Marcus Garvey Technical students guided by Garvey’s philosophies
Marcus Garvey Technical High School (MGTHS) started in 1971 as St Ann’s Bay Junior Secondary School. Not very long ago the name was changed to honour Jamaica’s first national hero, Marcus Mosiah Garvey, who was born in St Ann’s Bay in 1887.
In July 1914 Garvey founded the Universal Negro Improvement Association/African Communities League (UNIA/ACL) after seeing the poor living conditions that black people in the Caribbean, Latin America and Britain were existing in. The goal of the UNIA/ACL was to better the standard of living, to improve the image, and to change the mindset of black people worldwide.
Garvey eventually came up with ‘One God, One Aim, One Destiny’, as the UNIA’s motto. Marcus Garvey Technical has adopted that motto, adding ‘Excellence’ to it. And recently some staff and students at MGTHS met Dr Julius Garvey, second son of Marcus, at a Black History Month event at The Mico University College, where there is a UNIA/Garvey Club. Dr Garvey was the keynote speaker.
Prior to the formalities, some MGTHS students were observed correctly answering questions about Marcus Garvey, which prompted The Gleaner to subsequently speak with principal, Anniona Jones, who was present at the event, about the extent, if any at all, to which MGTHS is operated/run by the philosophies of Marcus Garvey.
“As outlined on the attached poster that can be found in every classroom, Marcus Garvey Technical High School aims to produce proud ‘Garveyans’ who value themselves, their talents and understand their history,” she said. One of the purposes of the UNIA/ACL was to promote the spirit of race pride and love. And it was not the first time Jones was meeting Dr Garvey.
“During my first year, I met Dr Julius Garvey who gave me a mandate to ensure that the school becomes a beacon on the landscape of education. Our institution was challenged to dare to be different and uphold the tenets of self-confidence, self-awareness, self-control and self-reliance,” she shared. There is even a Marcus Garvey Club (MGC).
“The Marcus Garvey Club was recently restarted as a means of securing a cadre of students who appreciate the best of what it means to be Jamaican. The MGC is established to help students to develop leadership skills, learn how to establish micro-enterprises, serve their community and learn their history,” Jones revealed.
“Over time we will establish uniformed groups, namely: Black Cross Nurses, The Motor Corp and the Universal Legion Cadet Corp. We are guided by the motto,‘ One God, One Aim, One Destiny’, and will remain resolute in helping our school and communities exemplify the self-concepts: self-awareness, self-reliance, self-esteem, self-control and self-care.”
As it relates to promoting Garveyism in her school, Jones said there is a 45-minute form period each day in which, among other things, there are activities “to help students appreciate Marcus Garvey as a real person, the tenets of Garvey’s philosophy, specific values, national pride and school pride”.
This curriculum was created by Yolande Thompson-Downer, a trained guidance counsellor and teacher of social studies. “We are excited at the prospect of having any additional resources to support this initiative and to bolster how we presently teach civics,” Jones said.
The Gleaner also spoke with Oneil Clarke who had a brief talk with Dr Garvey after the formalities. “I thought that it was very fascinating and exciting to meet Dr Julius Garvey. It also felt honourable meeting a child of one of the national heroes of Jamaica, the Right Excellent Marcus M. Garvey. Like Dr Garvey, I want to influence people positively through my way of thinking, by how I express myself and how I encourage people to think of this world and the people living in it,” the grade-10 student said.