|Rt. Hon. Micheal Manley|
Michael Manley (Rt. Hon.): was Jamaica’s fourth Prime Minister. He served in the Royal Canadian Air Force during WW11, before enrolling in the London School of Economics in 1945. He eventually returned to Jamaica, where he got involved in the trade union movement. He entered politics in 1962, embracing ‘democratic socialism’.
Thanks to Manley, a minimum wage was established for all workers. He introduced free primary, secondary and tertiary level education. He was also responsible for introducing equal pay for women, maternity leave with pay, outlawing illegitimacy (every child born out of wedlock was officially a bastard on the lawbooks), a labour relations act which improved workers’ rights, establishing a national housing agency through which the ordinary man could own a home, and subsidies of meals and uniforms for poor children. The list extends much further than the space I’ve allowed myself. Manley’s championing the cause of the poor was the exception in his time as he was from a well-to-do family.
In 1992, Manley stepped down from his role as Prime Minister and leader of the PNP for health reasons. After he left politics, Manley was sought after internationally as a speaker. He was charismatic, which is evidenced by his popularity with the Jamaican people and the women. Manley was married five times. He was also a writer and is noted for the award-winning A History of West Indies Cricket. Among the awards he has received are Jamaica's Order of Merit (OM), Order of the Nation (ON), Order of the Caribbean Community (OCC), UN Gold Medal and the World Peace Council's Juliot Curie Peace Award. Manley died in March 1997.
|Morant Bay Court House/Statue of Paul Bogle|
Morant Bay: is significant because of the Morant Bay Rebellion in 1865. Morant Bay within the parish of St. Thomas on the eastern side of the island. Paul Bogle, a Jamaican Baptist deacon, led a group of citizens from Stony Gut to Morant Bay in protest over the prevailing conditions. Though the former slaves had earned the right to vote, they were excluded based on a ‘poll tax’. At the time, less than 2,000 black Jamaicans out of a total of over 400,000 could vote, even though the ration to whites was 32:1.
The rebellion started through the arrest of one person in the group who had gone to Morant Bay. Fellow protestors broke him out of prison and things turned sticky from there. Bogle was eventually accused of inciting the riot and a warrant issued for his arrest. He staged another protest march to Morant Bay, where the group was met with gunfire from ‘volunteer militia’ who panicked. Another riot ensued, which was suppressed, with nearly 500 people being killed by soldiers after the declaration of martial law. The riot in Morant Bay changed the course of Jamaica’s history. In response to the killings, the British government dissolved the House of Assembly, which meant that Jamaica reverted to Crown Colony government.
|Paul Bogle, National Hero|
The governor at the time dispatched troops to arrest Paul Bogle and quell the uprising. According to an account from one soldier, "we slaughtered all before us… man or woman or child". The soldiers killed more than 400 black Jamaicans and arrested approximately 350 who were eventually executed, in some instances without a proper trial. Paul Bogle was executed in front of the courthouse in Morant Bay. Others (more than 600 men and women) were whipped and/or given lengthy prison sentences. Another national hero, George William Gordon, who had dubious involvement in the riots was also tried and executed. Governor Eyre was eventually charged with murder due to the loss of British lives and his poor handling of the riots, but the cases came to naught. I found an interesting factoid on Wikipedia. Some English liberals agreed with the charges brought against, Eyre, but An opposing committee, which included such Tories and Tory socialists as Thomas Carlyle, Rev. Charles Kingsley, Charles Dickens, and John Ruskin, sprang up in Eyre's defence.
2011 Posting for ‘M’ in the A-ZChallenge.
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