Sam Sharpe Project
Sam Sharpe was a Baptist deacon and enslaved person who played an important role in the ‘Great Jamaican Slave Revolt’ of 1831-2. He was one of the leaders of a group of enslaved people who took part in a ‘sit-down strike’ against slavery and was executed, together with more than 500 others.
The Revolt is recognised by historians and theologians as having a powerful influence on the process leading to the abolition of slavery, and Sam Sharpe is honoured as a national hero in Jamaica. His actions were clearly motivated by his faith and by his reading of scripture; he is reported to have said, ‘In reading my Bible, I found that the white man had no more right to make a slave of me than I have to make a slave of a white man’. He remains a witness to the principle of ‘liberation from below’: making their own freedom and justice, rather than simply having it granted to them by those who have power and authority.
The Sam Sharpe Project
was set up in 2012 by the Jamaican Baptist Union in partnership with the Heart of England Baptist Association, Oxford Centre for Christianity and Culture, Northern Baptist Learning Community, BMS World Mission and our Union.
Its aims are to:
Encourage the growth of mission-centred churches and associations able to engage with our contemporary multicultural society
Support the Racial Justice working group as it creates fresh resources based on the six recommendations of The Journey
Develop the potential of black and ethnic minority leaders, and prepare some for Baptist ministry and scholarship in Baptist colleges
Encourage Baptist colleges, associations and churches to engage with black and Asian history, culture and theology
Research the historical and theological legacy of Sam Sharpe and to reflect on the impact of this and other related stories for Baptist Christians in the 21st century
Text & Story: Prophets for Their Time and Ours by Gale Richards is part of the Text & Story element of the Sam Sharpe project and is a series of study notes to encourage adults and young people to reflect on the stories of 5 Baptist pioneers, on the scriptual texts that shaped them and their own stories today in order to find their place in society and develop their potential for leadership. This resource is available from Regent's Park College for £5.
The Sixth Annual Sam Sharpe Lecture was held on Saturday 7 October 2017 with speaker the Revd Karl Johnson (General Secretary - Jamaica Baptist Union) on the theme: 'Members one of another: Fleeting illusion or faithful pursuit?'
For more information about the project, see the Sam Sharpe website.