New E-book Chronicles the Journey of a Former Jamaican Farm Worker

E-book on Joseph Baxter - A Tough Act to Follow: The Journey of A Jamaican Dreamer

Joseph Baxter

by Howard Campbell

[SOUTH FLORIDA] – When Joseph Baxter arrived in the United States in August, 1951, the Baby Boom was at its peak and the country was getting ready for a period of unprecedented economic success.

The former Jamaican farm worker, who spent all his years in the US in Florida, died four years ago at age 92 in High Springs, near Gainesville. But he was adamant his story be told.

His daughter, Dr. Alma Baxter, ensured that wish came through. Her E-book, A Tough Act to Follow: The Journey of A Jamaican Dreamer, was released in December.

In 142 pages, it encapsulates Joseph Baxter’s life as a minister of religion, builder and committed family man.

“In the story A Tough Act to Follow, Dad wanted to pass on the legacy of a Jamaican immigrating to America. He was content that no one disregarded his work of achievements. Dad felt it was the largest evidence of a concentrated, well-adopted, a concept formulated to neutralize his influence and leadership,” Alma Baxter explained. “He talked about deep feelings, sorrows, pain, and regret. He wanted to inspire, educate, and enlighten family, friends, and others to experience the accomplishment of one man.”

Baxter was born in St. Mary, a hilly parish in eastern Jamaica known for its bountiful sugar industry. That suited his job as a farm worker just fine, as he was among 50 men assigned to the Okeelanta Sugar Mill and Refinery in South Bay.

E-book on Joseph Baxter - A Tough Act to Follow: The Journey of A Jamaican Dreamer

Joseph Baxter in his early 20’s

After two years, Baxter left the company and married Lillian Smith, an American of Bahamian heritage, from Fort Lauderdale. They had 11 children.

Alma Baxter says her father, a stickler for detail, meticulously documented his years in the United States through personal drafts and letters to family. Those recollections help make A Tough Act to Follow, a fascinating read.

Joseph lived through the turbulence that transformed the US during the 1960s. He experienced the Kennedy assassination, Civil Rights Movement and lived long enough to see his adopted country elect Barack Obama its first black president in 2008.

For all his achievements in South Florida, Joseph Baxter never forgot his roots.

“The Jamaican origins were especially important. Often, Dad would take a few children with his wife to Jamaica. On each trip, he alternated the children, since there were so many,” Alma recalled.

Alma Baxter was born in Fort Lauderdale. Based in Saudi Arabia, she holds a doctorate in philosophy from Christian University of Southern Indiana.

‘A Tough Act to Follow‘ is her 10th book.

 

 

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