Franklin W. Knight was born on the island of Jamaica in 1942. One of eight children, he enjoyed an idyllic middle-class childhood, the early part of which was spent in rural Jamaica. As an employee of Jamaica’s forestry department, his father would be posted in various locales around the island, moving his large family with him. The typical Caribbean extended family was sizeable and Knight spent many a summer’s holiday visiting with his cousins around the island.
In 1960, Knight graduated from Calabar High School. After briefly teaching at Monroe’s Teacher’s College in Kingston, Knight entered undergraduate life at the University College of the West Indies, London, England in September of 1961.
By 1964, with encouragment of his history professors, Elsa Goveia, Knight with a scholorship went to study tropical history at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. In 1968, he matriculated with his Ph.D. in History and began his first teaching job at the State University of New York, Stoneybrook where he remained until 1973, when he accepted a post at Johns Hopkins University.
Now living in Baltimore, Maryland with his wife Ingeborg, whom he married in 1965, and daughter Kimberly Bray Knight (b.1971).
Since 1970, he has published numerous books, articles and edited volumes. Most well-known include Slave Society in Cuba During the Nineteenth Century (University of Wisconsin Press, 1970) which was based on his dissertation, The Caribbean: The Genesis of a Fragmented Nationalism (Oxford University Press, 1978; 2nd Edition, revised 1990), The Modern Caribbean, which he co-edited with Colin A. Palmer (University of North Carolina Press, 1989), UNESCO General History of the Caribbean, Volume III: The Slave Societies of the Caribbean (UNESCO Publishing/Macmillan Educational Publishing, 1997). His most recent works include Las Casas: An Introduction, Much Abbreviated, of the Destruction of the Indies (Hackett Press, 2003) and Contemporary Caribbean Cultures and Societies in a Global Context, co-edited with Teresita Martinez-Vergne (forthcoming).
Source: Franklin W. Knight, Personal Interview (11 March 2004)