The Kingston and St. Andrew Corporation (KSAC), presented the Keys to the City of Kingston to Jamaica's first National Hero, the Right Excellent Marcus Garvey, posthumously, on Friday August 17.
Dr. Julius Garvey, son of the National Hero, accepted the Keys during a civic ceremony to mark the 125th anniversary of his father’s birth, at Emancipation Park.
In her remarks, Mayor of Kingston, Councillor Angela Brown-Burke, said the KSAC was deeply honoured to be counted among those who were “conscious of the work and worth of this great Jamaican who today would have celebrated 125 years of his birth."
"On Tuesday (Aug. 14) we joined the St. Ann Parish Council in declaring August 17 as Marcus Garvey Day to be celebrated each year by remembering the lessons of black pride, of self reliance, self discovery, of discipline, of taking responsibility of our own lives, of preserving our history and our culture, all lessons preached by Mr. Garvey and reflected in the way he lived his life,” Mayor Brown-Burke said.
The Mayor also expressed pleasure at the Government of Jamaica’s declaration of August 17 as Marcus Garvey Day. She was making reference to a Proclamation by Governor General Sir Patrick Allen declaring August 17 as Marcus Day during a wreath laying ceremony held earlier on Friday (Aug. 17), at the National Heroes Park in Kingston.
"So not only will be celebrating it in Kingston and St. Ann, but from henceforth we will be celebrating it throughout Jamaica. We are also pleased that the Government will be including the works of our first National Hero in the newly designed civics curriculum to be introduced in our schools,” Mrs. Brown-Burke said.
The Mayor further noted that it was fitting that in “our jubilee year we turn our thoughts to an individual that has inspired men and women of African descent across the globe."
"We ask you to commit to joining us each year as we find different ways to celebrate his life and his work as we rekindle that pride in being sons and daughters of Africa with a proud and rich legacy and an even brighter future,” Mrs. Brown-Burke said.
For his part, Dr. Julius Garvey stated his pleasure in collecting the Keys to the City of Kingston on behalf of his family and his father, Marcus Garvey.
"Garveyism will be infiltrating Jamaica and I think that it is something very positive for Jamaica and for Jamaican youth because you give youngsters a sense of identity, a sense of whom they are, what their potential is and how they can contribute positively to the Jamaican society,” Dr. Garvey said.
He also thanked the Rastafarian Movement for keeping the name and the knowledge of Mr. Garvey alive in Jamaica.
"I am so very happy to be here to share this moment of recognition with you and I think that this recognition and what is coming out of it, in terms of the educational process that will take place all across the country, will be a great benefit to Jamaicans especially the youth of Jamaica who lack an identity and therefore pursue negative things,” Dr. Garvey stated.
Dr. Garvey was also presented with a citation by Town Clerk of the KSAC, Mr. Errol Greene and the Mayor of Kingston, Councillor Angela Brown-Burke.
Three Jamaicans, Mr. Frank Gordon, Miss Beverly Hamilton and Mr. Horace Matthews received medals from Mayor Brown-Burke, for their role in the promotion and teaching of Garveyism.
Born in St Ann, Mr. Garvey was a political leader, publisher, journalist and entrepreneur. He was a passionate believer in black repatriation to Africa. His work has inspired groups, such as the Nation of Islam and Rastafari and influenced artistes, including Burning Spear, Culture and Bob Marley. Mr. Garvey died in England on June 10, 1940. He was 52.