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Jamaican Culture

Jamaica

Published Mar 21, 2004

BUSINESSMEN AND ENTREPRENEURS

LINDO, Cecil Vernon - Philanthropist, Banker, Planter, Industrialist; Born Falmouth, Trelawny, 1868. Educated public schools and private tuition; went to Costa Rica 1889 and joined brothers with Minor Keith, engaged in construction railroad from Port Limon to San Jose 1889-90; storekeeper 1891-93; purchased large acreage and entered banana business; banking 1899; organized Lindo Brothers (owners vast sugar, coffee and cocoa estates, lumber and flour mills, breweries, ice-making and aerated factories, general merchants, importers and exporters between 1892-1912). [Source: Who’s Who Jamaica 1941-1946]

THYNE, William Murdoch - Chief Engineer and Member of Water Commission, Kingston and St. Andrew; born Arbroath, Scotland, August 20, 1878; Educated Kilmarnock Academy; pupil Water Works and Drainage J. Montgomerie-Pearson, Kilmarnock 1894-1898; designed and carried out many large reservoir projects, among them the raising of the Labugama Dam, thereby increasing the storage capacity of the reservoir to 3,000 million galls, also filtration works for Colombo, having a capacity of 15 million gallons per day, and over 50 miles of 30 inch diameter delivery mains to the service reservoirs supplying the city, which had a population of 300,000. [Source: Who’s Who Jamaica 1941-1946]

ZAYNE, Habeeb Najeeb - Tobacco Planter and Manufacture; sole proprietor of Zayne Tobacco Products. Born Mount Lebanon, Syria, December 22, 1900. Educated Marjhune School 1907-1917; came to Jamaica and served on staff of R. Mahfood & Bros., Lindstead, 1920-24; traded on own account (dry goods) 1924-28; general and transport contractor, 1928-34; visited Syria 1935; experimented and succeeded in the culture of Virginia tobacco in Jamaica 1936-37. [Source: Who’s Who Jamaica 1941-1946]

MILITARY AND LAW ENFORCEMENT

A monument has been erected in 1933 in Sierra Leone in memory of the West Indian soldiers killed over the years throughout West Africa from Gambia to the Niger. Nine Jamaican names are inscribed. They are Privates C. Carter, C. Grant, W. Marston, J. Pickron, S. Skinner, S. Small, M. White and J. Wilkinson and Drummer, J. Bourne. [Source: The Empty Sleeve]

BAILEY, Simeon Augustus - Sub-Inspector of Police (second Negro in seniority to be appointed from the ranks); born Claremont, St. Ann, February 18, 1988; Educated St. Ann's Bay Church School 1895-1900, and by private tuition; joined Jamaica Constabulary February 16, 1908; police-clerk Passport and Permit Office 1910-17; took leading part in quelling Chinese riot, St. Catherine 1908; labour disturbance, Port Antonio 1923, and Islington labour uprising, St. Mary 1938; Acting Corporal 1912, Corporal 1914, Sergeant 1917, Sgt. Major 1922; Staff Sgt. Major 1940-43. [Source: Who’s Who Jamaica 1941-1946]

STEWART, Joseph Emanuel - born Kingston October 23, 1889; Educated Army School, Up Park Camp, St. Andrew. Chief Traffic Inspector Nigerian Government Railway, British West Africa, 1942-46; World War II, 1924-44; awarded King George V Jubilee Medal 1935 and Certificate of Honour, Nigerian Civil Service, 1941. [Source: Who’s Who Jamaica 1941-1946]

STEWART, Eldon Leigh - Musician; Sergeant Major Jamaica Military Band 1941 and leader Caribbean Orchestra; born Boaz Island, Bermuda, November 2, 1902; Educated Franklin Town Elementary School; joined West India Regiment Band 1917; Scholarship Royal Military School of Music, Kneller Hall, London, 1921-24; English tour with Regiment Wembley Exhibition 1924; appointed Band Leader/Corporal 1924; promoted Band Sergeant, September 1926; acting Band Master, Jamaica Military Band, 1927; held Diploma of the Royal Military School of Music and the Efficiency Medal of Jamaica Local Forces. [Source: Who’s Who Jamaica 1941-1946]

