JIS News

Story Highlights

  • The official unveiling of a bust of Jamaica’s first National Hero, the Rt. Excellent Marcus Mosiah Garvey, was held at the Brent Museum in Willesden Green Library, London, on August 17.
  • Addressing the ceremony, Acting High Commissioner to the United Kingdom (UK), Mrs. Angella Rose-Howell, said Marcus Garvey’s main goal was to improve the conditions of black people and all those who were oppressed.
  • “Marcus Garvey is an important part of the rich history of Jamaica and was the foremost Pan-Africanist of the 20th Century,” Mrs. Rose-Howell said.

The official unveiling of a bust of Jamaica’s first National Hero, the Rt. Excellent Marcus Mosiah Garvey, was held at the Brent Museum in Willesden Green Library, London, on August 17.

The bust will now be on permanent display in the museum.

Addressing the ceremony, Acting High Commissioner to the United Kingdom (UK), Mrs. Angella Rose-Howell, said Marcus Garvey’s main goal was to improve the conditions of black people and all those who were oppressed.

She pointed out that this year, Jamaica celebrates the 129th anniversary of Marcus Garvey’s birth, and the 102nd anniversary of Garvey’s establishment of the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA).

“The headquarters of the UNIA is still housed in Jamaica, on the same block on which the first meeting was held in 1914. It continues to promote the philosophy of Mr. Garvey, as well as support projects and programmes geared towards youth empowerment in the areas of education, health, agriculture, music and the arts,” Mrs. Rose-Howell said.

Mr. Garvey became a pioneer for equal rights in Jamaica, the United States and the United Kingdom in the decades between the two world wars. His ideas later served as motivation for civil rights leaders, such as Dr. Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, and for the Rastafarian movement in the island.

The Acting High Commissioner noted that Mr. Garvey was born at a time when the vast majority of Jamaicans were not eligible to vote, and did not have access to good jobs or a proper education.

Mr. Garvey experienced racism in Jamaica and throughout his travels to the Americas.

“Marcus Garvey is an important part of the rich history of Jamaica and was the foremost Pan-Africanist of the 20th Century,” Mrs. Rose-Howell said.

She expressed regret that Garvey did not live to see the implementation of many of the changes he advocated. She added, however, that his legacy will continue to be respected through activities such as the unveiling of the bust at the Brent Museum.

“Marcus Garvey is a world-renowned symbol of African unity, perseverance, racial pride, self-reliance and achievement. His legacy continues to be an inspiration to persons all around the world, including here in the UK,” the Acting High Commissioner said.

For her part, Member of Parliament, Dawn Butler, said the event was an important moment for the African-Caribbean community in Brent and beyond.

“To reveal the bust on his 129th birthday here in Brent Central, where we have the highest number of British Jamaicans outside of Jamaica is certainly a joyous and momentous occasion. I am so proud to be a part of this celebration. The contribution made by Jamaicans is often overlooked in the history books, but the bust will serve as a fitting reminder, as we celebrate and educate each and every year,” she added.

Other speakers at the function included Political and Economic Minister at  the High Commission of Ghana, Mr. Peter Taylor; several local Councillors of the Borough of Brent and former University of the West Indies lecturer, Professor Cecil Gutzmore. The event also featured a presentation on Garvey’s life by local historian Kwaku.

The event was organised by the Friends of Marcus Garvey Bust, in collaboration with the Brent Museum and the Willesden Green Library.