KINGSTON, Jamaica – The commemorate the 100th birthday of Jamaican cultural icon, the Hon. Louise Bennett Coverley aka “Miss Lou”, the Gordon Town Square in Kingston was officially renamed after her.
At a special civic ceremony in Gordon Town on September 8, Prime Minister Andrew Holness officially announced that the park will be renamed in Miss Lou’s honor. The community of Gordon Town is where Miss Lou spent much of her life in Jamaica before relocating to Toronto, Canada.
Holness paid tribute to the cultural icon via his Instagram account, with the caption: “Last night, we paid homage to the mother of Jamaican culture, Dr. The Hon. Louise Bennett-Coverley on the occasion of the Centenary of her birth. Our beloved cultural icon, affectionately known as “Miss Lou,” single-handedly brought confidence and respect to our Jamaican language. What Miss Lou did for #BrandJamaica, we could never repay and so we honour her hard work that still resonates today. Thank you Miss Lou! #WalkGood #MissLou100”
In 2018, for Miss Lou’s 99th birthday, a bronze statue created by Basil Watson was erected in Gordon Town. However, this year, the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment, and Sport has planned a series of events as Jamaicans across the diaspora celebrate the legacy of Miss Lou.
Advisor to the minister of culture, Lenford Salmon, said that work at the square began last year, with the statue, and should be completed within the next few months. According to Salmon, the renaming of Gordon Town Square is one of the many activities planned to celebrate the centenary anniversary of the birth of the cultural icon, under the theme: ‘Miss Lou 100’.
The symbolic 100 days of observances, started on September 1, with a church service at the Coke Methodist Church in Kingston. “Symbolically, we are going to be having 100 days of observances, which started on September 1 with a church service at the Coke Methodist Church, East Parade in Kingston, which held a special place for Miss Lou,” he said.
It was at the church that Miss Lou, at age of 17, made her first public appearance, reciting a Jamaican dialect poem she had written
The celebratory activities, to be held in Jamaica and across the diaspora, are being spearheaded by the ministry in partnership with several stakeholders including the Jamaican Language Unit at the University of the West Indies.
In Florida, the Consul General of Jamaica, Oliver Mair, kicked off the celebrations with a “Full Hundred” event at the Royal Palm Beach Community High School on September 6, which was followed by a special performance by the Jamaican Folk Singers at the Coral Springs Center for the Arts on Miss Lou’s birthday, September 7.
Other events will be held in Jamaica and other parts of the diaspora as the celebrations for Miss Lou’s full hundred continue.