STILLINGELEET, Lt.-Col. Reginald - Commander Royal Engineers Jamaica; Born Yorkshire; educated public schools; Cambridge University and Royal Military Academy Woolwich; saw active service, World War I, with Sappers and Miners, Bangalor, India, 1917-18; Mesopotamia, 1918-21; Northwestern frontier, Waziristan; [Source: Who’s Who Jamaica 1941-1946]

POLITICS AND ACTIVISM

ALLWOOD, Violet Margaret - Social Worker, Director, Jamaica Family Planning League, and one of the original organizers of the Birth Control Movement in Jamaica (1938); Born Kingston, January 2, 1886; educated Duke Street Covenant School; Queen's College London 1900-1903; and in Paris 1904-1906; [Source: Who’s Who Jamaica 1941-1946]

BAILEY, Amy Beckford - Educator, Social Worker and Politician; Founder Hostel & Housecraft Training Centre, 1945; born Walderston, Manchester; Educated Mount Olivet Elementary School; Shortwood Training College, 1915-1917; was the first and only woman member of the Jamaica Union of Teachers for many years; one of the foremost local exponents of Women's rights; visited England 1938 on Mission for Save the Children Fund and interviewed the Right Honourable Malcolm McDonald, M.P., Secretary of State for the Colonies along with Dr. Harold Moody, Jamaican, founder of the League of Coloured Peoples; lectured at the Peace Conference, Glasgow, and Oxford Group Conference Interlaken, Switzerland. [Source: Who’s Who Jamaica 1941-1946]

BROWN, Sir Henry Isaac Close - Kt. Bach. (1935), K.C. (1912), J.P. (1915), B.A., Barrister-at-Law; Puisne Judge of the Supreme Court of Judicature of Jamaica, 1919-34; First Jamaican to hold the substantive appointment of a Supreme Court Judge, in the Colony; described by Sir Arthur Richards, Governor of Jamaica 1938-43, as "the most distinguished of living Jamaicans," the Attorney General, "a Jamaican than whom there is no greater, an able lawyer, most able Jurist, a Jamaican whom every Jamaican should like to emulate". Born Montego Bay, St. James, November 28, 1874. [Source: Who’s Who Jamaica 1941-1946]

COLLINS, Iris Rhudella - Businesswoman, Cultivator and Politician; First woman to be elected to the Honourable House of Representatives for North Western St. James; First spinster to contest an election in Jamaica and enter politics in the County of Cornwall; Born Cambridge, St. James, January 31, 1915; Educated elementary and Westwood High Schools, 1921-1929; Business College, Kingston, 1930-32; [Source: Who’s Who Jamaica 1941-1946]

DOMINGO, Wilfred Adolphus - Lecturer, Journalist and Politician; Editor, "The People's Voice"; Born Kingston, Jamaica; educated Calabar Elementary School; Kingston Board School; Private studies - Boston and New York, U.S.A; Pioneer, and later large importer of minor West Indian (fruits and vegetables) products, 1912-1944; was contributor-editor, "The Messenger" Magazine; first editor Marcus Garvey's "The Negro World", 1918-1919; Publisher-Editor, "The Emancipator"; lectured for the Socialist Party (U.S.A.) also on general topics under independent and non-political auspices; wrote chapter in Alain Locke's book, "The Negro"; favourably mentioned in eight books published in the United States; co-organizer, Jamaica Progressive League (New York) 1936; maintained interest in Jamaica continuously since 1920 and advocated Universal suffrage for the island, 1918; agitated in the U.S.A. and Jamaica, for civil service reforms in and self-government for the colony, visiting Jamaica 1938 and 1939 in this effort; organized West Indian National Council (after France collapsed) 1940; drafted "Declaration of Rights of West Indian Peoples to Self Determination and Self Government" presented to Havana Conference, July 1940; returned to Jamaica June 1941 on invitation of Norman Washington Manley; Publications: "Private Property a Pillar of Prejudice", "What are we - Negroes or Coloured People?", "Capitalism, the Mother of Colonial-Socialism", several essays and special articles to European, American and West Indian newspapers and periodicals. [Source: Who’s Who Jamaica 1941-1946]

