Queen Nanny, Granny Nanny or Nanny or Nanny of the Maroons (c. 1686 – c. 1755), was an 18th-century leader of the Jamaican Maroons. She led a community of formerly enslaved Africans called the Windward Maroons. In the early 18th century, under the leadership of Nanny, the Windward Maroons fought a guerrilla war over many years against British authorities in the Colony of Jamaica in what became known as the First Maroon War.
Much of what is known about her comes from oral history, as little textual evidence exists. According to Maroon legend, Queen Nanny was born in what is today Ghana of the Akans people. According to the oral tradition and at least one documentary source, she was never enslaved. Although widely assumed that she arrived in Jamaica as a slave, how she arrived in Jamaica is not certain.
During the years of warfare, the British suffered significant losses in their encounters with the Windward Maroons of eastern Jamaica. Maroons attributed their success against the British to the successful use of supernatural powers by Nanny, but historians argue that the Maroon mastery of guerrilla warfare played a significant role in their success. Having failed to defeat them on the battle field, the British sued for peace signing a treaty with them on 20 April 1740. The treaty stopped the hostilities, provided for state sanctioned freedom for the Maroons, and granted 500 acres of land to Nanny and her followers. The village built on the land grant still stands and today is called Moore Town. It is also known as the New Nanny Town. Modern members of the Moore Town celebrate 20 April 1740 as a holiday.
In 1975, the government of Jamaica declared Nanny as their only female national hero celebrating her success as a leader, military tactician and strategist. Her image is also on the Jamaican $500 note which is called a Nanny in Jamaican slang.
Paul Bogle (1820 – 24 October 1865) was a Jamaican Baptist deacon and activist. He is a National Hero of Jamaica. He was a leader of the 1865 Morant Bay protesters, who marched for justice and fair treatment for all the people in Jamaica. After leading the Morant Bay rebellion, Bogle was captured by government troops, tried and convicted by British authorities under martial law, and hanged on 24 October 1865 in the Morant Bay court house.
Bogle had become a friend of wealthy landowner and fellow Baptist George William Gordon, a bi-racial man who served in the Assembly as one of two representatives from St. Thomas-in-the-East parish. Gordon was instrumental in Bogle being appointed deacon of Stony Gut Baptist Church in 1864. Conditions were hard for black peasants, due to social discrimination, flooding and crop failure, and epidemics. The required payment of poll taxes prevented most of them from voting. In August 1865, Gordon criticised the British governor, Edward John Eyre, for sanctioning “everything done by the higher class to the oppression of the negroes”.
Bogle concentrated on improving the conditions of the poor. As awareness of social injustices and people’s grievances grew, Bogle led a group of small farmers 45 miles to the capital, Spanish Town, hoping to meet with Governor Eyre to discuss their issues, but they were denied an audience. The people of Stony Gut lost confidence and trust in the Governarchment, and Bogle’s supporters grew in number in the parish.
Morant Bay rebellion
On 7 October 1865, Bogle and some supporters killed two men from Stony Gut. A black man was convicted and sentenced to prison on charges of trespassing on a long abandoned plantation. One member of Bogle’s group protested in court over the case, but was immediately arrested, angering the crowd further. He was rescued moments later when Bogle and his men took to the market square and retaliated. The police were severely beaten and forced to retreat.
On Monday, 9 October 1865, warrants were issued against Bogle and a number of others for riot and assault. The police arrived in Stony Gut to arrest Bogle but met with stiff resistance from the residents. They fought the police, forcing them to retreat to Morant Bay.
A few days later on 11 October 1865, there was a vestry meeting in the Court House. That day Bogle led hundreds of followers, armed with sticks and machetes, on a protest march to the court house. The authorities had mustered a volunteer militia, who fired into the protesters after stones were thrown, killing seven men. The protesters set fire to the Court House and nearby buildings. When officials tried to leave, several were killed by the angry mob outside; a total of 25 on both sides died that day.
