Teenage

Liberty Hall

Devaro Bolton

Tuesday, May 22, 2012    

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FOR Jamaica and the world at large, the name Marcus Garvey is one of the most revered men in the 20th century, especially when it comes to black empowerment.

In 1914, he formed the United Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) and in 1923, the organisation acquired the property at 76 King Street. From then on, this would be the centre for the Kingston division and the property would be more commonly referred to as Liberty Hall.

It was a known fact that Garvey was an admirer of the Irish independence movement and the headquarters of the Irish Transport and General Workers Union in Dublin was dubbed Liberty Hall in 1912, thus because of the similarities of the movement the name was adopted.

In an effort to spread the message and grow as a group, UNIA supporters were encouraged to establish Liberty Halls in their respective spaces, additionally for the purpose of providing a spiritual haven.

Economic difficulties forced the sale of the property during the 1930s, however, in 1987; the Jamaican government purchased the property and on October 20, 2003, reopened it to the public. The property now hosts the Garvey Multimedia Museum, the Garvey Research Reference Library, the Garvey Great Hall and the Garvey Multimedia Computer Centre.

As a result of its history and significance, Liberty Hall was declared a national monument by the Jamaica National Heritage Trust in 1992. It is currently being managed by the Institute of Jamaica.

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