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Jamaica's Coat of Arms  Jamaica's National Hero Series

Nanny of the Maroons
Nanny of
the Maroons
Sam Sharpe
Paul Bogle
George William Gordon
Marcus Mosiah Garvey
Alexander Bustamante
Norman Washington Manley

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The Right Excellent Nanny of the Maroons

Nanny of the Maroons

Nanny of the Maroons lived about 250 years ago. She died in the 1750s. Her ancestors were the Asante people of Africa. They lived in the country now called Ghana. When Nanny lived, most of the African people in Jamaica were slaves. They were brought to Jamaica to work on the sugar plantations.

At the time Jamaica was captured by the English, a number of slaves were set free by the Spanish to prevent them falling into the hands of the English. They were the maroons.

Nanny was not a slave, but she led many Maroons into the hills in Portland. They called the place where they lived Nanny Town. The owners of the plantations wanted to get the slaves back. The colonial forces came into the hills, and Nanny and her people had to fight these soldiers to stay free.

Nanny became the Queen Mother. In Asante Land the Queen Mother was the "Mother of the people". She was the political leader and a religious leader. Nanny was very powerful. Her people thought she could work magic.

The Maroons did not have many guns. They took some from dead soldiers. They stole some, and they traded for some. Mostly, they had to fight without guns. They were very good at living and fighting in the bush. They had to be, in order to survive. They hid in the bush, and they set traps for the colonial forces. They surprised them, and they frightened them. This way of fighting is called Guerilla warfare. While the Maroon men were fighting, the women planted and grew food. Everyone had a job to do. Nanny used an Abeng to call her people in the bush.

An abeng is a cow horn. And the Maroons still use them.

Nanny town was hidden in the hills, but in the end the colonial forces found it. They captured it and kept it for about a year. They built a small fort there. But Nanny took her people further into the hills. Later, they went back to Nanny town. They surprised the soldiers, and they took the town again.

Maroons in eastern and Central Jamaica made peace with the English. Nanny did not want to, but the English persuaded her War-chief Quao to sign a peace-treaty. Nanny was one of the most important fighters for freedom and independence.

In the end, the English let Nanny have land at a place called New Nanny Town, which we call Moore Town. Nanny got this land for her people forever.

The Right Excellent Sam Sharpe

Sam Sharpe

Sam Sharpe was a creole slave. He was born in Montego Bay in 1801. African Slavery in Jamaica started with the Spaniards. They brought in Africans to replace the Arawaks who had died out - been killed. The English also brought many people to Jamaica from West Africa to work their sugar estates. The owners of the sugar estates bought the Africans like they bought cattle. Jamaica grew more sugar cane than any other country. The owners sold the sugar in England and it made them very rich so of course they did not want slavery to end.

Sam Sharpe's struggle began

Sam Sharpe learnt to read and write, and he read many newspapers. He learnt from the newspapers that some people in England wanted to end slavery. Most slaves did not learn to read or write because their masters did not want them to.

Sam Sharpe joined the Baptist Church

Sam Sharpe joined the Baptist church which was against slavery. He soon became a Bible-class leader, because he could read, and he was a good speaker. The Bible told him that all men are equal. It also says, 'No man can serve two masters'.

Sam Sharpe liked this text a lot, and used it often. Sam Sharpe thought all slaves should be free and he told the people at the church. He spoke what was in peoples minds, so they listened to him. Sam Sharpe wanted the slaves to become free.

Sam Sharpe made a plan

Sam Sharpe had a brave plan. He did not want people to fight. He wanted the slaves to sit down one day and do no work until they got paid for their work. He told people about his plan. People went to other churches to tell about it.

How could the plan work?

Sam Sharpe knew that ripe sugar-cane must be cut quickly or it will spoil. The cane would be ripe after Christmas. So Sharpe wanted the slaves to sit down after the Christmas holiday and do no work. He thought the owners would pay the slaves to cut the cane, so it would not spoil. Sam Sharpe was the first Jamaican who made a plan for people to stop work, to try to get paid properly.

We still do this.

The Christmas Rebellion of 1831

Some slaves did not wait to try Sam Sharpe plan. They were very angry. Just after Christmas in 1831, they burnt Kensington Estate in St. James. Then other slaves burnt many other estates. Some slaves got guns but mostly they tried not to hurt the owners so only a few of the owners were killed.

