1967 to 1971 Anguillan Revolution-era Archive from Anguilla, Leeward Islands, Lesser Antilles, Caribbean.
“You voted overwhelmingly in your Referendum to secede from St. Kitts, but that was only a beginning. Every one of you must support the cause…”
Revolution by Xerox. Almost 150 issues of The Beacon edited and published by Atlin Harrigan (d.2005), OBE, the co-leader of the 1967 Anguillan Revolution.
When the island of Anguilla was forced to become part of the associated state of Saint Kitts-Nevis-Anguilla in 1967, many Anguillans were angry. On May 30, 1967 rebellious Anguillans evicted the St Kitts police force from the island. Led by Atlin Harrigan, Ronald Webster, and others, the islanders voted to secede from Saint Kitts and Nevis. In a second referendum, a collective political ambition escalated —leading to a brief experiment in nationhood building— when the Republic of Anguilla was declared unilaterally.
When a British envoy arrived to smooth out the affairs, he was evicted from Anguilla at gunpoint. Thus, on March 19, 1969, Britain initiated Operation Sheepskin, a military invasion of 300 troops (and 22 Metropolitan police officers) sent to Anguilla to restore British authority. Order was quickly restored, but Anguillans had to wait until 1980 before being allowed to formally secede from Saint Kitts and Nevis.
In the first issue, rebel-leader and agitator Atlin Harrigan stated the purpose of The Beacon, thus:
“A Word to Anguillans. For the first time in the history of Anguilla, we have found it possible to publish a newspaper, THE BEACON, whereby the people of Anguilla, and the world outside Anguilla can learn what is happening on the island, and whereby they can voice their opinions. This was done at first through that outstanding weekly paper, the ‘Saint Kitts Democrat.’ Though now we have seceded from St. Kitts, we shall always support that Paper in the Party behind it. We will always be grateful to the ‘Democrat’ for its courageous efforts in opening the eyes of the public to the dangers of a Dictatorial Government that was cutting away the roots of our freedom. I have chosen the name THE BEACON, because all the big ships passing to the north of Anguilla, are grateful to Anguilla for her beacon at Sombrero to guide them to their destination. So too, many people all over the world are grateful to Anguilla for the stand she has made for freedom and democracy. Like the BEACON may this paper be a help to guide Anguillans to pick out the good from the bad, so that they may have nothing less than the best. To achieve this, you must all do your best for your Island. It is true that you voted overwhelmingly in your Referendum to secede from St. Kitts, but that was only a beginning. Every one of you must support the cause in every way you can. Some of you are watching the beaches, others contributing voluntary labour, others serving as members of your Council, some have so far not found a way to help. We have managed to keep going for the last four months by the generosity of our friends overseas, we will have to keep going till our status is recognised. I appeal to everyone of you to do your part and contribute generously to the new scheme of Voluntary Contribution, and not to depend only on the generosity of others.”
The rarity of substantial runs of the short-lived newspaper is self-evident per its method of production:
“Edited by Atlin Harrigan, the man who, together with Ronald Webster, orchestrated Anguilla’s dissidence, and published by the Anglican Canon Guy Carleton, Rector of Anguilla, in his own Xerox machine in the basement of his house in Island Harbour, the paper initially consisted of a single sheet printed with news on both sides. While its first edition was published on a Wednesday, subsequent numbers were printed every Saturday without fault from October 1967 to March 1969, when the British invaded the island, and then again from April 1969 to the end 1971. Its original single-sheet format was enhanced towards October 1968, when an electrical printer donated by Roger Fisher and other sympathisers of Anguilla’s cause in Boston, USA, finally reached the island.” (Kobbé)
In 2006, Harrigan’s Anguilla: Memoir of the Revolution was posthumously published.
I. The Beacon, Newsletter, 1967–1971. 147 issues; 918 pages. “An Independent Anguillan News sheet, published weekly.” Substantial run: No. 1; Nos. 4–33; 38–50; 52–56; 58–62; 73–150 + “Vol. 4,” Nos. 1–15. [September 27, 1967 (No. 1) – February 6, 1971 (Vol. 4, No. 15)] Nos. 1–50, typically 2 pages; all else typically 8 pages. Nos. 1 and 39 with signed annotation by the editor, Atlin Harrigan; No. 11 with a two-page supplement entitled “Delegation Special.”
II. Anguillan Revolution Memorabilia, 1967. Four Items: A small Anguillan flag with metal pole and wooden base, the Republic of Anguilla’s “Dolphin Flag” used between September 29, 1967 to March 19, 1969. One 5 peso Mexican coin from 1963 over-stamped on the verso “Anguilla Liberty Dollar July 11 1967”. Two envelopes, each with First Day Covers of six Anguilla postage stamps: 1¢, 5¢, 10¢, 20¢, 25¢, and 40¢.
II. Anguillan Revolution and after, 1969. 13pp., total. Three “Policy Statements” by the British Information Services, Economic & Political Affairs Division describing solutions for the “Anguilla problem” and reprinting a speech given at the House of Commons concerning the invasion and restoring law and order, etc. Three printed “unclassified” documents, legal-sheet size, from the Information Department of the British Embassy in Washington, D.C., explaining how one should explain to the public the difference between the objectives in Rhodesia and Anguilla; read-outs from deposed Anguilla Republic president, Ronald Webster, assuring his fellow islanders of Britain’s desire to work with their aims and remedy their situation; the full text of a Radio Anguilla broadcast given by Lord Caradon.
IV. Five Items, 1967–1969. 5pp., total: a brief ALs and a TLs on Anguilla government letterhead that acknowledges a donation, etc., a brief ANS, two printed circular letters, signed or annotated, and one discussing Anguilla’s goal to achieve independence from Great Britain and soliciting donations, etc. to further their cause, by purchasing The Beacon, the “Anguillan News sheet.”
V. Newspapers and news clippings, 1967–1969. Approx. 25 items covering the uprising: issues of the Manchester Guardian (6) and The New Yorker (1) and clippings from the New York Times, Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia), and the Washington Post.
Description: 1967 to 1971 Anguillan Revolution-era Archive from Anguilla, Leeward Islands, Lesser Antilles, Caribbean.
Anguilla. 19167–1969. See description. Overall condition, very good to fine.
Ref. Montague Kobbé, “The Beacon: A Revolution of its Own” in Memo From La–La Land, accessed online). OCLC: University of Florida, University of London Library, University of the West Indies. zxc