University of Michigan
Annie Palmer was a white witch.
Legend has it that she was born in Haiti to an English mother and Irish father and spent most of her life in Haiti. Her parents died of yellow fever and she was taken in by her nanny, who taught her witchcraft and voodoo. She moved to Jamaica and married John Palmer, owner of Rose Hall Plantation. Annie murdered Palmer along with two subsequent husbands. She straggled the third husband with the help of her slave lover Takoo who then turned on Palmer and strangled her.
In this presentation, at the nexus of scholarly presentation and performance, I want us to interrogate the myth of Annie Palmer vis-à-vis the development of the sugar cane industry. It addresses the complicated ways in which sugar, Caribbean identity, mythology, health, desire and race are inextricably linked. I’m arguing that the triangle trade at the root of slavery created not only the horrors of the institution but also the inextricable link between desire, consumption, production and blackness. We want, we need black bodies to work for us, perform for us, represent for us. This desire is pathological and like a sugar high ultimately comes crashing down.
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