The missionaries were against Slavery, so Sam Sharpe thought that they would help him. In fact, they tried to stop him. They had to be careful because they knew most of the estate owners did not want them in Jamaica.

The Government sent soldiers to the estates. They killed some slaves and took many prisoners. The slaves did not have enough guns. They had no military training. They were not organized, and they had not planned how to fight. The prisoners were taken to court. The owners spoke against them. Then more than 300 slaves were executed. Some slaves followed Sam Sharpe's plan - they did not work.

But the plan failed because some of the slaves had burnt the estates and used violence. So the peaceful sit-in strike that Sharpe had planned, could not work. Sam Sharpe gave himself up. He was taken to court, then put in prison. He was executed in Market Square in Montego Bay in 1832.

The End of Slavery

The Christmas rebellion of 1831 was the last great big fight against slavery in Jamaica. The Government in England knew that the slaves would not put up with slavery any more . Most people in England wanted to end it. It was abolished in 1834. Sam Sharpe believed that people could fight together against injusice. Sharpe and his followers helped to make slavery end quickly after the rebellion. They helped to make Jamaica free.

The Right Excellent Paul Bogle

Paul Bogle

Paul Bogle lived at Stony Gut in St. Thomas. He was born before the abolition of slavery, probably between 1815 and 1820. Paul Bogle grew up when slavery was ending. The owners did not want the slaves to be free. They did not want them to own land. The people wanted to own land. They had to grow their food. The land would give them security and independence. Most people in St. Thomas were small farmers and labourers. Paul Bogle was better off than many people. He owned about 500 acres of land. He could read and write. He could also vote. Only 106 people in St. Thomas could vote at this time. When the slaves were made free, most of the rulers tried to keep them down. They made the people pay a lot of taxes, and they punished them badly. They did not give them fair trials in court. They did not think freed slaves should get justice or opportunities. Bogle was a friend of the people he wanted to share their problems and help them and they respected him.

Paul Bogle and George William Gordon

Paul Bogle's neighbour was George William Gordon. Gordon was a big landowner and a politician, but he cared about poor people. So Paul Bogle voted for him and got other people to do so. Gordon was a Baptist, and so was Paul Bogle. In 1864, Gordon made Paul Bogle a deacon in the Baptist church.

He walked to Spanish Town.

Paul Bogle led a group of people from Stony Gut to Spanish Town to tell the governor about their problems. Governor Eyre turned them away. People in Stony Gut gave up hoping that the Government would help them Paul Bogle was their religious leader and their political leader. He gave them some military training.

He went to Morant Bay

One day, in 1865, two men from Stony Gut went for trial at Morant Bay Courthouse. Paul Bogle and some of his people went to support them. A man called out in the trial the police tried to arrest him, but Paul Bogle and his men came between them. The man got away. The police went to Stony Gut to arrest Bogle but the people would not let them. They fought the police and sent them back to Morant Bay.

The Morant Bay Rebellion

Then Paul Bogle and his people marched to Morant Bay . They went to the courthouse while a council meeting was going on. Armed police and soldiers were on guard. A fight broke out, the guards fired and about 20 of Paul Bogle's people were killed or hurt. The others drove the guards back into the courthouse. They set fire to the courthouse, and killed people who tried to run away.

Stony Gut was destroyed

Paul Bogle And his people went back to Stony Gut. The Governor sent troops into Portland and St. Thomas to stop people from rebelling. They shot or whipped many people and burnt 1000 houses. Paul Bogle's followers killed a few people and burnt some estates. They could not really fight, because the soldiers were well trained and they had a lot of weapons. The troops destroyed Stony Gut, and Paul Bogle's chapel. Paul Bogle was captured and taken to Morant Bay where he was put on trial. Then he was hanged at the burnt-out courthouse. Four hundred and thirty-eight other people were hanged too. Bogle's friend George William Gordon was accused of helping to plan the rebellion and hanged as well.

The Morant Bay rebellion made the Government listen to the people. It forced the Government to try to make life better for them. The Government set up fair courts and it made the roads better. It let people have better education and better medical services. So Paul Bogle did not die for nothing . We honor Paul Bogle because he did his best to help the people of our country. He died for what he believed was right, Today we are grateful to him.

