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  • Jamaicans are being encouraged to visit the Miss Lou Archives at the National Library of Jamaica (NLJ) to learn more about the life and work of late cultural icon, Dr. the Hon. Louise Bennett Coverley.
  • The archives, formally launched in 2016, largely comprise materials collected during Miss Lou’s’ early life in Jamaica, which were donated to the NLJ by the Louise Bennett-Coverley Estate.
  • Included are correspondence, legal and financial documents, writing and performance, published and printed material, personal and professional documents, academic and other collected papers, artefacts, photographs audiovisual materials and more.

Jamaicans are being encouraged to visit the Miss Lou Archives at the National Library of Jamaica (NLJ) to learn more about the life and work of late cultural icon, Dr. the Hon. Louise Bennett Coverley.

The archives, formally launched in 2016, largely comprise materials collected during Miss Lou’s’ early life in Jamaica, which were donated to the NLJ by the Louise Bennett-Coverley Estate.

Included are correspondence, legal and financial documents, writing and performance, published and printed material, personal and professional documents, academic and other collected papers, artefacts, photographs audiovisual materials and more.

The NLA, on Thursday (September 12), opened the collection of records at its downtown Kingston headquarters, as part of activities to mark the 100th anniversary of Miss Lou’s birth.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Denzil Thorpe, who brought greetings at the event, dubbed, ‘Unlocking the Miss Lou Archives,’ urged Jamaicans at home and abroad to join in the celebration.

“From time to time in the history of a nation, there emerges someone on the national scene who embodies the psyche of its people, who is capable of distilling, interpreting and expressing its collective wisdom, its hope and aspirations.

“In Jamaica land we love, Miss Lou was that person; Miss Lou is that person. She was born with a mission to make an impact and 100 years later, she cannot be forgotten and is etched in the grains of the Jamaica soil forever,” he said.

The Permanent Secretary noted that while Miss Lou’s influence continues to be felt in the country of her birth, she made a significant impression during her time in Canada, where she lived during her later years.

“This linkage she created between Jamaica and Canada is forever cherished and, even now, Canadians love her as much as we do,” he noted.

Mr. Thorpe commended the NLJ for its stewardship of the national collection by acquiring important materials from notable Jamaicans to be enjoyed by generations to come.

The ceremony also featured a special presentation by media personality and actress Dahlia Harris, titled, ‘Miss Lou’s Views – A Model for Communication Development’.

Items donated by the Louise Bennet Coverley Estate are also being showcased concurrently at the McMaster University Library in Canada during the period of celebration.

The collection is largely composed of materials compiled over Miss Lou’s life in Canada where she lived for the last decade of her life until her death July 26, 2006.

Louise Bennett-Coverley was born on September 7, 1919. She was a Jamaican poet, folklorist, performer, writer, educator and activist.

Known for writing and performing her poems, folk songs and stories in Jamaican patois, Miss Lou is regarded by many as the “mother of Jamaican culture”.

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