By Anne S. Macpherson
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Additional info for From Colony to Nation: Women Activists and the Gendering of Politics in Belize, 1912-1982 (Engendering Latin America)
Hers was a nationalism carried by strong women at once proud of their strength and resentful that men’s lack of “pluck” necessitated it. 6 As during the riot itself, Haynes prevailed. Annie Flowers’s more radical and inclusive politics were silenced and would lurk in the shadows of popular political culture until their resurgence in the deeper crisis of the mid-1930s. This chapter examines the processes of the 1910s that laid the ground for both the 1919 riot and for the joint state-middle-class reform project of the 1920s that followed.
38 In Belize, the Creole middle class witnessed the 1892 advent of the Unofficial Majority on the Legislative Council, which empowered the white merchant-landowner elite, and then the 1894 urban riot, and so it chose to court the colonial state as its only viable ally. Angered by its political exclusion but fearful of popular black unrest, middle-class leaders opted for colonial accommodation, founding their claims to legislative— not executive — rights by articulating an origin myth that emphasized their white male ancestors’ participation in the 1798 Battle of St.
I show that the plan to modernize colonialism was deeply gendered and racialized, that its goal was to morally rehabilitate the racially and sexually degenerate masses, remaking their sexual, familial, economic, and political desires and behavior. 53 As a disciplinary project, reform had little populist appeal. Rather, women welcomed new state services without ceasing to identify as workers, heads of households, or with the simmering culture of anticolonialism. Rising unmet expectations of the state in fact fueled renewed popular nationalism at the close of the 1940s, a movement that reformers utterly failed to contain.