The Right Excellent George William Gordon

George William Gordon

George William Gordon was born about 1820 on the Cherry Gardens estate in the parish of St. Andrew. He was born a slave, but his father, Joseph Gordon, a scottish planter, freed him. He was one of seven children, that his mother, also a slave, bore for Joseph Gordon. His father was a successful planter and businessman, who owned or managed 30 properties and had under him 8000 slaves.

George taught himself to read and write, and went to his godfather in Black River, St. Elizabeth, to learn business. In 1836 he opened a store in Kingston. He married Lucy Shannon, the white daughter of an Irishman. He was elected to the house of Assembly in the 1850s and served as a Justice of the peace in many parishes.

He also followed in his father as Mayor of Kingston. He was one of the founders of the Jamaica Mutual Life Assurance Society now known as Mutual Life. He cared for poor people and sold land at cheap prices to small farmers. He set up a marketing system, so small farmers could get a good price for the food they grew to sell. He also started chapels and schools in the country. He was also a Baptist minister, and ordained National Hero Paul Bogle as a deacon.

The Morant Bay Rebellion

Because of his association with Paul Bogle, as well as his criticism of Governor Eyre, Gordon was falsely accused of planning The Morant Bay rebellion.

He and his friend Paul Bogle were court-martialed and executed at Morant Bay.

George William Gordon was made a National Hero because he worked to make life better for people and paid for this with his life.

The Right Excellent Marcus Mosiah Garvey

Marcus Mosiah Garvey

People often feel that they cannot do much about all the problems in the world. They think the problems are too big for one person to make any difference. Marcus Garvey did not think in this way. He formed clear ideas about what the big problems were, and what he would do to help. He spent his whole life working for what he believed in.

Garvey's early years

Marcus Mosiah Garvey was born on 17 August 1887, in St Ann's Bay. As a boy he enjoyed swimming in the river, and playing cricket. He also loved to read. Garvey attended St Ann's Bay Primary School. But his parents were poor, so he had to leave school when he was fourteen. He started work as an apprentice - to learn a craft - to his godfather, a printer in St Ann's Bay.

The Printery in St. Anns BaySocial conditions

In the nineteenth century, hundreds of people had died fighting in rebellions all over the country. As a result of the rebellions, slavery was abolished. The Government was forced to improve medical and educational facilities. It set up fair courts, and it improved the roads.

The economy

By the twentieth century, conditions had improved. but life was still hard for ordinary people. Jamaica was part of the British Empire - group of countries ruled by Britain. So the island's economy - system for managing its resources - was organized to Britain's advantage. For example, the main crops were sugar and bananas, because Britain decided we should grow them. Britain prospered - made money - but most Jamaicans were very poor. They had no say in the country's economic policy.

A Street in Kingston after the 1907 EarthquakeThe earthquake of 1907

In 1907, when Marcus Garvey was twenty, there was a terrible earthquake in Kingston. Many people were killed, or lost their houses. Fires raged for many days, and caused great destruction. The people suffered a lot. The next year, the printers at P.A. Benjamin's went on strike for better pay. As a foreman, Garvey was part of the management team. He did not have to go on strike, but he did so, to support the workers. The strike did not last long, and some of the workers got their jobs back at P.A. Benjamin's. Garvey did not, but he was taken on at the Government Printing Office.

Political life

At this time in Jamaica's history, it was hard to advocate - speak in favour of - independence, because Jamaica was still a British colony. Only a few rich people could vote. Universal adult suffrage was a long way off. Jamaica was not democratic. However, there were some people who wanted independence. Garvey joined a political group called the National Club, which wanted Jamaica to be an independent country.

West Indians abroad

In the early twentieth century, because of unemployment and low wages, many Jamaicans worked abroad. They went to Central America to work on sugar and banana plantations, the railways and the Panama Canal. Garvey went to stay with his uncle in Costa Rica. He found a job as timekeeper on a banana plantation. Later he went to Panama to work. In both countries, most West Indians had poor working conditions. The pay was higher than at home, but there were no banks, and often they were robbed of their savings. They had no pension and no compensation if they were injured on the job. They suffered a lot from racial discrimination. Garvey was very upset by these conditions. In Costa Rica he encouraged the workers to form a union to negotiate for better conditions. In both countries he started newspapers, and wrote about the conditions. In Costa Rica the paper was called La Naçion. In Panama it was La Prensa. Garvey was expelled - made to leave - from Costa Rica by the Government, because of his activities on behalf of the workers. So he visited Nicaragua, Guatemala, Ecuador, Venezuela and Colombia.

