Eric Williams
Name: Eric Williams
Occupation: World Leader
Gender: Male
Birth Day: September 25, 1911
Death Date: Mar 29, 1981 (age 69)
Age: Aged 69
Country: Trinidad And Tobago
Zodiac Sign: Libra

Social Accounts

Eric Williams

Eric Williams was born on September 25, 1911 in Trinidad And Tobago (69 years old). Eric Williams is a World Leader, zodiac sign: Libra. Nationality: Trinidad And Tobago. Approx. Net Worth: $-$100 Thousand.

Trivia

His autobiography, Inward Hunger, recounts his firsthand experience of racism while living in England.

Net Worth 2020

$-$100 Thousand
Find out more about Eric Williams net worth here.

Does Eric Williams Dead or Alive?

As per our current Database, Eric Williams died on Mar 29, 1981 (age 69).

Physique

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Before Fame

He earned both his bachelor's degree (in history) and his doctorate from St Catherine's College, Oxford. He began his political career as a member of the Anglo-American Caribbean Commission.

Biography

Biography Timeline

1911

Williams was born on the 25th of September in 1911. His father Thomas Henry Williams was a minor civil servant, and his mother Eliza Frances Boissiere (13 April 1888 – 1969) was a descendant of the mixed French Creole elite. He saw his first school years at Tranquillity Boys' Intermediate Government School and he was later educated at Queen's Royal College in Port of Spain, where he excelled at academics and football. A football injury at QRC led to a hearing problem which he wore a hearing aid to correct.

1932

He won an island scholarship in 1932, which allowed him to attend St Catherine's Society, Oxford (which subsequently became St Catherine's College, Oxford). In 1935, he received first-class honours for his B.A in history and was ranked in first place among University of Oxford students graduating in History in 1935. He also represented the university at football. In 1938 he went on to obtain his doctorate (see section below). In Inward Hunger, his autobiography, he described his experience of racism in Great Britain, and the impact on him of his travels in Germany after the Nazi seizure of power.

1936

In Inward Hunger, Williams recounts that in the period following his graduation: "I was severely handicapped in my research by my lack of money.... I was turned down everywhere I tried ... and could not ignore the racial factor involved". However, in 1936, thanks to a recommendation made by Sir Alfred Claud Hollis (Governor of Trinidad and Tobago, 1930–36), the Leathersellers' Company awarded him a £50 grant to continue his advanced research in history at Oxford.

1938

He completed the D.Phil in 1938 under the supervision of Vincent Harlow. His doctoral thesis was titled The Economic Aspects of the Abolition of the Slave Trade and West Indian Slavery, and was published as Capitalism and Slavery in 1944. It was both a direct attack on the idea that moral and humanitarian motives were the key facts in the victory of British abolitionism, and a covert critique of the idea common in the 1930s, emanating in particular from the pen of Oxford Professor Reginald Coupland, that British imperialism was essentially propelled by humanitarian and benevolent impulses. Williams's argument owed much to the influence of C. L. R. James, whose The Black Jacobins, also completed in 1938, also offered an economic and geostrategic explanation for the rise of British abolitionism.

1944

In 1944, Williams was appointed to the Anglo-American Caribbean Commission. In 1948 he returned to Trinidad as the Commission's Deputy Chairman of the Caribbean Research Council. In Trinidad, he delivered a series of educational lectures, for which he became famous. In 1955 after disagreements between Williams and the Commission, the Commission elected not to renew his contract. In a famous speech at Woodford Square in Port of Spain, he declared that he had decided to "put down his bucket" in the land of his birth. He rechristened that enclosed park, which stood in front of the Trinidad courts and legislature, "The University of Woodford Square", and proceeded to give a series of public lectures on world history, Greek democracy and philosophy, the history of slavery, and the history of the Caribbean to large audiences drawn from every social class.

Williams specialised in the study of slavery. Many Western academics focus on his chapter on the abolition of the slave trade, but that is just a small part of his work. In 1944 his book Capitalism and Slavery argued that the British abolition of their Atlantic slave trade in 1807 was motivated primarily by economics—rather than by altruism or humanitarianism. By extension, so was the emancipation of the slaves and the fight against the trading in slaves by other nations. As industrial capitalism and wage labour began to expand, eliminating the competition from slavery became economically advantageous.

1956

From that public platform, Williams on 15 January 1956 inaugurated his own political party, the People's National Movement (PNM), which would take Trinidad and Tobago into independence in 1962, and dominate its post-colonial politics. Until this time his lectures had been carried out under the auspices of the Political Education Movement, a branch of the Teachers Education and Cultural Association, a group that had been founded in the 1940s as an alternative to the official teachers' union. The PNM's first document was its constitution. Unlike the other political parties of the time, the PNM was a highly organized, hierarchical body. Its second document was The People's Charter, in which the party strove to separate itself from the transitory political assemblages which had thus far been the norm in Trinidadian politics.

