100+ Voices for Miss Lou: Poetry, Tributes, Interviews, Essays edited by Opal Palmer Adisa
Description: Miss Lou had the instinctive wisdom to relate language to identity. As a people who have long since lost our identity, we continue to search for it.
There is an interrelationship between language – the words we use – and our identity. In that regard, Miss Lou helped us to remember who we are. However, mental slavery is still with us. While we continue to deny our own language, our way of expressing ourselves, there is no escaping the fact that our language is part of our identity as Jamaicans.
Although a lot of our unique cultural DNA disappeared during the Middle Passage, Miss Lou had the wisdom and the courage to grasp what remained of that DNA and give voice to the voiceless. She did it with such decisiveness that I have lived to see the day when Patwa, or Jamaican Language as it is properly called, has taken its rightful place as an important part of our identity.
That is Miss Lou’s legacy.
Opal Palmer Adisa is the outgoing University Director of the Institute for Gender and Development Studies – Regional Coordinating Office, the University of the West Indies, Mona, Jamaica. An award-winning writer of twenty published books, she is a cultural activist and a gender specialist.
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