National Hero and leader of the 1831 Christmas Rebellion, Rt. Excellent Samuel Sharpe, was honoured on May 23, at a floral tribute and ceremony, held in the square named in his honour in Montego Bay.
The National Hero was among the more than 500 slaves who lost their lives for participating in Jamaica’s first organized industrial action, commonly referred to as the ‘Christmas Strike of 1831’ and ‘The Sam Sharpe Rebellion’. He was hanged on May 23, 1832.
The Abolition Bill passed by the British Parliament in1834, led to the end of slavery in 1838.
Mayor of Montego Bay, Councillor Glendon Harris, who led the group of civic leaders and city officials paying tribute to the National Hero, said the occasion was more “the commemoration of the birth of the new and free Jamaica,” than memorializing Sam Sharpe’s death.
“It is a great pleasure that we can be here commemorating the birth of free Jamaica. Most persons today take this for granted. They are either ignorant or fail to acknowledge that persons before us struggled to death to ensure that we are a free people today,” he said.
The ceremony saw five bouquets being laid in honour of the girls, boys, men, women and Mr. Sharpe who lost their lives during the rebellion.
Among those laying wreaths were Mayor Harris; Howard Deers, JP, on behalf of the Custos Rotulorum of St. James, Hon. Ewen Corrodus; Principal of Sam Sharpe Teachers’ College, Dr. Asburn Pinnock; Representative of the Combined Citizens Association, Julian Robinson and President of the Ironshore Citizens Association and Neighbourhood Benevolent Society, Shernette Annon-Rose.
By Sharon Earle
Photo by: Sharon Earle