AfricaGarvey learns about Africa

Garvey returned to Jamaica in 1912. But soon afterwards he left for England, where his sister was a governess - private teacher. In London he continued his education, and qualified to go to university. He worked on two newspapers - the African Times and the Orient Review. He visited the British parliament to listen to debates - discussions. He also went to Hyde Park, to listen to informal - without rules - debates at Speaker's Corner. Here, people can speak to passers-by on any subject. Many of the speeches are political. Garvey met many Africans in London. At that time Britain was an imperialist power. It believed in extending its power through colonies, by force - use of its army. Like Jamaica, many African countries were British colonies. Africans went to Britain to work and to study. Garvey talked to students and dockworkers from Africa. He learned that in some countries the colonial authorities cleared people off the land, and took it for themselves. They forced Africans to work for low wages. They practised racial discrimination. The years that Garvey spent travelling were formative ones. They helped to shape his world vision.

The birth of the UNIA

In London, Garvey met leaders of the Pan African Movement. They objected to the way colonial powers had divided Africa between themselves. They taught Garvey about the rich history that all Africans share - Whether they live in Africa, or are descended from slaves. A book called Up From Slavery , by a black American, Booker T. Washington, also inspired Garvey. Washington was born a slave, but he educated himself, and later he founded a college for black students at Tuskegee in Alabama, in the USA. Garvey wanted black people everywhere to have pride in themselves, and to be treated fairly. So he set up an organization called the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA). The UNIA's aims were summed up in its motto, which was:

"One God! One Aim! One Destiny!"

The New York UNIA Liberty HallThe early days

The UNIA held weekly meetings and evening classes for people who didn't have the chance to go to high school. Sometimes there were debates and concerts. Garvey tried to get educated people to join the UNIA, to teach the poorer people. Some did, but not as many as he hoped. This was because many of them did not like to be called 'Negro'. They did not want to associate with other black people. They wanted to pretend they were white! You see, part of colonialism was racism - belief that your own race is better than others. Caribbean people were made to feel inferior because of their colour and culture.

Black Pride

In 1916, Garvey went to the USA. He moved the UNIA headquarters from Jamaica to Harlem in New York, where there were a lot of people of African descent. Branches of the UNIA were set up in every country where there was a community of black people. Garvey was now an experienced speaker. His ideas became more radical - in favour of essential reforms. Hundreds of people listened to his speeches. Garvey preached black pride - pride in black peoples' colour and culture. In the USA, slavery wasn't abolished until 1863. In the southern states, conditions had not improved much. There was serious racial discrimination, and segregation - separation of people according to race. Many black people felt they would never be able to achieve anything. Garvey's message to them was,

'Up you mighty race, you can accomplish what you will.'

He told them they had a glorious history in ancient Africa. He encouraged them to believe they could build a new society.

Garvey encouraged his followers to go into business for themselves. He believed that black people should have organizations of their own, and be self-reliant - trust themselves for help. Then they would not be at the mercy - in the power - of white people. They would achieve black liberation - freedom. The UNIA set up the Negro Factories Corporation to foster - help growth and development - self-reliance. It owned businesses like laundries - places where clothes are washed - groceries and publishers, and factories making dolls, hats and uniforms. In Jamaica, the UNIA had a restaurant, a laundry and a confectionery business - making sweets. It owned a People's Co-operative Bank. Each division of the UNIA was encouraged to buy its building. The buildings were known as Liberty Halls.

The Liberia Plan

As part of the self-reliance plan, Garvey wanted black people in America to set up their own nation in Africa. They would rule it and develop it, and it would protect black people all over the world. Garvey developed the Liberia Plan. The UNIA negotiated with the government of Liberia for land to settle people from the USA, the Caribbean, South and Central America. The Liberian government at first agreed, but it changed its mind before the settlers arrived. The UNIA had other plans for nation building. In 1920 it held its First International Convention - conference. Delegates - representatives - came to New York from all over the world, for a month-long meeting. They discussed issues like segregation, poor schooling, lack of representation, mob violence, and lands being taken away in Africa. The Convention was like a parliament in exile - away from its own country. Delegates were like MPs representing different countries and communities. They drew up laws to govern the lives of black people. They designed a flag - in red, black and green. They made up an anthem, called The Universal Ethiopian. The First International Convention was a huge success. Seven more were held during Garvey's lifetime.

