JIS News

On Tuesday, October 14, the grounds of Nazareth All-age School, situated in the historic 163-year-old “free village” of Maidstone in Manchester will be the venue for a special ceremony to honour the “ancestral spirit” of pioneer ex-slave settlersLocal Historian, Hugh Nash told JIS News that the activity would begin at 10:00 a.m., under the theme, ‘Embracing Our Heritage – Out of Many, One People’.
“The official ceremony will consist of an opening sequence, unfurling of the flag, the reading of various citations to the ancestors of Manchester and their free villages, reading of a special citation by Nazareth school to the ancestors of Maidstone, presentation of souvenir certificates to participating schools, comments and acknowledgments and the unveiling of a memorial board,” he said.
Mr. Nash pointed out that this was the first ceremony of its kind to be held in Jamaica. “We will be having schools participating from ten known original free villages of Manchester and these will include Fairfield Primary, founded in 1826; Bethany All-age, founded in 1836; Porus Primary, Bethabara Primary and Junior High established in 1842; Christiana Moravian Primary, which was founded as Beulah in 1850; Mizpah All-age, established in 1866 and Somerset All-age,” he said.
The Historian explained that all the schools mentioned, except Porus and Somerset, began as “day schools” and later became “elementary schools”. In recent times, he said they achieved the status of all-age, primary and junior high school.
“Immediately following the ceremony a historic walking tour will take place (and) this will last for an hour and will feature visits to Maidstone’s historic house with its exhibits of artefacts, a look at the local church and viewing of the cemetery,” he said.
Mr. Nash informed that the overall aim of the day of activity was to bring together, for the first time, representatives of schools in the known “free villages” of Manchester, in celebration of their common heritage.
“We wish to make this an annual celebration and each year will have a different emphasis and theme,” he added.Manchester was established in 1814 with a population of 16,000. Of this number 14,000 were slaves.

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