From whence it became racial...

Letters to the Editor

From whence it became racial...

Friday, June 26, 2020

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Dear Editor,

Just a little more background information about that Order of Saint Michael and Saint George insignia that was featured in the Jamaica Observer cover story of Thursday, June 25, 2020.

When Jacob Epstein (a Jewish sculptor) cast that same image in bronze of St Michael and the devil in 1958, showing Michael conquering and subduing the devil at his feet, the fallen demon was not a black man.

Certainly, when Raphael, the Italian painter, depicted that scene around 1518, neither was it a black man under the feet of St Michael.

But the British, in their adaptation of this image in 1818 by King George IV, gave it this racist twist.

My young daughter, whom I had taken to Coventry Cathedral, England, a few years ago, was puzzled by this graphic image of which I had to explain its religious significance.

But to Epstein's credit, he didn't racialise St Michael and the Devil, as did the English.

George Garwood

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