Norman Washington Manley is one of Jamaica’s National heroes. Born in Roxborough, Manchester, on 4 July 1893, he was the son of Margaret and Thomas Albert Manley who were both mixed race. He was well educated, attending high school, before going to Jamaica College. He made headlines as an outstanding athlete, as well as excelling in his studies.
As president of the PNP, Norman Manley fought for Universal Adult Suffrage. Together with his cousin Alexander Bustamante, their efforts resulted in the New Constitution of 1944 granting full Adult Suffrage. Through the PNP, he became a representative for Jamaica in the Federation of the West Indies, a group of nations joined in an attempt to right some common problems.
Norman Manley led the unprecedented movement to allow the people of Jamaica to vote on whether or not to remain in the federation. Once the people voted to leave the Federation, Norman Manley led the movement to draft a constitution so that Jamaica could become independent. He headed the committee that negotiated Jamaica’s independence from Great Britain. Once independence came, Norman Manley lost in the election to Bustamante of the Jamaica Labor Party, for the seat of prime minister.
Norman Manley was married to Edna Swithenbank. He is the father of Douglas and Michael Manley (who later became a Prime Minister of Jamaica).