Jamaica’s National Heroes dared to challenge the institution of colonialism and in so doing changed the course of Jamaica’s history giving social and political freedom to its people. Today, the statues of Jamaica’s seven National Heroes stand in proud acknowledgement, in the National Heroes Park in Kingston where they are viewed with inspiring pride, unforgettable symbols of Jamaica’s enduring strength.
For a long time in the UK, we were left to find out for ourselves about the famous blacks in history because we aren’t taught it in school. Now with the help of Black History Month in October of every year, we have access to information that maps the course of our history through the ages. Black people can be remembered for other things aside from slavery.
The Order of National Hero is an honour awarded by the government of Jamaica. It is a part of the Jamaican honours system that has been in place since 1969.
In Jamaica, Heroes Day is celebrated on the third Monday in October. On this day Jamaicans think about the contributions to the fight against slavery and injustice and they give thanks.
Sir Alexander Bustamante
Alexander Bustamante was an aggressive, outspoken young man who understood the dynamics of labour relations. A charismatic and impressive speaker, he used the media to criticise the prevailing political system and its attendant social problems. He started the Industrial Trade Union in 1938 and was jailed for 17 months following labour riots. He became Jamaica’s first Chief Minister, a position he held until 1954, being knighted that same year by the queen. On August 6, 1962, Jamaica was granted full independence. At the first session of Parliament, Bustamante received the Instruments of Independence from the queen’s representative, Princess Margaret. This time in Jamaica’s history drastic changes were heralded, not by bloodshed but by peaceful negotiations.
The rest of Jamaica’s National Heroes have their own page: