Two developments since the Aug. 17 celebration of the 128th anniversary birth date of Marcus Mosiah Garvey are worthy of note.
Reportedly, the home of Jamaica’s first national hero will be refurbished and transformed into a heritage site.
Since 1992, the house in which the Pan-African advocate grew up in St Ann’s Bay, St Ann, has been regarded a protected site on the island however, the government was determined to preserving the legacy and recently named it a cultural heritage site.
“We want to create an environment where Jamaicans at home and abroad can visit and pay tribute to a man who left a great legacy,” Lisa Hanna, minister of culture in Jamaica said in announcing the decision.
“It was he who said that ‘a people without knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.”
Garvey also spoke of Africans at home and abroad as one mighty race.
In making the announcement during his birth month, Hanna added: “Let us continue to embrace our rich cultural heritage and pass on the memories and traditions to the next generation.”
Another celebratory activity during the month involved Dr. Julius Garvey, the second son of the national hero.
In commemoration of his father’s significant birth date, Dr. Garvey donated 128 breadfruit trees to be planted in honor of the hero. The gesture is significant because the national treasure advocated the principle of self-reliance for people of African descent.
Due to the fact his father’s 128th also marked the 120th anniversary of Jamaica Agricultural Society, he donated a variety of 500 fast-bearing breadfruit trees.
“This is going to be in recognition of Garvey’s emphasis on agriculture and his contribution to the promotion of farming in Jamaica, and in tribute to this new collaboration with his son, Julius Garvey,” Norman Grant, president of the JAS said.
The agricultural specialist explained that the gift followed a first-time meeting he had with Dr. Garvey during a conference on the breadfruit at the St. Augustine Campus of the University of the West Indies in Trinidad and Tobago.
At that time, Dr. Garvey desired of distributing the new variety of fast-yielding trees to a number of countries.
The nutritional value of the breadfruit is well documented.
It can be used as a versatile base for many dishes and is a rich source of fiber providing vitamin C and potassium.
Reportedly, Dr. Garvey purchased the trees, and in his father’s memory also gave some of the purchases to the island of Dominica.
Garvey born Aug. 17, 1887 had two sons, Marcus Jr. and Julius.
He founded the Universal Negro Improvement Association at the age of 27 with an aim of improving the lives of Africans on the continent as well as those residing throughout the African Diaspora.
The farmers of Jamaica also saluted Garvey with a wreath laid at National Heroes Circle in Kingston where the hero is buried.