Sun | Jan 17, 2021

Growing up with The Gleaner

Published:Saturday | September 14, 2019 | 12:18 AM


I wish to congratulate The Gleaner on attaining your 185th year of publication (1834-2019). The deCordova brothers could never have imagined that the little weekly paper that they started in the year of Emancipation would be what it is today.

Over the years, The Gleaner has carried so many key events in Jamaica’s history: the end of slavery (1838), the Morant Bay Rebellion (1865), the 1907 earthquake, universal adult suffrage (1944), Hurricane Charlie (1951), internal self-government (1959), Princess Margaret’s opening of Parliament (1962), the centenary of the Morant Bay Rebellion (1965), C-Day when we changed from pounds, shillings, and pence to dollars and cents (1969), the state of emergency of 1976, Hurricane Gilbert (1988), the qualification of the Reggae Boyz for the World Cup in France (1997).

Of course, there is more, but these are the events that stand out for me. One picture that I recall is that of a Uruguayan footballer in track attire, the number 10 on his back, on his knees in Westminster Abbey (or was it St Paul’s Cathedral?). This was during the 1966 World Cup in England. He was praying for success in a match later that day. I would really love to have a copy of this picture.

I grew up with The Gleaner coming to our house every day. I discovered Wimbledon and Margaret Court, among other things. I honestly believe that it is virtually a criminal offence for a Jamaican child not to be exposed to a national newspaper, especially The Gleaner, which is an institution in its own right.

I wish the Grande Dame of North Street (formerly ‘The Old Lady of Harbour Street’) many more years of success.