Jamaicans in South Florida pay tribute to Miss Lou

MIAMI – As Jamaicans in South Florida continue to mourn the loss of the late Hon. Louise Bennett-Coverley, O.M., O.J., M.B.E., a condolence book will be opened at the Consulate General of Jamaica in Miami, Tuesday, August 1 to the public.

Jamaica’s Consul General to the Southeast USA, Ricardo Allicock, in sharing the loss, described ‘Miss Lou’ as she was affectionately known, as being larger than life noting that “her lifework is a testament to the fact that the thoughtful, loving, passionate nurture of even the humblest of pursuits or interests can lead to great, lifelong personal satisfaction.”

In a farewell tribute to Jamaica’s premier literary cultural anthropologist, the Consul General described her as an all round entertainer noting the many roles she filled during an illustrious career, namely poet, playwright, comedienne, actor, lyricist and actor.

More so than Marcus Garvey or Bob Marley, the Consul General continued, “she uplifted our indigenous language through academic research and presentation, and distributed it, to the benefit of the elite and the ordinary alike, through her abundant and extraordinary comedic talent.”

Expressing the love of service to one’s country, Mr. Allicock, spoke of the fervent and patriotic efforts made in regard to her chosen interest which lead to tremendous public acclaim and impact. “More than anything, Louise Bennett taught us that there is pride and profundity in even the simplest of things” he concluded.

Miss Lou died at age 86, Wednesday, July 26, in Toronto, Canada where she had resided for more than a decade.

During Emancipation and Independence celebrations 2003, Miss Lou was special guest of the Government of Jamaica at which time she participated in several activities in observance of the nation’s 41st anniversary.

Throughout her career, Miss Lou was recipient of many awards and accolades including the Jamaica’s Order of Merit in 2001, the Order of Jamaica in 1974, the Norman Manley Award for Excellence in the field of Arts, the Institute of Jamaica’s Musgrave Silver and Gold medals for distinguished eminence in the field of Arts and Culture, and in 1983 the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Letters from the University of the West Indies.

In another tribute, Director of the Florida based Jamaica Folk Revue, Mrs. Norma Darby also spoke of the immeasurable contributions made by whom she described as ‘a true giant.’

She continued to praise Miss Lou for “her legacy which has given us pride and dignity in our cultural heritage.”

More importantly, Mrs. Darby indicated that ‘the great folklorist made Jamaicans proud of our vernacular knowing that it is respected as another language and not a bastardization of the English Language.”

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