Oct 19, 2013 News
Her name may not resonate well with many in this part of the world today but back in her day, Jessica Huntley, was a force to reckon with as a prominent black political activist and publisher.
She was a leading member of the People’s Progressive Party in the 1940s before migrating to the United Kingdom in the late 1950s to join her husband, Eric Huntley.
Jessica Huntley reportedly was integrally involved in Guyana’s fight for independence, an achievement that was realised on May 26, 1966.
It was such memorable reflections that were emphasised as tributes poured in following her demise on Monday.
Reports are that the influential Guyanese passed away after a short illness at the Ealing Hospital west of London. She was 86.
She was described as, among other things, phenomenal, astute and a driving force in her activism which continued even when she migrated to the UK.
There are reports that while there she, along with her husband, became involved in the struggle for black acceptance and equality, a movement which was eventually extended to other minority groups.
“She was involved in a lot of social work within the communities, through the schools,” said a close relative recently, who also told this publication that her activism was also evident through the establishment of Bogle-L’Ouverture which she co-founded with her husband and the support of friends. The publishing company was established in honour of revolutionaries Paul Bogle and Toussaint L’Ouverture.
In fact this strategic move was dubbed a “fierce campaign” against the Jamaican Government’s decision to ban Rodney from returning to the island.
Moreover, Bogle-L’Ouverture was instrumental in publishing materials such as Rodney’s iconic publications ‘The Groundings with my Brothers’ and ‘How Europe Underdeveloped Africa’.
In fact the company which Jessica Huntley pioneered with her husband served as a principal avenue for many black authors to not only share their voices but in some instances even helped to launch their careers.
“The book press allowed publication for many black people and minorities and thereby helped them to get a break and come onto the world scene…” disclosed the relative, who observed that Jessica Huntley like her husband had a “connection to liberation movements around the world.”
After much rejection over the years from those in authority, both Jessica Huntley and her husband were eventually duly recognised and honoured to the extent that the London Metropolitan Archives (LMA) has dedicated a section to chronicle the history of their struggles over the year.
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