Grange commemorates 188th anniversary of Sam Sharpe’s death with sombre ceremony

Culture Minister of Culture Olivia Grange looks on solemnly after placing a floral arrangement on the shrine of the Rt. Excellent Samuel Sharpe, National Hero, during a gathering to commemorate the 188th anniversary of his death. (Photo contributed)

Minister of Culture Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange led a solemn ceremony in Kingston on Saturday (May 23) as she commemorated the 188th anniversary of the death of National Hero Sam Sharpe.

The ceremony, organised by the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC), was held at Sharpe shrine at the National Heroes Park and saw Grange giving brief remarks while laying a floral tribute.

“The absolute and decisive rejection of slavery by the Rt. Excellent Samuel Sharpe led to the kind of society we have today, where our citizens must be properly rewarded for their labour. That was a pivotal moment in Jamaica’s history and we salute Sam Sharpe and those who fought alongside him in that uprising. In taking the stance he did, he was not only liberating Jamaica but the entire region. We remain eternally grateful for his acts of selflessness and bravery,” she remarked.

(from left to right): Major Anthony Lysight of the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF); Daffodil Thompson, Interim Executive Director at the JCDC; Minister Olivia Grange; Bert Samuels and Professor Verene Shepherd, both from the National Council on Reparations, stand in solidarity at the shrine of National Hero Samuel Sharpe, during Saturday’s gathering to commemorate the 188th Anniversary of his death, following his involvement in the 1831 Christmas Rebellion in Jamaica. (Photo contributed)

Sam Sharpe, a Baptist preacher born in St James, led the 1831 Christmas Rebellion in Jamaica, which broke the back of chattel slavery in Jamaica and eventually led to the abolition of slavery and the emancipation of slaves in Jamaica and the wider Western Hemisphere.