Black peasants rose up and took control of the parish for two days. The governor quickly retaliated, declaring martial law and ordering troops to capture the rebels and suppress the rebellion. The troops destroyed Stony Gut and Bogle’s chapel, killing more than 400 persons outright across the parish, including women and children. They arrested more than 300 persons, including Bogle. The Jamaican Maroons from Moore Town captured Bogle on behalf of the British military, and delivered him to the colonial authorities. He was tried under martial law and quickly executed, as were many others. Others, including women, and brought back to Morant Bay to be tried under martial law. Gordon was convicted of conspiracy and hanged on 23 October.
Back in Britain there was public outcry, and increased opposition from liberals against Eyre’s handling of the situation, with accusations against him of murder. Supporters praised the governor for acting quickly in the crisis to suppress a potentially larger rebellion. Bogle was later hanged on 24 October 1865.
Marcus Mosiah Garvey Sr. ONH (17 August 1887 – 10 June 1940) was a Jamaican political activist, publisher, journalist, entrepreneur, and orator. He was the founder and first President-General of the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League (UNIA-ACL, commonly known as UNIA), through which he declared himself Provisional President of Africa. Ideologically a black nationalist and Pan-Africanist, his ideas came to be known as Garveyism.
Garvey was born to a moderately prosperous Afro-Jamaican family in Saint Ann’s Bay, Jamaica, and apprenticed into the print trade as a teenager. Working in Kingston, he became involved in trade unionism before living briefly in Costa Rica, Panama, and England. Returning to Jamaica, he founded UNIA in 1914. In 1916, he moved to the United States and established a UNIA branch in New York City’s Harlem district. Emphasising unity between Africans and the African diaspora, he campaigned for an end to European colonial rule across Africa and the political unification of the continent. He envisioned a unified Africa as a one-party state, governed by himself, that would enact laws to ensure black racial purity. Although he never visited the continent, he was committed to the Back-to-Africa movement, arguing that some people of African descent should migrate there. Garveyist ideas became increasingly popular and UNIA grew in membership. However, his black separatist views—and his relations with white racists such as the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) to advance their shared interest in racial separatism—divided Garvey from other prominent African-American civil rights activists such as W. E. B. Du Bois who promoted racial integration.
Committed to the belief that black people needed to secure financial independence from white-dominant society, Garvey launched various businesses in the U.S., including the Negro Factories Corporation and Negro World newspaper. In 1919, he became President of the Black Star Line shipping and passenger company, designed to forge a link between North America and Africa and facilitate African-American migration to Liberia. In 1923 Garvey was convicted of mail fraud for selling the company’s stock and imprisoned in the United States Penitentiary Atlanta for nearly two years. Many commentators have argued that the trial was politically motivated; Garvey blamed Jewish people, claiming that they were prejudiced against him because of his links to the KKK. Deported to Jamaica in 1927, where he settled in Kingston with his wife Amy Jacques, Garvey continued his activism and established the People’s Political Party in 1929, briefly serving as a city councillor. With UNIA in increasing financial difficulty, in 1935 he relocated to London, where his anti-socialist stance distanced him from many of the city’s black activists. He died there in 1940, although in 1964 his body was returned to Jamaica for reburial in Kingston’s National Heroes Park.
Michael Norman Manley ON OCC (10 December 1924 – 6 March 1997) was a Jamaican politician who served as the fourth Prime Minister of Jamaica from 1972 to 1980 and from 1989 to 1992. Manley championed a democratic socialist program, and has been described as a populist. According to opinion polls, he remains one of Jamaica’s most popular prime ministers.
Michael Manley was the second son of premier Norman Washington Manley and artist Edna Manley. He attended the Antigua State College and then served in the Royal Canadian Air Force during World War II. In 1945, he enrolled at the London School of Economics. He graduated in 1949, and returned to Jamaica to serve as an editor and columnist for the newspaper Public Opinion. At about the same time, he became involved in the trade union movement, becoming a negotiator for the National Workers Union. In August 1953, he became a full-time official of that union.
