Connie Sutton was an outstanding scholar of the Caribbean and a lifelong friend of the region and myself. Throughout her life, working principally in Barbados, she conducted research which emphasized the political and human struggle of Black people in the region for economic, social and cultural emancipation. Hers was a partisan anthropology in the good sense, always siding with the people, always critical, always scholarly. Her early work on the island-wide sugar workers’ strike of 1958, which formed the core of her dissertation, set a high standard for research combined with a powerful political commitment to social justice. It led her to form close relations with Barbadians in the villages and to open a dialogue with Barbadian and other Caribbean intellectuals which lasted throughout her life. Connie saw these relations as “bidirectional”—an early and influential formulation of the transnationalism thesis. Since nearly one half of the sugar workers who were on strike were women, she was naturally led to study and write on gender issues and, looking back now, one can also see in this an early formulation of what has come later to be known as “intersectionality.”
A deeply committed human being, full of warmth and generosity, has passed. Memories of her many kindnesses endure, as does her scholarly work—an important legacy not only for anthropology but for the people of the Caribbean. Rest in peace.