Louise Bennett – Miss Lou – is celebrated for her extensive cultural legacy to Jamaican arts as a poet, storyteller, actress, activist, singer, and comedienne.

Victoria Taffe is the Louise Bennet -Coverley Heritage Council Scholarship Winner 2020/21.

Victoria is a vocal student at the

School of Music at the Edna Manley

College of the Visual and Performing

Arts in Kingston, Jamaica. Victoria –

stage name Tori Love- is a member of

the Vocal Jazz Ensemble and was a part

of the School of Music’s Honors Recital for two consecutive years.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RYVUbeYFY9

The Louise Bennett-Coverley Heritage Council welcomes donations to supplement material and equipment needs of the Louise Bennett All-Age School in Gordon Town, Jamaica, and provide scholarships to outstanding students at the Edna Manley College in Kingston, Jamaica.

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REV. FR. EASTON H. LEE (1931-2021)   

    The Louise Bennett-Coverley Heritage Council, expresses sincere condolences to the family of the Rev. Fr. Easton Lee, CD - distinguished author, theatre director, broadcaster, actor, and public relations consultant, who died on January 18th in Florida, after a short illness. He was 89 and leaves behind, Jean, his wife of 70 years, 2 sons, 2 daughters. 8 grand-children and 5 great–grandchildren.

     Easton Lee was born to a Chinese father and a Jamaican mother of mixed racial heritage in 1931, in Wait-a-Bit, Trelawny, Jamaica. He attended Siloah Primary, Duncans Primary and Windsor High schools and recalls that many evenings, during his elementary schooldays, were spent under the counter of his parents' shop, as they attended to customers and helped him with homework. Unaware of his presence, they often discussed village happenings in great detail, giving him invaluable insight into the “grass-roots” culture of Jamaica.  

      His attention later turned to his Chinese heritage, finding that those teachings were not that different from others and in some instances were identical. This lively interest in and knowledge of, Jamaican and Chinese folklore, was broadened and enhanced, when he went to work with the Jamaica Social Welfare Commission and the JIS (Information Service), audio-visual programming which took him to every corner of the island.

   Easton was a member of the Caribbean Thespians Dramatic Society, and soon established himself as a major actor, playwright and director. His professional career, enhanced by his education in radio Broadcasting and Production from the BBC and Theatre Arts from the Pasadena Playhouse in California, was spent chiefly in the field of communication, where he maintained a standard of excellence.

    

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      Easton received many prestigious awards, which included - Commander of the Order of Distinction (CD), the Silver Musgrave Medal and the PM’s Award for Excellence (in Broadcasting, Theatre, and contribution to Jamaica’s Cultural Development).

      Prior to poetry and fiction, Easton Lee was primarily known as a dramatist – writing and producing Jamaica’s first TV Drama and his best-known production - The Rope and the Cross. He published many books, the latest being - Kiss Mi Granny – a collection of stories and teachings, from “all ah wi Granny dem.” He was a close friend and colleague of both Dr. Olive Lewin and the Hon. Louise Bennett-Coverley. 

      He was the Advisor and Artistic Director to the Jamaican Folk Singers,  and to the Louise Bennett- Coverley Heritage Council, in South Florida.

     Easton dedicated his life’s work to the “fulfilment of God’s purpose” - his crowning achievement being his graduation from the United Theological College (Ja), and his ordination as an Anglican/ Episcopal Priest, serving with Fr. Horace Ward, at the Holy Family Episcopal Church, in Miami Gardens. His wife Jean, a gifted seamstress, designed and make Jamaican-themed vestments, which he wore with pride.

      The LB-C Heritage Council is eternally grateful for his love, mentorship, words of wisdom and guidance.   

“Big Big Tenky Maas Easton, and Walk Good, wid Miss Lou, Maas Eric, Miss Olive an’ all the odder good duppy dem.”

Jean and  Easton with Fay Ellington

Victoria Taffe
Shammia Reid
Nelthashaye Williams
Joel Higgins

Donation of Tablets by the Louise Bennett-Coverley Heritage Council to Students at the Edna Manley College of the Performing and Visual Arts.

Tablet Presentations

  • Shammia Reid - School of Visual Arts - Year 2

  • Joel Higgins - School of Visual Arts - year 3

  • Nelthashaye Williams - School of Drama - Year 3

  • Jasmine Collins - School of Drama - year 1 (absent for the presentation)

  • Goldiana Walker - School of Drama - Year 3 (absent for the presentation)

 

Louise Bennett-Coverley - 2020-2021 Academic recipient

  • Victoria Taffe - School of Music, Performance Major - year 4

 

On behalf of the students of the Edna Manley College, a heartfelt thank you for your continued support. Melody McDowell - Asst. Senior Registrar - Edna Manley College of the Performing and Visual Arts. Kingston, Jamaica. Dec.2020.

