemorate Reid and the first site of the college.

While living at 48 Bedford Square, Reid entertained Harriet Beecher Stowe in 1853. She also shared her house with the African American abolitionist Sarah Parker Remond whilst she studied at the College between 1859 and 1861.

Sarah Parker Remond

Born in Salem, Massachusetts, Sarah Parker Remond (from 1826 to 1894) came from a family that was deeply involved in the abolitionist campaign in the United States. Her brother Charles Lenox Remond was the first black lecturer in the American Anti-Slavery Society.

Parker Remond was such an impressive speaker and fund-raiser for the abolitionist movement that she was invited to take the anti-slavery message to Britain. Soon after arriving here in 1859 she embarked upon a nationwide lecture tour. In 1866 she left London to study medicine in Italy. She practised as a doctor in Florence, where she settled.


Related Posts

Listen to our podcasts about women’s involvement in the abolition movement:

Source: Retrieved April 13, 2018 from:

Women applied pressure to all aspects of society – the engines of economics, security and governance – for the end of the Slave Trade; then they continued the pressure for the Abolition of Slavery itself. The Nurturing worked! It was not immediate, but eventual and evolutionary:

  • They impacted the economic cycles – boycotts & embargos. See the notes on the Anti-Saccharrittes in Appendix A.
  • They compelled the Security engines – The Royal Navy was engaged to enforce the ban on the Slave Trade after 1807. (Between 1808 and 1860, the West Africa Squadron captured 1,600 slave ships and freed 150,000 Africans.[5]) See Appendix B below.
  • They engaged the related governance by entreating the political supporters, every year, to introduce and re-introduce the Abolition Bill.

Though the abolition of Slavery went against the Nature of the New World, these women and their Nurturing did not stop.  They persisted! This commentary concludes the 4-part series on Nature or Nurture for community ethos. This entry is 4 of 4 in this series from the movement behind the book Go Lean … Caribbean in consideration of the Nurturing by the mothers (women) of England who finally forge change in the British Empire.. The other commentaries in the series are cataloged as follows:

  1. Nature or Nurture: Black Marchers see gun violence differently
  2. Nature or Nurture: Cop-on-Black Shootings – Embedded in America’s DNA; Whites Yawn
  3. Nature or Nurture: UK City of Bristol still paying off Slavery Debt
  4. Nature or Nurture: Nurturing came from women to impact Abolition of Slavery

In the first submission to this series, the history of the Psychological battle between Nature and Nurture was introduced, which quoted:

One of the oldest arguments in the history of psychology is the Nature vs Nurture debate. Each of these sides have good points that it’s really hard to decide whether a person’s development is predisposed in his DNA, or a majority of it is influenced by this life experiences and his environment. –

All of these commentaries relate to “how” the stewards – including empowered women – for a new Caribbean can assuage societal defects despite the default Nature. Here-in, this example from England is a great role model for the Caribbean region. We too, need our women!

How about the Caribbean today? What bad Nature can women help to Nurture out of Caribbean society?

There are many!

The Lord giveth the word: The women that publish the tidings are a great host. – Psalms 68:11 American Standard Version

Our region is riddled with societal defects. In fact, the subject of societal defects is a familiar theme for this commentary, from the movement behind the book Go Lean…Caribbean. The book asserts that the British colonial masters for the Caribbean – 18 of the 30 member-states share this legacy – did not endow this region with the organizational dynamics (attitudes or structures) that would lead to societal success. The former slave populations became the majority in all these lands; when majority rule was compelled on the New World – post-World War II restructuring – the people were not ready. Looking at the dispositions in the region today, these are nearing Failed-State status – it is that bad!

The theme of Failing States has been detailed in previous blog-commentaries by the movement behind the Go Lean book. Consider this sample previous blogs: Failure to Launch – Governance: Assembling the Region’s Organizations Failure to Launch – Security: Caribbean Basin Security Dreams Failure to Launch – Economics: The Quest for a ‘Single Currency’ After Maria, Puerto Rico Failed-State: Destruction and Defection After Irma, Many Caribbean Failed-States: Destruction and Defection Inaction: A Recipe for ‘Failed-State’ Status Outreach to the Diaspora – Doubling-down on Failure Miami’s Success versus Caribbean Failure

There is the need for the Caribbean member-states to reform and transform. We have some bad community ethos; we need “all hands on deck” to mitigate and remediate them. The book Go Lean…Caribbean – available to download for free – serves as a roadmap for the introduction and implementation of the technocratic Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU), for the elevation of Caribbean society – for all 30 member-states. This CU/Go Lean roadmap has these 3 prime directives for effecting change in our society:

  • Optimization of the economic engines in order to grow the regional economy to $800 Billion and create 2.2 million new jobs.
  • Establishment of a security apparatus to ensure public safety and protect the resultant economic engines.
  • Improve Caribbean governance to support these engines, including a separation-of-powers between the member-states and CU federal agencies.

