JIS News

The third annual Marcus Garvey Fair, to honour the legacy of Jamaica’s first National Hero, was held recently at Liberty Hall in Resource, Manchester.
Events Co-ordinator Valerie Dixon, who has spearheaded the celebration over the past three years, told JIS News that the fair served as a means of “carrying on the legacy of a man, who laboured tirelessly to further the cause of a seriously marginalised class of people in the fight for equality and liberty”.
The event was also to honour Garvey’s visit to Resource, some 88 years ago, to thank the community members for their overwhelming support of his Black Starliner Enterprise, which was the first black business to be traded on a stock exchange.
“When Marcus Garvey saw the overwhelming support he got from this little neck of the woods, he made it his point of duty to journey all the way to Resource, to personally thank the community for their support. They were so impressed with Marcus Garvey that they donated this piece of land, and asked him to build a community centre. This, he did, and called all his community centres, Liberty Hall, which were really Universal Negro Improvement Association – African Communities League (UNIA/ACL) headquarters,” Mrs. Dixon informed.
At the function, seven Garveyites were honoured for the pivotal role they have played over the years in maintaining the National Hero’s legacy. They are: Reginald Cockett, David Byrd, Joyce Wright, William Shand, Elisa Johnson, Lucille Thompson and Charles Wright.
“We were very thankful and grateful for those elders. Some are more than 100 years-old, who have kept the memory and legacy of Marcus Garvey alive. I think some of them were very heartened to know that when they go, this tradition will continue, so they are very pleased about that. All these persons played an integral role in the staging of the Marcus Garvey Fair these past three years. They just refuse to let the legacy of Marcus Garvey die,” Mrs. Dixon stated.
The fair, organised by the Manchester Chamber of Commerce in collaboration with the UNIA and the Resource Citizens Association, also served to celebrate the Taino tradition in Resource.
The community is said to have been the second largest Taino settlement in the Canoe Valley, and is one of the places being targeted for the development of community tourism along the south coast.
“It’s interesting to note that this area was the second largest Taino settlement that we had in the Canoe Valley, so there is lots of history, lots of culture to be unearthed, and we just want the community to realise the richness that they have, and to rally around it for community tourism,” Mrs. Dixon stated.
Several exhibitions were staged on the day, showcasing the wealth of Marcus Garvey’s legacy, the Taino heritage and Jamaica’s cultural inheritance. Exhibitors included Kingston Liberty Hall; UNIA-ACL; Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA); National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA); Jamaica National Heritage Trust; and History Lecturer at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Dr. Sultana Afroz.

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