Entry into politics
When his father was elected premier of Jamaica in 1955, Manley resisted entering politics, not wanting to be seen as capitalizing on his family name. However, in 1962, he accepted an appointment to the Senate of the Parliament of Jamaica. He won election to the Jamaican House of Representatives for the Central Kingston constituency in 1967.
After his father’s retirement in 1969, Manley was elected leader of the People’s National Party, defeating Vivian Blake. He then served as leader of the Opposition, until his party won in the general elections of 1972.
In the 1972 Jamaican general election, Manley defeated the unpopular incumbent Prime Minister, Hugh Shearer of the Jamaica Labour Party, as his People’s National Party swept to a landslide victory with 37 of 53 seats.
He instituted a series of socio-economic reforms that produced mixed results. Although he was a Jamaican from an elite family, Manley’s successful trade union background helped him to maintain a close relationship with the country’s poor majority, and he was a dynamic, popular leader. Unlike his father, who had a reputation for being formal and businesslike, the younger Manley moved easily among people of all strata and made Parliament accessible to the people by abolishing the requirement for men to wear jackets and ties to its sittings. In this regard he started a fashion revolution, often preferring the Kariba suit, a type of formal bush-jacket suit with trousers and worn without a shirt and tie.
Under Manley, Jamaica established a minimum wage for all workers, including domestic workers. In 1974, the PNP under Manley adopted a political philosophy of Democratic Socialism.
In 1974, Manley proposed free education from primary school to university. The introduction of universally free secondary education was a major step in removing the institutional barriers to private sector and preferred government jobs that required secondary diplomas. The PNP government in 1974 also formed the Jamaica Movement for the Advancement of Literacy (JAMAL), which administered adult education programs with the goal of involving 100,000 adults a year.
Land reform expanded under his administration. Historically, land tenure in Jamaica has been rather inequitable. Project Land Lease (introduced in 1973), attempted an integrated rural development approach, providing tens of thousands of small farmers with land, technical advice, inputs such as fertilizers, and access to credit. An estimated 14 percent of idle land was redistributed through this program, much of which had been abandoned during the post-war urban migration or purchased by large bauxite companies.
The minimum voting age was lowered to 18 years, while equal pay for women was introduced. Maternity leave was also introduced, while the government outlawed the stigma of illegitimacy. The Masters and Servants Act was abolished, and a Labour Relations and Industrial Disputes Act provided workers and their trade unions with enhanced rights. The National Housing Trust was established, providing “the means for most employed people to own their own homes,” and greatly stimulated housing construction, with more than 40,000 houses built between 1974 and 1980.
Subsidised meals, transportation and uniforms for schoolchildren from disadvantaged backgrounds were introduced, together with free education at primary, secondary, and tertiary levels. Special employment programmes were also launched, together with programmes designed to combat illiteracy. Increases in pensions and poor relief were carried out, along with a reform of local government taxation, an increase in youth training, an expansion of day care centres. and an upgrading of hospitals.
A worker’s participation programme was introduced, together with a new mental health law and the family court. Free health care for all Jamaicans was introduced, while health clinics and a paramedical system in rural areas were established. Various clinics were also set up to facilitate access to medical drugs. Spending on education was significantly increased, while the number of doctors and dentists in the country rose. Project Lend Lease, an agricultural programme designed to provide rural labourers and smallholders with more land through tenancy, was introduced, together with a National Youth Service Programme for high school graduates to teach in schools, vocational training, and the literacy programme, comprehensive rent and price controls, protection for workers against unfair dismissal, subsidies (in 1973) on basic food items, and the automatic recognition of unions in the workplace.
Manley was the first Jamaican prime minister to support Jamaican republicanism (the replacement of the constitutional monarchy with a republic). In 1975, his government established a commission into constitutional reform, which recommended that Jamaica become a republic. In July 1977, after a march to commemorate the Morant Bay Rebellion, Manley announced that Jamaica would become a republic by 1981. This did not occur, however.
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