Born in 1801 in Montego Bay, Samuel Sharpe grew up as a house slave. Unlike many slaves he was literate, having been educated by his master who was also named Samuel Sharpe. His master treated him very well and allowed him certain privileges. He thus became his master's right-hand man.
Samuel Sharpe had special responsibilities; one of which was to take the jobbing slaves -those hired out to others- to work. While carrying out his daily duties he became disgruntled with the way in which slaves were treated, he himself included. He wanted to be free.
Sam Sharpe was the main instigator of the Slave Rebellion which began on Kensington Estate in St. James and as a result he was executed in the Montego Bay market place on May 23, 1832. It was this rebellion, however, that lead to the abolition of slavery in Jamaica. Sharpe was buried in the sands of the Montego Bay Harbour. His remains were later exhumed and reburied beneath the pulpit at Burchell Baptist Church.