Young people in St. Ann are being encouraged to make use of the Marcus Garvey Resource Centre in the parish to gain greater insight into the National Hero’s life and work.
The facility, housed at the Parish Library in St. Ann's Bay was officially opened on August 17, to commemorate the 125th anniversary of Garvey’s birth.
It is equipped with books written by the National Hero, the works of Garvey scholars, several memorabilia, and copies of the Negro World newspaper that Garvey founded and was its chief editor.
The project was made possible through the efforts of the Jamaica Library Service (JLS), St. Ann Homecoming Foundation, St. Ann Parish Council, CHASE Fund, Dr. Julius Garvey, who is the national hero’s son, the African American Cultural Alliance, the Marcus Garvey Foundation in Philadelphia, among others.
Director General at the JLS, Patricia Roberts, said that the objective of the centre is to preserve the heritage of Marcus Garvey, and to encourage the study and exploration of Garvey’s contribution to Jamaica and people of African descent across the Diaspora.
"It is to awaken and increase community understanding of the relevance of Garvey’s teaching in modern Jamaica, and to develop and additional avenue for heritage tourism,” she told JIS News.
She said the aim is not only to provide a space and resources on the life and work of Marcus Garvey, “but also to have his spirit alive in the walls to enrich the lives of all who walk through the doors of this centre."
Mrs. Roberts informed that there are plans to expand the offerings in time for next year’s celebration of the National Hero’s birth, noting that the creative work of second and third students of the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts will be added to the existing resources.
“Major landscaping of the grounds is also planned and some rehabilitative work has already been done to the Marcus Garvey statue by the Jamaica National Heritage Trust (JNHT), and flowers are being replanted by the St. Ann Development Company and other valued partners,” she told JIS News.
Mayor of St. Ann’s Bay, Councillor Desmond Gilmore, hailed the establishment of the facility, noting that it stands as a fitting tribute to the legacy of the country’s first National Hero and son of the parish.
“I am very happy about it," he said. "It provides the opportunity for students to come in and do their research on Marcus Garvey, and having access to more information will build the thought process of our young people. I want all of us in St. Ann to work for the preservation of this centre,” he added.
Custos of St. Ann, Hon. Radcliffe Walters, is encouraging young people in particular, to make use of the centre for research purposes, while reigning Jamaica and
St. Ann Festival Queen, Kemesha Kelly, noted that the establishment of the facility will increase awareness of the achievements of the National Hero, particularly his contribution to the “elevation of black people and their perception about themselves."
“It will give young people, and the wider community access to the work of Marcus Mosiah Garvey. I encourage all the citizens, who use the centre to be very careful with the material and take care of the material, so that someone else, the next generation can know about his work,” Miss Kelly said.
Marcus Garvey was born in St. Ann on August 17, 1887. A publisher, journalist, entrepreneur, and orator, he was a staunch proponent of the Black nationalism and Pan-Africanism movements. He founded the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League(UNIA-ACL), and his philosophy has influenced millions around the world.