JOURNALISM

deCORDOVA, Michael - Journalist, born Kingston, Jamaica; son of Gabriel deCordova (a former owner of the Daily Gleaner); Educated York Castle High School; Chairman (1939) Jamaica Bombing Plane Fund Committee, which raised approximately 75,000 (Pounds Sterling); (Jamaica was the first colony to give planes to Great Britain; this idea subsequently raised over 20,000,000 (Pounds Sterling) within the British Empire; Chairman, West Indian Delegation of Journalists to Great Britain 1942; was one of four organizers of Jamaica War Contingent Movement, 1914-1918, and a member, Central Recruiting Committee, World War I. [Source: Who’s Who Jamaica 1941-1946]

ARTISTS

ALLEN, Errol - born August 18, 1960, in Granville, St.James. His favourite medium is water colours although he also does pastels, oils and acrylics. His paintings have been sold to the USA, Canada, England, Germany and Australia.

Link: http://www.galleryofwestindianart.com/jamaicanroomone.htm


ARTWELL, Albert - born October 23, 1942, in Catadupa, Jamaica. His work is marked by a clear, concise imagery in fresh, flatly painted colours. Artwell's work has been exhibited all over the world, including the 1979 World Naive Exhibition at Hamiltons, London; the 1983 Smithsonian Institute's Travelling Exhibition; in 1984 at the Waggoner Gallery in Chicago; in 1985 at the Suti Gallery in Switzerland.

Link: http://www.galleryofwestindianart.com/jamaicanroomthree.htm

COKE, Laurie Adolphe McBean Beresford - Educator, Agriculturalist, Artist, Musician; born Santa Cruz, May 2, 1896; Educated private and elementary schools 1903-1914; Mico Training College 1915-1, graduate with distinctions in music,d rawing and art especially; his parents having died 1910 and 1911 respectively, he became breadwinner of the family of seven; as artist and musician, he was presented to Governors Stubbs, Denham and Richards in honour of the addresses presented to them which were illuminated by him; about 850 paintings and illuminations done by him over many years; publications include contributions to "Cosmopolitan" Magazine and J.A.S. Journal. [Source: Who’s Who Jamaica 1941-1946]

de HAROOTIAN, KOREN - an Armenian painter and sculptor who resided in the island in the years preceding the Second World War, awakened the sleeping art circles of Kingston by an exhibition of murals, drawings, and modern sculpture a year or two before the first show of Edna Manley.

Link: http://www.panmedia.com.jm/art/articles/BlackisColour.htm

FISHER, Nelton - born on May 28, 1965, in Albert Town, Trelawny. He is totally self-taught. One of his paintings was presented to the ex-Prime Minister of Jamaica, the Hon. Hugh Shearer. He is in many prestigious art collections, including that of a former mayor of Palm Springs.

Link: http://www.galleryofwestindianart.com/jamaicanroomtwo.htm

MESSAM, Milton - born November 1,1944, in Montego Bay. He works mainly in oil with palette knife and does exquisite water colours. His work is much in demand and forms part of many private collections throughout the world.

Link: http://www.galleryofwestindianart.com/jamaicanroomfour.htm

MUSIC

CLASSICAL AND PERFORMANCE MUSIC

CLERK, Astley - did much to encourage orchestral music in Kingston. Having worked at Louis Winkler's music shop and publishing house, he later built up his own enterprise in sheet music, instrument sales and in music publishing at Cowen's Music Rooms. He himself had written songs. He published the songs and waltzes of the local composers such as P. Anderson Cover and Kenneth McCormack. Astley Clerk too a great deal of interest in Jamaican folk music. In 1913 he gave an illustrated talk to the Wesley Guild at Edmondson Hall on the subject of the origins of Jamaica folk music from Arawak times. He wrote down in musical notation, the cries of the street vendors of that time and these were sung by Granville Campell, the Jamaican tenor from Spanish Town. Astley Clerk used to invite students to practice at the store on Saturday afternoons. He organized concerts known as Variants in his music rooms on Christmas mornings. [Source: The Arts of an Island]

DeMONTAGNAC, Madame Noele - in 1929 Madame Noele DeMontagnac and her husband organized the first orchestra and musical organization in the island to last over a period of years, known as the Jamaica Symphony Orchestra.The first rehearsals were held on Sunday afternoons at the Kingston Technical School. Madame DeMontagnac and her husband used their car to taxi members of the orchestra to these rehearsals in order to ensure that they were on time. The first performance of this orchestra consisted of music by Gluck, Elgar and Rimsky-Korsakoff. [Source: The Arts of an Island]

GOODE, George Davis - Born in Port Royal, he studied the organ with Charles Goldson, who travelled across Kingston Harbor to teach him because there was no road to Port Royal at that time. Later, Goode used to go by boat to Kingston to take lessons from Mr. Herbert Dadd on the organ of St. Georges Church. In 1910, at the age of 15, he became the organist of St. Michael's Church, a position in which he served until his death in 1960.

