Home News by RegionAnguilla News A literary stalwart retires – Jessica Huntley
Socio Political contributor Ron Belgrave

Socio-Political contributor – Ron Belgrave

In Guyana news. Jessica Huntley, one of the founders of the ground-breaking publishing house Bogle-L’Ouverture, sadly died on 13th October 2013 aged 86.

Jessica travelled from Guyana in 1958 to settle in Britain and to join her husband Eric. She committed her life to the improvement of conditions for Black people across the world and was a leading member of Guyana’s Peoples Progressive Party in the vanguard of the struggle for national independence.

One of the conditions she was keen to address was the absence of written knowledge and in 1969, along with others and with the help of donations from friends, she and her husband Eric founded the pioneering publishing house Bogle-L’Ouverture Limited, and opened a bookshop under the same name in 1974 in Ealing (west London).

Their first publication, in 1969, was “Groundings with My Brothers” a book of essays by activist, academic and friend Walter Rodney and they later published his seminal “How Europe Underdeveloped Africa”. Walter was banned from Jamaica for daring to combine his professional career with activism by teaching across all sections of the Jamaican society and he was later assassinated in Guyana in 1980. The bookshop was then renamed, in his honour, as the “Walter Rodney Bookshop”.

Despite being forced to move house after a white neighbour complained to the authorities that they were “lowering the tome of the neighbourhood” and having their bookshop’s windows smashed and excrement pushed through the door, Jessica and Eric persevered in their crucial quest. Their home and bookshop remained part of the backbone providing strength for the community.

Dr Aggrey Burke explains how Eric and Jessica Huntleys Supplementary School Movement gave new immigrants a sense of being Caribbean By Tom Foot httpwwwcamdennewjournalcom

Dr Aggrey Burke explains how Eric and Jessica Huntley’s Supplementary School Movement gave new immigrants a sense of being Caribbean. By Tom Foot. http://www.camdennewjournal.com

In 1979, to celebrate 10 years of publishing, Jessica and Eric held a filmed event in London entitled “Creation for Liberation” with discussions, dance, music and other cultural performances including two poems by the influential reggae poet Linton Kwesi Johnson.

Walter Rodney Photo courtesy llcoorg

Walter Rodney. Photo courtesy llco.org

Bogle-L’Ouverture distributed publications in Europe, the Caribbean and Africa. Their literature played a major part in the promotion of the consciousness of being Black in the relevant social contexts. Other authors included Andrew Salkey, Linton Kwesi Johnson and Lemm Sissay.

Jessica Huntley was a founding member and co-director of the First International Book Fair of Radical Black and Third World Books and the Black Parents Movement. She was active in several campaigns against injustices by the police and the courts against Black people, as well as playing a vital role in promoting education for all.

Papers (the Huntley archives) relating to the business records of Bogle-L’Ouverture Publications Limited and documents concerning personal, campaigning and education initiatives of Eric and Jessica Huntley, dating from 1952-2011, were donated to the London Metropolitan Archives and are viewable as part of the City of London’s “Black Community Archives”.

Jessica remained active right up until her death appearing earlier this year at a seminar in London on “Britain’s Black Debt” by Professor Sir Hilary Beckles (Principal of the University of the West Indies).

Jessica Huntley (1927-2013) is survived by Eric and their three children.



We provide news and information for anyone interested in the Caribbean whether you’re UK based, European based or located in the Caribbean. New fresh ideas are always welcome with opportunities for bright writers.


You may also like

Leave a Comment

Copyright © 2024 CaribDirect.com | CaribDirect Multi-Media Ltd | CHOSEN CHARITY Caribbean New Frontier Foundation (CNFF) Charity #1131481

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More

Privacy & Cookies Policy