Daisy Nation was from the northwestern end of Jamaica.
Her great-grandfather was William Ford.
He was from Island, and he arrived in Jamaica in 1784, having bought a coffee plantation.
Not long after his arrival, he bought a slave woman and took her as his concubine.
He noticed her on the docks at Alligator Pond, a fishing village on the south coast.
She was an Igbo tribeswoman from West Africa. They had a son, whom they named John.
He was, in the language of the day, a "mulatto";
he was colored-and all of the Fords from that point on fell into Jamaica's colored class.
In the American South during the same period,it would be highly unusual for a white landowner to have had so public relationship with a slave.
Sexual relations between blacks and whites were considered morally repugnant.
Laws were past prohibiting miscegenation, the last of which were not struck down by the US Supreme Court until 1967.
A plantation owner who lived openly with a slave woman would have been socially ostracized,
and any offspring from the union of black and white would have been left in slavery.
In Jamaica, attitudes were very different.
The Caribbean in those years was little more than a massive slave colony.
Blacks outnumbered whites by a factor of more than ten to one.
There were few, if any, marriageable white women on the island, and as a result,
the overwhelming majority of white men on the island had black or brown mistresses.
One British plantation owner in Jamaica who famously kept a precise diary of his sexual exploits
slept with 138 different women in his 37 years on the island, almost all of them slaves and, one imagines, not all of them willing partners.
And whites saw mulattoes—the children of those relationships—as potential allies, a buffer between them and the enormous number of slaves on the island.
Mulatto women were prized as mistresses, and their children, one shade lighter in turn,
moved still further of the social and economic ladder. Mulattos rarely worked in the fields.