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The Kingston and St Andrew Corporation (KSAC) on Tuesday (May 8) launched the second edition of the City of Kingston souvenir book, which is authored by Opposition Senator, Anthony Johnson.
The 130-page publication titled ‘City of Kingston Souvenir 1802-2006: Facing the 21st Century’, looks at the growth and expansion of business and residential districts; the contribution of sports, particularly cricket, to national life; and the impact of the city’s musical heritage on the entertainment industry.
Governor-General, His Excellency, the Most Hon. Professor Kenneth Hall, who gave the main address at the launch held at the Bank of Jamaica Auditorium downtown Kingston, lauded the book as “an exquisite history of our past.”
Observing that “every major event in the history of the city is recorded in the book,” he noted that Senator Johnson has sought to “place that history within the context of the 21st Century.”
“It is an exquisite history of our past and of Kingston but it stands clearly in the present with all of the challenges faced by Kingston now, and yet he is saying that there is a future for the city. a bright future,” the Governor-General noted.
Mayor of Kingston and St. Andrew, Councillor Desmond McKenzie, meanwhile, called for the book to be integrated into the school curriculum to instill national pride among the nation’s youth.
“We need to ensure that the book becomes a part of the curriculum as early as the basic school level. This will enable us to instill a level of pride in our young people at a very young age. Too many students are leaving our primary and secondary schools with very little knowledge about our history and culture,” he said.
He further appealed to the Ministry of Education and Youth “to ensure that teaching about our culture and our institutions are restored to the prominence they once held in our school system.”
“Let us seek to .promote the positive side of our city and country so they (young people) will not have to look abroad for heroes and role models,” he urged. Senator Johnson, in his overview, invited Jamaicans to not just read about the things of beauty in the city, such as the vast collection of artifacts that have been documented, but to discover it for themselves.
Some of the treasures mentioned in this edition are artwork depicting a black Jesus and a black Madonna that can be found at the Kingston Parish Church.
Another best kept secret not included in this edition, but still considered a “jewel of the city” is Edna Manley’s first public commissioned work, a mahogany sculpture that can be found at the All Saints Anglican Church on West Street, downtown Kingston.
Senator Johnson said that in the book, he also attempted to put infamous preacher, Alexander Bedward, whom he describes as a prophet, “in his proper perspective”.
The souvenir book, which has become the KSAC’s official guide to Kingston, also posits eight major developments which, according to Johnson, will determine the extent to which the city will successfully thrive in the 21st Century.
The book has 11 chapters and is available at a cost of $2,000.00.