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Thursday, July 27, 2006

Big up to Miss Lou

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The world has a terrible loss with the recent passing of Miss Louise Bennett. She was the unofficial ambassador for Jamaica. Below is a mini, bio of Miss Lou. I know she has so many official and unoffical accolades throughout the world today.http://www.jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20060727/ent/ent3.html

Louise Bennett was born in Kingston in 1919. She was the daughter of the late Augustus Cornelius Bennett (businessman) and his wife Kerene (nee Robinson).

She was educated at Calabar Elementary School, Ebenezer Primary, St. Simon's College (1933-36), Excelsior High School (1936-38) and Friends College (Highgate).

The young Louise always had an irrepressible sense of humour and a flair for dramatics. She described herself as "an average student".

On Christmas morning 1936 Louise made her first real public appearance when she performed at the annual concert at the Coke Methodist Church. She was then 17 years old. She recited a poem she had written in Jamaican dialect and received a prize of one guinea ;($2.10) from MC Eric Coverley, who would later become her husband.

When Louise Bennett began writing and reciting her dialect poems in the late 1930's and early 1940's she was regarded as an embarrassment. Speaking dialect was felt to be socially unacceptable and only the poor and illiterate spoke patois. The British (Oxford) accent was regarded as the epitome of cultured speech.

http://www.jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20030907/ent/Images/MissLouH20030729RB.JPG

At Excelsior High School even some of the teachers did not see the value of Louise Bennett's poetry. But she was encouraged by persons such as W.A. Powell, Hugh Sherlock and the late Astley Clarke. She remained undaunted by the sometimes hostile attitude toward dialect. She insisted on presenting dialect poetry which reflected the lifestyle, philosophy and sense of humour of the Jamaican people.

We will miss you Miss Lou.


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