Goode's first effort was the formation of a small group known as the Kingston Glee Singers, founded after hearing The Westminster Glee and Concert party which gave a concert at the Ward Theatre in 1906. Goode was so impressed by their singing, that he formed a local group to do similar work. The performances of the Kingston Glee Singers brought to the public of Jamaica a concept of the choral style in early church music, madrigals and Christmas carols. Also included in the repertoire of this group were spirituals from the Southern American States, National airs and folk songs of England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales, and even Japan. However, there was not one folk song of Jamaica in their repertoire. the first public concert of the Kingston Glee singers was held in 1912 at the Collegiate Hall, Kingston. This choral group continued to exist over the years, with the numbers of performers varying from 15 to 18 persons. In all, 58 people sang with this choir in the 25 years of its existence.

In 1913, Mr. Goode formed a choir of 100 voices in order to perform some of the choral works of Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, the black English composer, who had died the year before. The programme included instrumental pieces by the same composer performed on the violin and piano by local artists and by a 30-piece orchestra. This concert, entitled the Coleridge-Taylor Commemoration Festival, which was in aid of the building of a hall for St. Michaels Church. [Source: The Arts of an Island]

JACKSON, Ellis - Assembled the first local choral group of concert standard, the Jamaica Choir. This choir had been assembled for the Jamaica Exhibition in 1891, and subsequently toured England. [Source: The Arts of an Island]

LAWSON, Hazel Olivine - born Colon, May 20, 1922. Educated Wolmer's High School; awarded scholarship by the Associated Board 1940 tenable in London; awarded seven silver and gold medals Festivals of 1935 and 1937; Gold Medallist (advanced grade), highest marks West Indies 1937; official accompanist Music Festival 1939; Recitals - Barranquilla, Panama, 1944-45; [Source: Who’s Who Jamaica 1941-1946]

RUSSELL, Oswald - Of all the Jamaican concert pianists Oswald Russell has had the greatest opportunity of international study and performance. He is a brilliant pianist; he has studied and performed in London, Vienna, and in New York, where he was a student at the Juilliard School of Music, and where he was able to meet Leonard Bernstein and other modern American composers. During his visits to Jamaica he composed for dance groups. He has directed such distinguished choreographers as Martha Graham, Agnes DeMille and George Balanchine.

ACTING

CAMPBELL, Michael Arthur (Mike) - Accountant and Amateur Actor; Born Kingston, Jamaica. Educated Calabar High School; made his first public appearance at age 10; acclaimed one of the most entertaining as well as the most versatile of Jamaican actors; had played diverse characterizations as the "Widow Murphy" and "Monsier Balone" in Little Theatre Movement Pantomimes; "Bottom" in "A Midsummer Night's Dream", the Doctor in "The Man Who Came to Dinner", the richly humorous part of "Doctor Haggett" in "The Late Christopher Bean" and several outstanding female impersonations, etc.; saw Active War Service, U.S. Army, 1944-46. [Source: Who’s Who Jamaica 1941-1946]

ALPHONSE, Ephraim Simeon - see Religion.

SPORTS

BURTON, Charles Horatio - Sportsman, Mercantile Clerk and "Jamaica’s Grand Old Man of Cricket, Born in Kingston, January 20, 1868, Charles H. Burton was an outstanding cricketer for many years; first won the batting averages for Kensington 1893; and five times in all performing the "Hat Trick" 1897-99; represented Jamaica vs. R. Slade-Lucas, first English team to visit the B.W.I., 1895, and in the last match, made top score of 47, and with J. W. Tone, (13 wickets for 80 runs), helped the colony to win her first match against an English side; was acknowledged as the greatest living authority in Jamaica. [Source: Who’s Who Jamaica 1941-1946]

