Contributor: James Ferguson

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Articles by this author on Caribbean Beat

Illustration by Rohan Mitchell

John James Audubon: The Birdman | On this Day

Issue 145 (May/June 2017) | 0 comments
It’s considered a landmark of ornithology, and it was published one hundred and ninety years ago: John James Audubon’s massive Birds of America. Born in Haiti, Audubon had a restless life spread across continents, but along the way he transformed himself into a leading expert on the birdlife of North America. As James Ferguson explains, his legacy in science and conservation still endures

Illustration by Rohan Mitchell

Harry Belafonte: calypso with a conscience

Issue 144 (March/April 2017) | 1 comment
A beloved musical icon since the 1950s, Harry Belafonte has an equally long reputation as a political activist. And the parallel themes of his public life, entertainment and activism, both have their roots in Belafonte’s childhood in Jamaica. James Ferguson finds out more

Illustration by Rohan Mitchell

The remains of the Danes

Issue 143 (January/February 2017) | 0 comments
Exactly a century ago, the Kingdom of Denmark sold its Caribbean possessions for $25 million to the United States. Commemorated in the US Virgin Islands, the anniversary is little remembered elsewhere — but, as James Ferguson writes, the story behind the event reminds us about the ambitions that drove European colonisation of our region

Illustration by Rohan Mitchell

Who’s your granny?

Issue 142 (November/December 2016) | 0 comments
Sixty years ago, a squadron of battle-hardened guerrillas landed on Cuba’s south-east coast, launching the revolution that would soon grip the world’s imagination. And the heroically leaky boat that got them there? It was named for someone’s grandmother. James Ferguson remembers the story of Granma

Illustration by Rohan Mitchell

The Bianca C: into the deep

Issue 141 (September/October 2016) | 0 comments
One Sunday fifty-five years ago, residents of St George’s, Grenada, woke up to a disaster unfolding in their harbour. More than six hundred people on board the liner Bianca C were in grave danger — so dozens of Grenadians leaped into action. James Ferguson remembers the story

Illustration by Rohan Mitchell

Historic gold: the earliest Caribbean Olympic heroes

Issue 140 (July/August 2016) | 0 comments
At the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Caribbean sports fans will have dozens of home-grown champs to cheer on. But the region’s history of Olympic success stretches back more than a century. James Ferguson looks back to the earliest Caribbean Olympic heroes, and how today’s athletes have kept their victorious legacy alive

Illustration by Rohan Mitchell

Wilson Harris — into the interior

Issue 139 (May/June 2016) | 0 comments
The Guyanese writer Wilson Harris, celebrating his ninety-fifth birthday in 2016, has lived far from his home country for many years — but Guyana’s landscape and history continue to haunt his magical imagination. James Ferguson explains how Harris’s novels bring together reality and dream

Illustration by Rohan Mitchell

Voyager among gods

Issue 138 (March/April 2016) | 0 comments
Eighty years ago, an African-American anthropologist stepped off a boat in Kingston, at the start of a journey to investigate Caribbean religion and spirituality. Zora Neale Hurston is better remembered for her fiction, writes James Ferguson, but her book Tell My Horse remains a fascinating record of Jamaica and Haiti in the 1930s

Illustration by Rohan Mitchell

When London was the place

Issue 137 (January/February 2016) | 1 comment
Sixty years ago, in the aftermath of the Second World War, London Transport faced a labour shortage. The solution? Recruit employees in the Caribbean to run the city’s buses and trains. James Ferguson explains how these migrants survived difficult times, and changed the old imperial capital for ever

Illustration by Rohan Mitchell

The artist of Carriacou

Issue 136 (November/December 2015) | 0 comments
When Canute Caliste died ten years ago, he was Carriacou’s most celebrated artist. His “naive” paintings record everyday life in his island, says James Ferguson, with a touch of the magical