Build a company, build a nation

In 1919 the UNIA set up a steamship company to buy ships and do business. It was called the Black Star Line and it was the UNIA's biggest business venture. It is one of the projects that Garvey is remembered for today. Garvey knew that powerful nations had ships. So building a shipping company was part of building a nation. It was also part of the UNIA's self-reliance programme. The Black Star Line would provide employment and make money. It would let different communities trade with each other. For example, its ships would take bananas, sugar and coconuts from the Caribbean, and cocoa from West Africa, to the USA. They would carry goods like machinery from the USA to the Caribbean and Africa. The ships would carry passengers, without racial discrimination. And they would transport people to countries in Africa for resettlement.

The Yarmouth, Shadyside and Kanahawa

The Yarmouth, Flagship of the Black Star LineThe Black Star Line acquired three ships - the Yarmouth, the Shadyside and the Kanahawa. Two of them sailed to the Caribbean and Central America, visiting Cuba, Jamaica, Panama, and different ports in America. Large, cheering crowds greeted the ships when they docked. Few black people held important jobs in those days, and they felt great pride when they saw a black captain, officers and crew operating their own ships. Many people joined the UNIA because of the Black Star Line. However, the company lasted only three years. It had several problems. The ships were too expensive, so the company spent too much. Some people were not qualified for the posts they held, and many employees were dishonest. There was sabotage - deliberate damage - and political pressure from the American government. It did not want the company to build a company, build a nation.

The Negro World

The Masthead and Headline of The Negro World of February 21st, 1921While Garvey was in the USA, he published two newspapers. The most important one was the Negro World. It gave news about the UNIA from all over the world, speeches by Garvey, and news that was not reported by other papers. The Negro World was very popular. It soon became the largest black weekly paper in the USA. It was circulated - sent out - all over the world, and was very important in spreading Marcus Garvey's ideas. All the colonial governments opposed the Negro World. They thought it would incite - stir up - people to rebel against them. So in several Caribbean and African countries the paper was banned - forbidden. In some countries where it was not banned, the government tried to reduce its circulation. But seamen smuggled the Negro World into these countries. Speeches and sayings Marcus Garvey was a great orator - public speaker. Many of his speeches and sayings are well known today. Many legends about Garvey say that he was a prophet - someone who tells how events will be before they actually happen. For example, when Jamaica was still a British colony, and people did not know the country would be free one day, Marcus Garvey said:

'The day shall come when the Negro shall rise to power and the white nations shall fall.'

People who were opposed to Garvey were supposed to come to a bad end. 'Bag o' Wire' was a man who walked the streets in Kingston. People said he was Garvey's driver, then he turned against him. In the 1970s the Mighty Diamonds sang:

'Men like Bag o' Wire Shall be cast in fire, The betrayer of Marcus Garvey.'

Some myths about Garvey say that he had divine - god-like - powers. For example, Garvey was once imprisoned in Spanish Town. People say that a poisoned bath was set for him, but he saw through the plan, and refused the bath.

Amy Ashwood Garvey & Amy Jacques Garvey

Amy Ashwood GarveyWhen the UNIA was founded in 1914, its first member was a young woman called Amy Ashwood. She was only seventeen, but already she spoke in public debates, and did social work. She became Garvey's first wife, and went with him to the USA. She continued to speak in public, and she became the associate editor of the Negro World. Amy Ashwood Garvey was an officer of the Black Star Line, and the Negro Factories Corporation. Later, she and Garvey were divorced, but Amy Ashwood continued to be an important member of the Pan-African movement. Garvey's second wife was Amy Jacques. She was also an important activist - active in the movement - and organizer in the UNIA. Like Garvey's first wife, Amy Jacques Garvey also became the associate editor of the Negro World. She too was a strong public speaker. She published Garvey's books, and she wrote and published a book of her own, called Garvey and Garveyism. After Garvey's death, Amy Jacques Garvey continued to work for the UNIA. She made sure that Garvey's name and work were not forgotten. She was awarded the Gold Musgrave Medal for this, and for her 'contributions to the history of people of Jamaica'.

Women in leadership

In the early days in Kingston, about half the members of the UNIA were women. When the headquarters moved to New York, women held some of the highest positions in the movement. An African-American actress, Henrietta Vinton Davis, became an international organizer. The head of the UNIA 's printing press was a woman, Lillian Galloway. The UNIA always kept a place for a Lady President and a Lady Vice-President. The organization insisted on women taking part in leadership. It produced many dynamic - energetic - women leaders. The UNIA was very unusual in this way.

