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Melsia Tomlin-Kraftner

"Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve" Napoleon Hill




My e-Portfoio is an extension of my research and academic career to date. I am progessing a study on 'The Economic Positions and Strategies of St. Elizabeth's Mixed Race Women: Kinship Ties, Property and The Slavery Compensation claims in Jamaica, 1800 - 1845.

This research on enslaver families in St. Elizabeth, one of the largest of the fourteen parishes of Jamaica, explores women of colour who owned property including enslaved people, and who, at the time of the abolition of slavery, claimed the compensation awards. The awards were in line with the Abolition of Slavery Acts of 1833, followed by the Slavery Compensation Awards of £20m throughout the British colonies. The administrative Commissioners awarded the compensation to slave owners for the loss of the services of the enslaved people.

St. Elizabeth had the second largest number of mixed heritage people, who through their consanguinous relationships, retained a larger proportion of people of liminal colour (almost white), than the rest of the island.

This study has changed perspectives on women of colour who, historical writers throughout the eighteenth, nineteenth and even the twentieth century, regarded as sexual beings, whose relationships with white men were thoroughly scrutinised and abhored. Lucille Mathurin Mair in her study, concluded that 'the white woman consumed, the brown woman served and the black woman laboured'1 My argument is that it is better to view these free women of colour as rational economic actors, whose principal concern was to establish and solidify family links, that enabled upward mobility, while retaining their freedom.

Being a multi-disciplinary study, it straddles areas of sociology, history, gender studies, kinship, family history, human geography, diasporic studies, some anthropology and consumer behaviour.


If you wish to read more about my current research...
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Here I enclose a map of the Triangular Trade in African enslaved people, from whom women of colour descended:
Triangular Trade in African enslaved people

1. Lucille Mathurin Mair, A Historical Study of Women in Jamaica 1655 - 1844. p xvi

Melsia in Redheugh Scotland, home of the Elliott Clan 

Melsia Tomlin-Kraftner



Main Supervisor:

Prof. Trevor Burnard

Melbourne url

Email: or


Second Supervisor:

Dr. Tim J. Lockley