Amy Jacques Garvey Community Centre hopes late publicist’s legacy will inspire youth
TO underscore the importance of changing the negative mindset of many vulnerable young people, especially women and girls, the Amy Jacques Garvey Community Centre will, on Saturday, host a birthday celebration honouring Jacques Garvey, the second wife of Jamaica’s first national hero and pan-Africanist Marcus Garvey.
Amy Jacques was born on December 31, 1895 and died on July 25, 1973 at the age of 77. Though her birthday falls on the 31st, the event will take place on the 30th.
This year is the second birthday celebration being held for Amy Jacques by the Amy Jacques Garvey Community Centre committee. The first was held in 2022.
Author and activist Alesia Greenidge will be guest speaker at this year’s event, which starts at 1:00 pm.
MojibaWilliams, president of the Amy Jacques Garvey Community Centre, which is located at 15B Jacques Road in Kingston, told the Jamaica Observer on Boxing Day that the birthday celebration will be one where attendees receive empowerment through lectures and performances highlighting the life of Amy Jacques Garvey.
“It won’t be a typical gathering. It is truly about Amy. The children are the ones who who are going to be doing performances, drumming and reciting some of her qoutations. She is worthy of this honour,” Williams said.
“I feel very honoured and privileged to be president of this prestigious journey particularly because of the children and the lessons I am learning and also the lessons we are imparting on the children who are so urgently in need of a new mindset. It is to highlight the significance of her life and what she stood for and what she did as a woman of colour,” Williams added.
According to Williams, continuing to celebrate the work and impact of Amy Jacques Garvey serves as a source of empowerment for young women especially, the ones who do not have positive role models.
“The celebration of her life will help them to feel better about themselves as a people because when you have positive role models and examples that [were] before you, it is a great inspiration. Even to be representing Amy Jacques Garvey’s legacy is big stuff for me and it helps with self-esteem and makes us realise we are powerful. These children who I am with every Saturday, ages four to 15, at that age I was oblivious about what I am now revealing and sharing with them about Amy Jacques Garvey and Marcus Garvey. They are elated to hear the stories of what these people did for them.”
Williams highlighted that Amy Jacques Garvey must not be seen as just the wife of Marcus Garvey, but as a powerful human being in her own right.
“She was the secretary of the Negro Factories Corporation and the manager of the Universal Negro Improvement Association. She was also Marcus’s personal secretary and was a great publicist. She stood up for gender equality, which is extremely important. We need to realise that women are just as competent to get things done, and men should trust us too to be able to do that.
“She was fearless. If it wasn’t for her the books, The Philosophy and Opinions of Marcus Garvey Volumes 1 and 2 would never have been published. Especially when he got arrested, she took charge and got his works out there. That’s when a lot people began to know the power of who Marcus Garvey is,” she said.
Marcus Garvey was the first international black pride leader, who advocated for equality, dignity and justice for black people across the world.
In the meantime, YouTube influencer and humanitarian Claude “Big Stone” Sinclair said on Tuesday that he thought that it would be good to start honouring Amy Jacques each December. He said he brought the idea to the members of the committee and they turned it into a reality in 2022.
“We love the attention being placed on Amy Jacques Garvey. She was the second wife of Marcus Garvey and was the person who caused The Philosophy and Opinions of Marcus Garvey. If it was not for her picking up bits and pieces of the work of Marcus Garvey, there would be no Philosophy and Opinions of Marcus Garvey. She was a pioneer for women, a black female journalist and publisher of the 20th century. She came from a community that from time to time is torn with violence. In continuing to honour her, we are reminding young women to be strong,” Sinclair said.
The Philosophy and Opinions of Marcus Garvey has a 4.7 out of 5 rating on Amazon.com. On goodreads.com, it had a 4.48 out of 5 rating up to Tuesday evening.
Amazon.com is reporting that the book was published in two volumes in 1923 and 1925 before quickly becoming a celebrated apologia for the leader of the largest pan-African mass movement of all time. It gives an excerpt from the preface, which reads: “As we approach the 1987 celebration of the centennial of Marcus Garvey’s birth, the time seems appropriate for the United States and Jamaican governments to declare null and void the legal proceedings that unjustly sent him to jail in both countries. Nor should a mere ‘pardon’ suffice, the presupposing as it does, the presence of guilt to begin with.”