Garvey's family donates his medal to Liberty Hall

January 10, 2017
Former Prime Minister Edward Seaga (centre) admires the insignia of the Order of National Hero which was presented posthumously to Marcus Mosiah Garvey, Jamaica's first National Hero. Dr Julius Garvey, son of Garvey, donated it to the museum at Liberty Hall in Kingston, on Thursday. Looking on is Laleta Davis-Mattis, chair of the Jamaica National Heritage Trust.

The insignia of the Order of National Hero which was presented posthumously to Marcus Garvey when he was made Jamaica's first national hero in 1969, has been donated by his family to the museum at Liberty Hall in downtown Kingston.

Former Prime Minister Edward Seaga received the insignia on behalf of Jamaica from Garvey's son, Julius, at a special ceremony at Liberty Hall last Thursday.

Liberty Hall, on King Street, is a cultural institution dedicated to information about Garvey's life and work.

The property had been Garvey's headquarters in the 1920s. It was purchased by the Government of Jamaica during Seaga's administration of the 1980s to be established as a living monument of Garvey.

The culture ministry runs Liberty Hall through the Institute of Jamaica.

Culture Minister Olivia Grange said it was significant that Seaga should accept Garvey's medal on behalf of the nation.

Grange, in her message read by Laleta Davis-Mattis, recalled that Seaga, as minister with responsibility for arts and culture in the 1960s, "played a principal role in the return of the body of Marcus Garvey to Jamaica and in establishing the nation's highest order, that of National Hero, of which Garvey was the first recipient".

Seaga said the decision to declare Garvey a national hero, was "one of the best things" he ever did.

"(Marcus Garvey) was the most important man in the history of Jamaica. He was important because of his message ... because of the way he believed that message," he said.

"He was important because of the way he could confer and pass on the inspiration that he felt and the message that he had," Seaga added.

Garvey's family also donated a Bible to Liberty Hall and said a walking stick he used will also be donated shortly.

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