Norman Washington Manley born on the 4th of July 1893 and died the 2nd of September 1969, described as a Rhodes Scholar who became one of Jamaica’s top lawyers in the 1920s and National Hero. Norman Washington Manley was born to mixed-race parents in Roxborough in Manchester Jamaica, Jaehther, Margaret Shearer, was the daughter of a mixed-race woman and her ethnic Irish husband, a pen-keeper.
He received an excellent education, being educated at Beckford and Smith High School in St. Catherine (now named St Jago High School), Wolmers School and Jamaica College. Norman Manley was also an exceptional athlete. His most impressive and memorable performance was a 10 second time in the 100-meter sprint in 1911.
This record became known throughout Jamaica as “the even time.” His record stood for an astounding 41 years until Frank Hall broke it in 1952. He married his cousin Edna Manley (1 March 1900 – 2 February 1987) in 1921. They had several children together. Their second son, Michael Manley, went into politics and rose to become the fourth Prime Minister of Jamaica.
After fighting in the war and then becoming a successful lawyer he directed his efforts towards politics and the rights of Jamaican workers. After suffrage was approved in 1944, Manley had to wait ten years and two terms before his party was elected to office. He was a strong advocate of the Federation of the West Indies, established in 1958.
When Sir Alexander Bustamante declared that the opposition Jamaica Labour Party would take Jamaica out of the Federation, Manley, already renowned for his commitment to democracy, called for a referendum, unprecedented in Jamaica, to let the people decide. Manley, after arranging Jamaica’s orderly withdrawal from the union, set up a joint committee to decide on a constitution for separate independence for Jamaica.
The Jamaica Institute of Technology was established in 1958, and that same year Caledonia Junior College was established under the Emergency Teacher Training Scheme to address the shortage of trained teachers. In September 1938, Manley founded the People’s National Party (PNP) and was elected its President annually until his retirement in 1969, 31 years later.
His legacy include sharing with his cousin, Sir Alexander Bustamante, the honour of being one of the two ‘Founding Fathers’ of Jamaica’s Independence, attained peacefully on August 6, 1962. He is Jamaica’s first and only premier serving between the period of July 1959 and July 1962.
We call him a premier because his leadership was before we gained independence in August 1962. However, we still acknowledge him as being one of Jamaica’s Prime Ministers.
Norman Washington Manley has gotten on of Jamaica’s leading airports to be named after him formerly Palisadoes Airport. It was named in honour of Norman Manley. There are over 130 international flights a week that depart from Norman Manley International Airport.
There is also the Norman Manley Law School which opened its doors to its first students in September 1973. In recent times Norman Manley is known throughout Jamaica as the Right Excellent Norman Washington Manley. His birthday is celebrated in the country and so are his accomplishments. He is seen as the father of Jamaican politics and a leader in Jamaica’s independence.