The Universal African Motor Corps

The UNIA had two Paramilitary organizations that functioned like regular armed forces. The Universal African Legion was for men. The Universal African Motor Corps was for women. Members dressed in military uniform and received military training. No other organization in the USA has had a women's paramilitary group.

The Black Cross Nurses

The UNIA also had various auxiliary - supporting - organizations. One of the most powerful and best known was a women's organization called the Black Cross Nurses. The Nurses did social work and learned health care.

Sentenced to five years!

In the early 1920s, support for the UNIA's was at its height. But in 1924 Garvey was put in prison. Garvey's support among African Americans, and black people all over the world, continued to grow. But he had enemies too. The US Government and its supporters thought he was a troublemaker, stirring up racial hatred. They were afraid of his message. They started to keep watch on him as soon as he arrived from Jamaica. Government spies joined the UNIA, and were hired in the business organizations. Garvey even survived an assassination attempt - someone tried to kill him.

Marcus Garvey in Custody

In 1922 Garvey and three officers of the Black Star Line were arrested and charged with 'using the mail to defraud'. They were accused of using the mail system to invite people to invest in the Black Star Line when they knew the company was bankrupt - had run out of money. Garvey defended himself, and said he was not guilty, although there was dishonesty in the company. He explained about his organization, and how he was trying to help his people. The officers were released, but Garvey was found guilty, fined and sentenced to five years in prison. All over the world, Garvey's supporters protested. They petitioned - wrote requests to - the Government, wrote letters to the press, and held protest rallies.

Back to Jamaica

After two and a half years the US President commuted – reduced – the sentence. Garvey was released, and deported to Jamaica. He never went back to the USA. When he returned to Jamaica in December 1927, The Daily Gleaner reported:

"Mr Garvey’s arrival was perhaps the most historic event that has taken place in the metropolis of the island ... no denser crowd has ever been witnessed in Kingston."

Spreading the message

Garvey immediately started or reactivated - got going again - UNIA branches all over the island. He launched - started - a daily newspaper called The Blackman, which supported poor people, workers, colonial subjects and African people. It helped to spread Garvey's message in Jamaica.

The Sixth International Convention and the Peoples Political Party

In 1926 the UNIA held its Sixth International Convention in Kingston. It opened with the largest parade ever seen there. Hundreds of delegates attended from all over the world. After the convention, Garvey launched the Peoples Political Party (PPP), at a mass meeting in Cross Roads. Before then, people stood for election to the Legislative Council as independent candidates, with their own programmes. Garvey promised that PPP candidates would carry out the same programme if they were elected. The last point of the Manifesto got Garvey into trouble. He was imprisoned for three months in Spanish Town jail for contempt of court - disrespect to judges.

An issue of the Black ManThe main points of the PPP Manifesto were:

Self-government for Jamaica
A minimum wage for workers
Land reform
An eight-hour work day
Free secondary education
A public library system
Encouragement of local industries
Protection for native labour
A law to punish judges who act unfairly.

Politics and race

While Garvey was in prison, he was elected as a councillor for the Allman Town division of the Kingston and St Andrew Corporation. In those days you could be a councillor and a member of the Legislative Council (now an MP) at the same time. But although he was very popular, Garvey did not win a seat in the election to the Legislative Council in 1930. At that time most people could not vote! Only people who owned property, or a business, or who paid rent could vote. And those people opposed Garvey. In Jamaica, as in the USA, black people saw Garvey as their spokesman. For most white people - officials, planters and merchants - he was as an enemy, stirring up racialism.

Defending the workers

Garvey was a councillor for four years. As a member of KSAC he agitated - campaigned - for the reforms in the PPP Manifesto. He tried hard to get an eight-hour day for workers, but he did not succeed. Outside KSAC he agitated on behalf of workers too. He led street meetings to protest about their poor living conditions. He said:

"If you were to go into the homes of hundreds of thousands of the people of this land, you would see there misery inexplicable."

Garvey started the Jamaica Workers and Labourers Association to help workers form unions. He led a deputation - representatives - to the Governor to get conditions improved. Nothing happened. The Governor said there was 'no unusual suffering'. So Garvey sent a petition to the King of England. The king sent a Royal Commission - committee of inquiry - to look into the conditions of the people in Jamaica. Garvey inspired other people in Jamaica to try to improve social conditions.

