A report by Vinette K. Pryce for Caribbean Life News.
The insignia of the Order of National Hero which was presented posthumously to Marcus Mosiah Garvey when he was made Jamaica’s first National Hero in 1969 was generously donated by his family to add to exhibits at the Museum at Liberty Hall in Kingston, Jamaica.
Dr. Julius Garvey, the hero’s son, presented the insignia to former Prime Minister Edward Seaga who accepted it on behalf of the nation during a special ceremony at the landmark location dedicated to preserving his father’s storied legacy.
In accepting the symbol of honor, the former leader said: Garvey “was the most important man in the history of Jamaica. He was important because of his message. He was important because of the way he believed that message. He was important because of the way he could confer and pass on the inspiration that he felt and the message that he had.”
Olivia “Babsy” Grange, the island’s minister of culture, gender, entertainment and sport who runs “Liberty Hall: the Legacy of Marcus Garvey” exhibit through the Institute of Jamaica said it was significant that Seaga would accept Garvey’s medal on behalf of the nation.
In her message, she recalled Seaga’s role as minister of development and welfare with responsibility for arts and culture in the 1960s and how he “played a principal role in the return of the body of Marcus Garvey to Jamaica and in establishing the nation’s highest order, that of National Hero, of which Garvey was the first recipient.”
“Liberty Hall: the Legacy of Marcus Garvey” is a cultural exhibition dedicated to informing visitors about Garvey’s life and work.
The location and property now known as Liberty Hall had been Garvey’s headquarters in the 1920s.
It was purchased by the government of Jamaica during Seaga’s Administration of the 1980s to be established as a living monument of Marcus Garvey.
Garvey’s family also donated a Bible to Liberty Hall and indicated that the National Hero’s walking stick would also be donated.