1958

After the Second World War, the British Colonial Office had preferred that colonies move towards political independence in the kind of federal systems which had appeared to succeed since the Confederation of Canada, which created Canada, in the 19th century. In the British West Indies this goal coincided with the political aims of the nationalist movements which had emerged in all the colonies of the region during the 1930s. The Montego Bay conference of 1948 had declared the common aim to be the achievement by the West Indies of "Dominion Status" (which meant constitutional independence from Britain) as a Federation. In 1958, a West Indies Federation emerged from the British West Indies, which with British Guiana (now Guyana) and British Honduras (now Belize) choosing to opt out of the Federation, left Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago as the dominant players. Most political parties in the various territories aligned themselves into one of two Federal political parties – the West Indies Federal Labour Party (led by Grantley Adams of Barbados and Norman Manley of Jamaica) and the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) led by Manley's cousin, Sir Alexander Bustamante. The PNM affiliated with the former, while several opposition parties (the People's Democratic Party, the Trinidad Labour Party and the Party of Political Progress Groups) aligned themselves with the DLP, and soon merged to form the Democratic Labour Party of Trinidad and Tobago.

The DLP victory in the 1958 Federal Elections and subsequent poor showing by the PNM in the 1959 County Council Elections soured Williams on the Federation. Lord Hailes (Governor-General of the Federation) also overruled two PNM nominations to the Federal Senate in order to balance a disproportionately WIFLP-dominated Senate. When Bustamante withdrew Jamaica from the Federation, this left Trinidad and Tobago in the untenable position of having to provide 75% of the Federal budget while having less than half the seats in the Federal government. In a famous speech, Williams declared that "one from ten leaves nought". Following the adoption of a resolution to that effect by the PNM General Council on 15 January 1962, Williams withdrew Trinidad and Tobago from the West Indies Federation. This action led the British government to dissolve the Federation.

1961

In 1961 the PNM had introduced the Representation of the People Bill. This Bill was designed to modernise the electoral system by instituting permanent registration of voters, identification cards, voting machines and revised electoral boundaries. These changes were seen by the DLP as an attempt to disenfranchise illiterate rural voters through intimidation, to rig the elections through the use of voting machines, to allow Afro-Caribbean immigrants from other islands to vote, and to gerrymander the boundaries to ensure victory by the PNM. Opponents of the PNM saw "proof" of these allegations when A. N. R. Robinson was declared winner of the Tobago seat in 1961 with more votes than there were registered voters, and in the fact that the PNM was able to win every subsequent election until the 1980 Tobago House of Assembly Elections.

The 1961 elections gave the PNM 57% of the votes and 20 of the 30 seats. This two-thirds majority allowed them to draft the Independence Constitution without input from the DLP. Although supported by the Colonial Office, independence was blocked by the DLP, until Williams was able to make a deal with DLP leader Rudranath Capildeo that strengthened the rights of the minority party and expanded the number of Opposition Senators. With Capildeo's assent, Trinidad and Tobago became independent on 31 August 1962, 25 days after Jamaica. In addition to prime ministership, Williams was also Minister of Finance from 1957 to 1961 and from 1966 to 1971.

1968

Between 1968 and 1970 the Black Power movement gained strength in Trinidad and Tobago. The leadership of the movement developed within the Guild of Undergraduates at the St. Augustine Campus of the University of the West Indies. Led by Geddes Granger, the National Joint Action Committee joined up with trade unionists led by George Weekes of the Oilfields Workers' Trade Union and Basdeo Panday, then a young trade-union lawyer and activist. The Black Power Revolution started during the 1970 Carnival. In response to the challenge, Williams countered with a broadcast entitled "I am for Black Power". He introduced a 5% levy to fund unemployment reduction and established the first locally owned commercial bank. However, this intervention had little impact on the protests.

1969

Williams sent one of 73 Apollo 11 Goodwill Messages to NASA for the historic first lunar landing in 1969. The message still rests on the lunar surface today. He wrote, in part: "It is our earnest hope for mankind that while we gain the moon, we shall not lose the world."

1970

On 3 April 1970, a protester was killed by the police. This was followed on 13 April by the resignation of A. N. R. Robinson, Member of Parliament for Tobago East. On 18 April sugar workers went on strike, and there was the talk of a general strike. In response to this, Williams proclaimed a State of Emergency on 21 April and arrested 15 Black Power leaders. In response to this, a portion of the Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force, led by Raffique Shah and Rex Lassalle, mutinied and took hostages at the army barracks at Teteron. Through the action of the Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard the mutiny was contained and the mutineers surrendered on 25 April.

1984

Indeed, Williams' impact on the field of study has proved of lasting significance. As Barbara Solow and Stanley Engerman put it in the preface to a compilation of essays on Williams that was based on a commemorative symposium held in Italy in 1984, Williams "defined the study of Caribbean history, and its writing affected the course of Caribbean history.... Scholars may disagree on his ideas, but they remain the starting point of discussion.... Any conference on British capitalism and Caribbean slavery is a conference on Eric Williams."

1998

The Eric Williams Memorial Collection (EWMC) at the University of the West Indies in Trinidad and Tobago was inaugurated in 1998 by former US Secretary of State Colin Powell. In 1999, it was named to UNESCO's prestigious Memory of the World Register. Secretary Powell heralded Williams as a tireless warrior in the battle against colonialism, and for his many other achievements as a scholar, politician and international statesman.

2011

In 2011, to mark the centenary of Williams' birth, Mariel Brown directed the documentary film Inward Hunger: the Story of Eric Williams, scripted by Alake Pilgrim.

🎂 Upcoming Birthday

Currently, Eric Williams is 111 years, 2 months and 12 days old. Eric Williams will celebrate 112th birthday on a Monday 25th of September 2023.

Find out about Eric Williams birthday activities in timeline view here.

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