“A First Class Journal”: The Belize Independent, 1888 – 1946

Author:
Francis Humphreys, Chair, Belize History Association
Abstract:

On 11th October, 1888, the Belize Independent Company Ltd. launched the first issue of its newspaper with the objective of publishing a colonial-era journal “for the independent expression of opinion…and an unbiased and free interchange of ideas” among its readers. From its origins as a mouthpiece of the colonial establishment, the Independent transformed into Belize’s first Kriol-owned newspaper which articulated black consciousness in an Anglophile and elitist society. This paper examines the nineteenth century origins and rise, and twentieth century transformation of the Independent as a powerful voice of the black Kriol middle and working classes, in sharp contrast to its pro-colonial rival, The Clarion. Given that the Independent espoused two different ideologies, two different pathways to a free Belize, it begs the question: did it really fulfil its self-appointed mission to become “a first class journal?”. In attempting to answer this crucial question, the paper further evaluates, among other circumstances, the Independent’s impact on Garveyism in Belize, its articulation of the working class, its solidification of Kriol traditions in journalism, and its establishment as an independent news medium in a nation not yet independent.

Keywords:
Newspaper, Colonial Guardian, Belize Independent, History

Volume:

Vol 4 2015 Research Reports In Belizean History and Anthropology