Norma Darby – spreading warmth of Jamaican culture in Florida

The Gleaner - Nov. 22, 2020

Lynda Edwards and

George Graham

Norma and Val Darby

      Louise Bennett-Coverley is buried in Jamaica’s National Heroes Park, but ‘Miss Lou’ lives on in Florida. Her life’s work is vibrantly showcased by the Jamaican Folk Revue and the Louise Bennett-Coverley Heritage Council– thanks to Jamaica-born Norma Darby.

       Darby founded the Folk Revue after attending the Miami International Folk Festival, which featured cuisine, music, songs and dances from around the world. Jamaica’s only representation consisted of the island’s food and beverages.

      “I saw the ways in which other countries showed off their cultural heritage,” Mrs Darby says. “And I thought, Jamaica has a wonderful culture, why not put it on display, too?”

At the time, her husband Percival (everybody calls him Val) was a professor at Florida International University, and she had trained as a medical technologist. But they shared a passion for the stage.

      “We met in 1957 during a production of Sunday Cost Five Pesos by my church’s theatre group,” Darby recalls. “He was a budding comedian and singer who played the lead role of Woody Mahoney in the LTM’s Pantomime production of Finian’s Rainbow. Even when he forgot his lines, his ad libs were hilarious.”

 

     

      Darby decided to form a representative group to perform Jamaica’s traditional songs and dances at the folk festival. But where was she to get her performers? And her material?

She and her husband had joined the Jamaica Association of Florida to meet other Jamaicans when they moved to Miami in 1973. So, she enlisted members of that group to help put the show together. She set out to collect folk songs from the Jamaican community in South Florida – and discovered talented performers in the process.

      Darby recalls that it was the proverbs, songs and dances they collected that made her fully appreciate the appeal of her native culture. Growing up in Jamaica, she had been taught to emulate British culture and to shun Jamaican folklore and Patois. At the private school she attended, she learned folk dances and songs from the British Isles, not Jamaica.

      “They had us dancing Scottish reels,” Darby said, breaking into incredulous laughter. “Imagine!”

     Now, she is a passionate advocate for Jamaica’s cultural heritage.

      “Old time Jamaican culture is the repository of the history of the Jamaican people, defining who we are,” she says. “It is the legacy and cultural identities of our African, Asian and European forefathers, which makes our culture so unique.”

The wave of enthusiasm that greeted the Folk Revue’s first show surprised her.

“We were the ‘poster child’ of the folk festival – winning the coveted prize for the best cultural display,” she said.

Invitations from various festivals poured in after that. And the Jamaican Folk Revue has been going strong ever since. From the beginning, their concerts included Miss Lou’s poems, but they were not the main attraction.

Jamaican Folk Revue

THE LOUISE BENNETT-COVERLEY

HERITAGE COUNCIL (FL) INC.

Miss Lou

Full 100

Fabulous concert featuring the Jamaican Folk Singers with Colin Smith and Musicians, Joan Andrea Hutchinson, Malachi Smith and Maxine Osbourne at the Coral Springs Arts Center, Coral Springs, Fl. - Sept 7,2019.

Don Parchment photos

donparchment@gmail.com

Reading Festivals

Louise Bennett-Coverley - Reading Festivals -

2008-2019

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Writing Clinics

Write it Now

- Writing Clinics -

Scholarships

The Hon. Louise Bennett-Coverley Memorial Scholarship

Sponsors

Cheers and Applause Greet Unveiling of Miss Lou Statue

There were loud cheers and spirited applause from the massive crowd, which gathered in Gordon Town Square, St. Andrew on Friday, Sept. 7, to witness the unveiling of a life-size bronze statue in honour of Jamaica’s late cultural icon, Hon. Louise Bennett-Coverley, affectionately called “Miss Lou.”

Celebrating Miss Lou's 100th

As part of the Miss Lou 100th anniversary celebrations,

The Louise Bennett-Coverley Heritage Council (Fla) Inc., commissioned articles on Miss Lou from Jamaican writers living in South Florida for distribution to local Caribbean newspapers.

Annual Events

Contact us

©2019 by LB-C Heritage Council.

Copyright Statement:

The information on this website and the works of the Honourable Louise Bennett-Coverley are protected by copyright laws and international treaties. Unauthorized reproduction and/or distribution of her works is illegal and may result in imprisonment and/or fines. The intellectual property rights to the works of the Honourable Lousie Bennett-Coverley rest with her estate. For permission to copy, distribute, perform, broadcast, make adaptations or in any way utilize the works of the Honourable Louise Bennett-Coverley, contact the executors of her estate, Judge Pamela Appelt and Fabian Coverley at: legal@louisebennett.com

Victoria Taffe