The same as the British Empire needed a “large host” of women to Nurture societal values, priorities, practices and laws to supplant the bad Nature of the British Slave economy, a “large host” of women will be needed to forge change in the British Caribbean and the full Caribbean – American, Dutch, French and Spanish legacies. This subject too, has been a consistent theme from the movement behind the Go Lean book. Consider this sample from these previous blog-commentaries: One Woman Made a Difference – Role Model: Viola Desmond International Women’s Day – Protecting Rural Women Getting Gender Equity without a ‘Battle of the Sexes’ Lean-in for ‘Wonder Woman Day’ The ‘Hidden Figures’ of Women Building-up Society – Art Imitating Life Women Get Ready for New “Lean-In” Campaign Women in Politics – Yes, They Can! Role Model – #FatGirlsCan One Woman – Taylor Swift – Changing Streaming Music Industry One Woman Entrepreneur Rallied and Change Her Whole Community

The Go Lean book provides 370-pages of turn-by-turn instructions on “how” to Nurture a better Caribbean society. It details the new community ethos that needs to be adopted so as to reboot, reform and transform the societal engines of Caribbean society – economics, security and governance. We want the women to help empower Caribbean society and so we want to empower women. In fact, the book (Page 226) details the bad community ethos that permeated the “Imperial” world during the times of Caribbean colonization. The advocacy entitled 10 Ways to Empower Women presented this encyclopedic reference on the Natural Law philosophy as follows:

The Bottom Line on Natural Law and Women’s Rights

17th century natural law philosophers in Britain and America, such as Thomas Hobbes, Jean-Jacques Rousseau and John Locke, developed the theory of natural rights in reference to ancient philosophers such as Aristotle and the Christian theologist Aquinas. Like the ancient philosophers, 17th century natural law philosophers defended slavery and an inferior status of women in law.

Relying on ancient Greek philosophers, natural law philosophers argued that natural rights where not derived from god, but were “universal, self-evident, and intuitive”, a law that could be found in nature. They believed that natural rights were self-evident to “civilized man” who lives “in the highest form of society”. Natural rights derived from human nature, a concept first established by the ancient Greek philosopher Zeno of Citium in Concerning Human Nature.

Zenon argued that each rational and civilized male Greek citizen had a “divine spark” or “soul” within him that existed independent of the body. Zeno founded the Stoic philosophy and the idea of a human nature was adopted by other Greek philosophers, and later natural law philosophers and western humanists. Aristotle developed the widely adopted idea of rationality, arguing that man was a “rational animal” and as such a natural power of reason.

Concepts of human nature in ancient Greece depended on gender, ethnic, and other qualifications and 17th century natural law philosophers came to regard women along with children, slaves and non-whites, as neither “rational” nor “civilized”. Natural law philosophers claimed the inferior status of women was “common sense” and a matter of “nature”. They believed that women could not be treated as equal due to their “inner nature”. The views of 17th century natural law philosophers were opposed in the 18th and 19th century by Evangelical natural theology philosophers such as William Wilberforce and Charles Spurgeon, who argued for the abolition of slavery and advocated for women to have rights equal to that of men. Modern natural law theorists, and advocates of natural rights, claimed that all people have a human nature, regardless of gender, ethnicity or other qualifications; therefore all people have natural rights.

These thoughts on Natural Law and Women’s Rights persist to this day, despite how archaic they may seem.

This flawed Natural Law philosophy accounts for the Nature of the Caribbean – this was inherited from the Imperial Europe (1600’s) – and never fully uprooted. This was the heavy-lifting that the foregoing women helped to Nurture out of Europe, and what we need continued help for today’s women to uproot.