The Seventh International Convention

In 1934 the UNIA held another International Convention to celebrate the centenary - one hundredth anniversary - of the abolition of slavery. The Convention set up the Permanent Jamaica Development Convention. This group made a five-year plan for Jamaica's development.

To Britain again

Garvey still had problems in Jamaica, because of the people who wanted to stop his work. So the UNIA decided to move its headquarters to London. For five years Garvey continued his work. In 1936 Italy invaded - attacked and entered - Ethiopia, and Garvey protested in his speeches and writings. He organized three more conferences of the UNIA, in Canada. Then he became ill. Marcus Garvey died in London in 1940.

Art, music and religion

From the early days, Garvey and UNIA encouraged cultural activities. During the 1930s there were concerts, plays, music, speech, drama and dance competitions at UNIA's headquarters, Edelweiss Park. Many performers there, became famous later. Of course, culture is not just about entertainment on stage. Our culture is our whole way of life. In what aspects - parts - of our culture do we see Garvey's influence today? Think of our art, crafts, music and religion. Garvey's influence is very strong in Jamaica In 1964 Garvey's body was brought home to Jamaica. He was declared a National Hero and reburied at National Heroes Park in Kingston.

A man of vision

Marcus GarveyWithout doubt, Marcus Garvey was a great man - a great Jamaican and a world leader. He was a man of vision. He lived at a time when most black people, all over the world, were poor and oppressed. It's hard for us to imagine what life was like then. Perhaps the worst thing was that people didn't feel good about themselves. How could they? They had no rights, no expectations - nothing to look forward to. The white people who had power and money did not value African cultures. Marcus Garvey gave black people hope. He encouraged us to be self-reliant, and have pride in our history and ourselves. He inspired millions of people all over the world to press for better conditions and independence.

A message for today.

Garvey's spirit is alive today. We enjoy many of the rights and freedoms that he fought for. And we have pride in ourselves - our achievements in the past, and what we can do in the future. Isn't it amazing what one person can achieve?

The Right Excellent Sir Alexander Bustamante

Sir Alexander Bustamante

At Jamaica's independence, on 6 August 1962, Alexander Bustamante became our first Prime Minister. Like Marcus Garvey, he was a man of vision - he saw why life was hard for ordinary people, and he saw what he could do to help. He fought for what he believed was right - not with guns or knives, but with words! He fought for the rights of workers, and he became their leader. So when the people got the vote, they were grateful, and they voted for him.

Bustamante's early life

Alexander Bustamante was born at Blenheim, in Hanover, in 1884. He was christened William Alexander Clarke, and changed his name later. He was a cousin of another National Hero, Norman Manley, and when he was twenty he worked for a year on the Manley's property at Belmont. He was a good horseman, and farmers sent him their horses to tame.

In 1905 Bustamante started to travel. He went to Cuba, Panama and the United States. At that time, many Jamaicans went to these countries to find new opportunities, and to seek their fortunes. Bustamante spent some time in New York, and he made money there.

Bustamante wrote letters

Bustamante came back to Jamaica in the 1930s. He was sad to see how the poor people were suffering, and he wrote letters to the newspapers, and to important people. He wrote about the bad conditions, and he asked for things to be made better. This is a part of a letter he wrote in 1938:

"The pot of Discontent is boiling, today it has reached the brim, tomorrow it may overflow."

Bustamante helped the Workers

Workers were still badly treated. They worked very long hours for very little money. They were angry, and in 1938 they went on strike for more pay. Bustamante went to support them at places where they were on strike - Serge Island in St. Thomas, and Frome in Westmoreland. In Kingston, a strike grew into a mass protest of workers and the unemployed. Bustamante went where there was trouble, and the government thought he was trying to get people to rebel. At one meeting, the security forces threatened to shoot. Bustamante opened his shirt, stuck out his chest and asked them to shoot him instead of the people. He was put in prison.

Bustamante started a Trade Union movement

Bustamante's cousin, Norman Manley, was a great lawyer, and he helped to get him out of prison. Bustamante wanted workers to organize themselves and work together to get better conditions. He made more speeches, and he founded the Bustamante Industrial Trades Union, or BITU. A trade union is an organization of workers that works for worker's rights. In 1939 the dock workers went on strike. Bustamante wanted other workers to join in a General Strike - a big strike by all workers in all kinds of jobs. The Governor was angry and in 1940 Bustamante was put in detention at Up-Park Camp. He was kept there for seventeen months, without being charged and without a trial.

