Mark Milward, WISC Editorial Board member, presented Jamaican Ambassador to the United States, H.E. The Hon. Ralph S. Thomas with the book “Soldiers of the Soil”, by Fay Clarke Johnson.
The book tells the story of the migration of Jamaican farm workers who arrived in Hartford, Connecticut in the 1940s during World War II. While the labor shortage impacted the tobacco industry, the void was filled as the US looked towards the British West Indies and arrangements were made with the Jamaican government to recruit workers for the labor intensive work on the farms in the Connecticut Valley.
The book covers their arrival in Connecticut and their eventual settlement in the Hartford area as well as the establishment of the West Indian Social Club (WISC) of Hartford, Inc. The now thriving Jamaican community boasts the third largest population of Jamaicans in the US.
Mark attended the first meeting of US based Jamaican leaders representing national and DC area organizations at the Jamaican Embassy in Washington, DC, who met with the newly appointed Ambassador as he reviewed their recommendations, concerns and gathered information in order to establish plans for charting a course as Jamaica’s number one representative of the Jamaican government in the US.