J. Wray & Nephew Limited Pays Tribute to Enslaved People with Monument at Appleton Estate
KINGSTON, Jamaica – Rum producer and spirits distributor J. Wray & Nephew Limited (JWN), a member of the Campari Group, has paid tribute to the enslaved people who worked on the Appleton Estate Plantation during slavery. The company unveiled a monument at the Joy Spence Appleton Estate Rum Experience (JSAERE) in St. Elizabeth last week.
“Lest we Forget”
The monument, titled “Lest we Forget”, was designed and built by Jamaican artist Trishaunna Henry and shows the relationship between sugar cane and the sociocultural and economic development of Jamaica. The names of slaves who worked on the plantation during the ownership of the then slave-owning Dickinson family have been incorporated in the monument. Ms. Henry is a teacher at Glenmuir High School in Clarendon.
Managing Director of J. Wray & Nephew Limited, Jean-Phillipe Beyer, said following the research and the publication of the Appleton History Book, the company knew it needed to go further in acknowledging the contribution of the enslaved people to the history of the brand.
“We are incorporating this monument into the heart of the tour at the Joy Spence Appleton Estate Rum Experience (JSAERE). The monument will be placed on a pedestal bearing the name of the enslaved people identified and allow us to recognize and pay tribute to those who laid the foundation for the Appleton Estate brand,” Beyer said.
The monument and the research into the history of Appleton Estate will add greater depth, more historical facts, and increased cultural authenticity and sensitivity to the JSAERE, he added.
“This is a key moment for the company and the brand. Through this addition of a key heritage moment to the rum tour we are once again demonstrating our commitment to telling the Jamaican story as we promote the Appleton Estate brand globally,” Beyer said.
Tribute to Jamaica’s Enslaved Ancestors
Jamaica’s Minister of Culture Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange said the erection of the monument is intended to highlight the role Jamaica’s enslaved ancestors played by telling a story and putting into perspective a significant part of the country’s history.
“The JWN/Campari Group is looking to show appreciation for the men and women who were really the ones who built the foundations of the popularity the brand now enjoys, many of them through enslavement,” Minister Grange said.
“Some might say it is long in coming but let us acknowledge this as a demonstration to the world that the company is aware of the contributions of our enslaved ancestors to its success and is commemorating the efforts of those enslaved ancestors,” she added.
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The project was made possible through research commissioned by JWN and conducted by a team from the Centre for Reparation Research of the University of the West Indies (UWI) Mona led by Professor Verene Shepherd and supported by Ahmed Reid, Gabrielle Hemmings, and John Shorter. JWN also received support from Miriam Hinds and Susan Lee Quee of the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts in the production of the monument.
The Joy Spence Appleton Estate Rum Experience, named after Master Blender Dr. Joy Spence, is located in Siloah, St. Elizabeth. The rum tour was opened in 1988 to showcase the Appleton Estate brand to the world. In 2022, more than 36,000 people visited JSAERE to learn about the history and production processes of Appleton Estate rums. The tour is open to the public Tuesday through Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. JSAERE also impacts the community through local sourcing of materials, employment, and a craft area for local artisans.