In addition to the ethos discussion, the book presents the strategies, tactics, implementations and advocacies to execute change in the Caribbean region. This is how to Nurture a bad community (ethos) into a good community (ethos).

Yes, we can elevate our societal engines. We can do more than just study impactful women from the past, we can foster our own brand of impactful women. We need them!

We need all hands on deck to make our Caribbean homeland a better place to live, work and play. 🙂

Download the free e-Book of Go Lean … Caribbean – now!

Sign the petition to lean-in for this roadmap for the Caribbean Union Trade Federation.


Appendix A – Anti-Saccharrittes … in England

In 1791, … the abolitionist William Fox published his anti-sugar pamphlet, which called for a boycott of sugar grown by slaves working in inhuman conditions in the British-governed West Indies. “In every pound of sugar used, we may be considered as consuming two ounces of human flesh,” wrote Fox. So powerful was his appeal that close to 400,000 Britons gave up sugar.

The sugar boycott squarely affected that most beloved of English rituals: afternoon tea. As The Salt [Magazine] has reported, sugar was an integral reason why tea became an engrained habit of the British in the 1700s. But with the sugar boycott, offering or not offering sugar with tea became a highly political act.

Soon, grocers stopped selling West Indies sugar and began to sell “East Indies sugar” from India. Those who bought this sugar were careful to broadcast their virtue by serving it in bowls imprinted with the words “not made by slave labor,” in much the same way that coffee today is advertised as fair-trade, or eggs as free-range.

Source: Posted August 4, 2015; retrieved April 14, 2018 from:


Appendix B – Rare ‘slave freeing’ photos on show

A set of rare photographs showing African slaves being freed by the Royal Navy have gone on show for the first time. They are part of an exhibition marking the bicentenary of the abolition of the slave trade.

A set of rare photographs showing African slaves being freed by the Royal Navy have gone on show for the first time.
Published April 28, 2007.
The photographs, on display at the Royal Naval Museum, Portsmouth, Hants, show a sailor removing the manacle from a newly-freed slave as well as the ship’s marines escorting captured slavers.


East African slaves aboard the HMS Daphne, a British Royal Navy vessel involved in anti-slave trade activities in the Indian Ocean,

Samuel Chidwick, 74, has donated the photographs taken by his father Able Seaman Joseph Chidwick, born in 1881, on board HMS Sphinx off the East African coast in about 1907.

The photographs, on display at the Royal Naval Museum, Portsmouth, Hants, show a sailor removing the manacle from a newly-freed slave as well as the ship’s marines escorting captured slavers.

Mr Chidwick, of Dover, Kent, said: “The pictures were taken by my father who was serving aboard HMS Sphinx while on armed patrol off the Zanzibar and Mozambique coast.

“They caught quite a few slavers and those particular slaves that are in the pictures happened while he was on watch. “That night a dhow sailed by and the slaves were all chained together. He raised the alarm and they got them on to the ship and got the chains knocked off them.

“They then questioned them and sent a party of marines ashore to try to track the slave traders down.

“They caught two of them and I believe they were of Arabic origin.

“My father thought the slave trade was a despicable thing that was going on, the slaves were treated very badly so when they got the slavers they didn’t give them a very nice time.”

Jacquie Shaw, spokeswoman for the Royal Naval Museum, said: “The museum and the Royal Navy are delighted to announce the donation of a nationally important collection of unique photographs taken by Able Seaman Joseph John Chidwick during his service on the Persian Gulf Station where the crew of HMS Sphinx were engaged in subduing the slave trade.

“The collection comprises a fascinating and important snapshot of life on anti-slavery duties off the coast of Africa.”

The exhibition, ‘Chasing Freedom -The Royal Navy and the suppression of the Transatlantic Slave Trade’, is being held until January next year to mark the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the slave trade.

The House of Commons passed a bill in 1805 making it unlawful for any British subject to capture and transport slaves but the measure was blocked by the House of Lords and did not come into force until March 25, 1807.

Mrs Shaw said that since the exhibition opened, members of the public had brought forward several historically-important items. She said: “As well as these amazing images, members of the public have brought many other unheard stories of the Royal Navy and the trade in enslaved Africans to the museum’s attention including the original ship’s log of the famed HMS Black Joke of the West Coast of Africa Station.”

Source: Posted 29 Apr 2007; retrieved April 14, 2018 from:


Appendix C VIDEO – Abolition to Suffrage –

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