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Historical Notes

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Letter to the Editor of the Times newspaper by R.EM Jack (The Times, July

17, 1919)

Mr Jack who lived at Richmond Hill, was one of the organisers of the Garvey Movement in St.Vincent

” Please permit me through your column to bring to the notice of the public the importance of compulsory education, a matter which methinks to be passed over by the local government. All attempts to improve education in any semi-civilised country will fail to benefit the poor except the government makes an ordinance to enforce it, but before this the government can introduce compulsory education it must use the assertion of a sound medical man – that is, before a disease can be cured, its cause must be discovered.{{more}}

Poverty is the cause of illiterateness among labourers in StVincent as the wages paid are too small to feed them; therefore they never can have money to buy clothes for themselves, much less for their children, so instead of their children going to school they are sent to work before they are 16 years old to provide for themselves…but if the government carries the wages of labourers to 2 shillings per day of 8 hours and forbids child labour on any plantation, then poverty will disappear and ignorance will be cured, and there will be a prosperous generation among whom the Government will be in a good position to enforce education that the ignorant may be risen from the brute creation to the plane of enlightenment.

I am in a position to state that if this Government introduces compulsory education in this island “The Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League of New York through its many branches in St.Vincent will chime in to assist in improving the ignorant by supplying free garments annually to the children of its poorest members that they may go to school. If every race adopts this method, when the present generation passes away there will not be a single person in the rising generation of any civilised country who will not be able to read and write.” (R.E.M Jack)

The Times, 10th June 1920

Police Court

“R.E.M Jack was charged on Monday last before the City Magistrate for engaging labourers to emigrate to Cuba without obtaining permission to do so. The prosecution proved that the defendant had been engaging labourers to emigrate to Cuba and a notice published in the Sentry newspaper was submitted in which Jack informed the public he was agent for one Nightingale who got permission to take a contingent of ex-soldiers to Cuba. The defendant who did not deny the charge was convicted and fined £5 and costs. Notice of appeal was given, but subsequently withdrawn and the fine paid.”

The Times, July 8, 1920

“R.E.M Jack was again on Saturday charged by Major Tough, Chief of Police, before His Worship, the City Magistrate for engaging labourers to emigrate to Cuba…”

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