CAMPBELL, Selvin ("His Satanic Majesty Lefty Flynn") Pugilist, since 1927; Welter Weight Champion of Jamaica since 1936. Born British Honduras, March 17, 1913; Educated North Street Congregational School, Kingston, 1910-1917; workingman, 1917-1927; successful semi-Professional Boxer, Jamaica, 1928-1936; Professional Pugilist, Great Britain, 1936-1945; won boxing contests, being (1945) Ernie Roderick, Welter weight Champion of Great Britain; (1945) Tommy Davies, Middle Weight Champion of Wales; (1944) Ranny James, Light Weight Champion of Wales; (1942) Paddy Roach, Welter Weight Champion of Ireland; (1943) Jack Killery, Scottish Welter Weight; served Merchant Marine, 1940-1945, World War II. [Source: Who’s Who Jamaica 1941-1946]

HEADLEY, George Alphonso - famous West Indian Cricketer; Born Panama, May 30, 1909 (of Jamaican parentage); Educated Calabar Elementary School and St. John's College; played for St. Catherine Cricket Club 1924; first played for Jamaica 1928, scored 211 in his second match; since then he represented the colony against all visiting English teams (but for 1938 when he was in England), the West Indies on tours to England 1933 and 1939, to Australia 1930-31, and captained Jamaica in Trial Matches in Trinidad 1939; had in his first-class career aggregated 8,848 runs, including 2,320 in 1933 and 1,745 (his average of 72.70 winning the All England averages) in 1939 in England, 1,066 in Australia; has hit 32 centuries, including 8 doubles with the West Indian record score of 344 not out vs. Lord Tennyson's Team 1932, 114 and 112 vs. England at Georgetown 1929-30 and 107 and 106 vs. England at Lord's (a Test Match record) 1939, 270 not out (a West Indian record) vs. England at Kingston 1935, 102 not out and 105 vs. Australia in Test Matches. 176 in his first Test Match at Bridgetown 1929-30; his average of 70.76 is second only to Don Bradman's in the history of first-class cricket; returned home in 1939 as a result of the War to play Senior Cup Cricket regularly since 1932; let the club to championship 1940-41; in 1942 and 1944, headed both batting and bowling averages in Senior Cup Competition. [Source: Who’s Who Jamaica 1941-1946]

HEMMINGS, DEON - holds the distinction of being Jamaica's first female Olympic champion. In the Olympic Games at Atlanta in 1996, Hemmings broke two Olympic records in the 400 metres hurdles. In the semi-finals she ran 52.99 seconds to become the first woman in Olympic history to break the 53-second barrier in the event.

Link: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/athletics/events/1997/wca/bios/hemmings.html


LEAHONG, Donald Arthur Thomas - Lawyer and Sportsman; Born Kingston, Jamaica, 1912; Educated Wolmer's Boy's School; Tennis Champion of Jamaica 1930-39; Olympic Tennis Champion, Central America and Caribbean Games, Panama 1938; Admitted to practice as a solicitor of the Supreme Court of Judicature Jamaica, August 12, 1936. [Source: Who’s Who Jamaica 1941-1946]

WINT, Arthur - born May 25, 1920. An avid sportsman, he achieved two gold and two silver medals in the following Olympic events.

  • 400 m - gold 1948, fifth 1952 (76 HP)
  • 800 m - silver 1948, 1952 (80 HP)
  • 4 x 400 m - gold 1952 (16 HP)

He joined the Royal Air Force during the war and stayed on in England to study medicine at the University of London. He disrupted his medical career to serve as Jamaica's High Commissioner to Great Britain from 1974 to 1978.


RELIGION

ALPHONSE, Ephraim Simeon - Minister of Religion and Playwright; Born Carenero, Bocas del Toro, Republic of Panama, circa 1896. Educated Bocas del Toro Spanish School 1903-1920; Calabar Theological College, Kingston, 1924-26; reduced Valiente Indian Language to writing; wrote first grammar and vocabulary in Hindustani, Spanish and English; also translated four Gospels in Valiente Tongue and became Translator of Scripture for the American Bible Society, 1928 and 1929; comoposed and compiled hymbook and cathechism; also wrote and staged the following plays in Jamaica, "Youth-time and Eternity" and "The Gospel Ship"; was the author of "Among Valientes" and "The Pageant of the 4th Force"; travelled to Costa Rica, France, and to England, 1938, where he gave missionary addresses on the Valiente Indians. [Source: Who’s Who Jamaica 1941-1946]

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