Marcus Garvey High: Guardians of a great name

Published: Saturday | June 6, 2009

Members of the Marcus Garvey Club.

In the heart of St Ann's Bay is a school that boasts a most enviable name and a most serious responsibility. Marcus Garvey Technical High School is one of the most integral institutions in Jamaica as far as preserving and propagating the legacy and philosophies of Jamaica's first national hero, Marcus Mosiah Garvey.

As soon as The Gleaner arrived at the gates of Marcus Garvey Technical High, we noticed a vibrant mural of Garvey. That mural was donated by the school's Marcus Garvey Club; a group of students who teacher, Janice Campbell, describes as trailblazers among the 2,600 students of the institution.

One of the main activities of the school each year is Marcus Garvey Day. The event is held each February in Black History Month. On Marcus Garvey Day, schools from across the parish and members of the public are invited within the school's walls to enjoy pulsating cultural activities and a keynote address from a Marcus Garvey scholar.

Marcus Garvey Day theme

The theme for the 2009 Marcus Garvey Day was, 'Black skin is not a badge of shame, rather a symbol of greatness' and Garvey enthusiast Mutabaruka addressed the attendees.

Vice-president of the school's Marcus Garvey Club, Peta-Gaye Walford, told The Gleaner that the effect of the 2009 Marcus Garvey Day was much more than 'skin-deep.'

"Nowadays, young girls and young boys are bleaching themselves and so with the theme we chose, it has been very impactful," Walford said in a rather 'vice-presidential tone' before colourfully expounding on her point.

"When dem hear say 'black skin is not a badge of shame', nuff a dem shame, cause them know seh dem use to black and start rub (bleach). So now everybody a tek time ketch back them 'house colour' as we say," remarked the articulate 10th-grader.

According to Natalie Staines Gordon, a teacher at the institution, the school's mandate to inculcate the values of Marcus Garvey in the students was noticeable and had been beneficial.

"You can see the difference in the students. You can hear them quoting quotations that have stuck with them and using it to correct and guide the others."