Bustamante's Political Party

After Bustamante was released in 1943, he started a political party called the Jamaica Labor Party, or the JLP. The next year all adults got the right to vote. This is called Universal Adult Suffrage. In 1944, Jamaica had its first General Election in which all adults could vote - not just the ones with property. At a General Election, people vote to choose which political party will run the country. The two main parties were the JLP and the PNP - the People's National Party, which was started by Norman Manley.

The JLP won the election. When Jamaica became independent in 1962, the JLP was in power again, and that is how Alexander Bustamante became our first Prime Minister. He died in 1977 at the age of ninety-three, leaving memories of a brave-hearted Labour leader, an astute politician and defender of the poor.

The Right Excellent Norman Washington Manley

Norman Washington Manley

Norman Washington Manley was born at Roxborough in Manchester in 1893. He was the son of Margaret and Thomas Albert Manley. When he was six years old, they went to live at Belmont, Guanaboa Vale, in Clarendon. He was cousin to Alexander Bustamante, who lived for a time with them there. In his Autobiography he described himself thus:

I grew up as a bush man. I earned my pocket money cleaning pastures and chipping logwood.

When I was not out in the bush, I was reading.

He was educated at Beckford & Smith High School (Now St. Jago), Wolmer's, and Jamaica College. He was an excellent athlete, and set records which remained unbroken for many years. After graduating, he became a teacher, remaining at Jamaica College for a couple of months. In 1914 he was awarded the Rhodes scholarship to attend Oxford University in England.

Corporal Norman Manley

By the time he arrived in England, the First World War had begun. He enlisted as a gunner in the Royal Artillery and was promoted to corporal. He was awarded the Military Medal and survived the war, but suffered the loss of his brother, Roy. After the war he continued his studies and became a lawyer. While in England, he married his cousin, Edna Swithenbank, an artist. They returned to Jamaica in 1922. He worked hard, and soon became a much sought after lawyer, renowned for his oratory, who never lost a murder case he defended. They had two sons, Douglas and Michael. By the late 1930s the mood of the Jamaican people had become restive. Strikes and other forms of labour unrest were becoming more frequent as workers began to agitate for better pay and working conditions.. At the centre of this activity was his cousin, Alexander Bustamante. In 1938, clashes between striking workers at the Frome sugar factory in Westmoreland and the police resulted in many deaths and injuries. Similar strikes broke out all over the island, most notably in Kingston and Serge Island, St. Thomas.

The Kingston strike grew into a mass protest , involving workers and unemployed people. Bustamante went to lend his support, but was imprisoned because the government thought he was trying to get the people to rebel. Manley secured his release.

He worked hard towards the solution of the underlying problem of the day, the poverty and lack of opportunity that the majority of people experienced. To this end, in 1937 he formed Jamaica Welfare Ltd. (now known as the Social Development Comission) to help people in the rural areas.

By the end of 1938 he had become the leader of a group of people who wanted Universal Adult Suffrage (the right of all adults to vote) and Self government. From this group, the Peoples National Party was formed.

Norman Manley was its first president. The PNP contested the first General Election in 1944 but lost to the JLP, led by Bustamante. Manley was elected premier in the General election of 1955.

In his element

Three years later, Jamaica became a founding member of the West Indies federation, ten West Indian nations joined together to try to put right some common problems. In the Federation, power was shared between Jamaica and the other countries. Some people thought Jamaica should not be part of a Federation. In 1961 Manley held a referendum to let the people decide. In a referendum people vote to say what they think about one important matter. The people decided to leave the Federation.

The following year, the JLP won the election and led the country into independence. Manley remained in the House of Representatives as Leader of the Opposition (and president of the PNP) until he retired in 1969. He was succeeded by his son Michael as President of the Peoples National Party (who later became Prime Minister).

Norman Manley made a significant contribution to Jamaica's political development as a shaper of the modern multi-party system of government. He also demonstrated the importance of creating institutions to serve the needs of the people, and is remembered for his role in the establishment of Jamaica's Central Bank (The Bank of Jamaica), the Jamaica National Heritage Trust, the Co-operative Movement as well as Jamaica Welfare, now the Social Development Commission.

He died later that year.

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