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Diaspora- the aggregate of communities residing our side of original homeland

Cultural Pride

Fred Baker’s West Indies folk Dance Company at Malcolm X College

Jamaicans impacted the Harlem Renaissance Black History in the United States is celebrated during the month of February. One of the most significant eras for Blacks in the US was the Harlem renaissance. This period occurred in Harlem New York from 1910-1930s. Black writers, musicians, visual artist, as well as political comentary were at its apex and began to impact the US and the rest of the world. In addition to African Americans, Jamaicans also traveled Harlem and contributed heavily to this era. Among the many Jamaicans to arrive were Marcus Garvey and Claude McKay. Garvey created the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) and held its first international Convention of the Negro People of the World during the 1920’s at Madison Square Garden.

At that convention, the red, green and black flag was revealed. To this day, that flag is used all over the Black Diaspora to symbolize pride in African heritage. The other Jamaican that impacted the renaissance was poet Claude McKay. He published many poems during his lifetime, which included If We Must Die in The Liberator journal in 1919.

Spring 2002

blows deal one deathblow! What though before us lies the open grave? Like men we’ll face the murderous, cowardly pack pressed to the wall, dying, but fight back!

Teenstar Presents

Submitted by Kaye Maxwell

If We Must Die By Claude McKay

If we must die, let it not be like hogs hunted and penned in a inglorious spot, while round us bark the mad and hungry dogs, make their mock at our accused lot. If we must die, O let us nobly die, so that our precious blood may not be shed in vain; then even the monsters we defy shall be constrained to honor us through dead! O kinsmen! We must meet the common foe! Through far outnumbered let us show us brave, and for their thousand

Byron Lee & the Dragonairs When: Saturday September 7th Where: White Banquet Hall 6839 N. Milwaukee Ave Niles, IL Time: 9pm-5:00am

For more information, call 847 452 2038 Book Club News

On February 20, 2002, Chicago had the pleasure of having this up and coming Jamaican author visit a popular bookstore, while on tour promoting his newest novel “Satisfy My Soul”. During the winter, the book club selection was Channer’s previous novel “Waiting in Vain”.

The Jamaican American book club Spring selection is: Italy’s War Crimes in Ethiopia

By Imaini Kali-Nyah We had the pleasure of interviewing her about her the book and here is what she had to say: Q: What inspired you to write this particular book? A: My grandfather and father were fighting with the Ethiopians during the time of the Italian invasion of Ethiopia

in 1935 and subsequently, I was raised to consider myself to be an Ethiopian via my spiritual heritage. My father told me about what Mussolini did in Judah (Ethiopia) from 1935-1941 and showed me torn paged from a book… the picture was of a decapitated Ethiopian soldier… dad told me that I probably would never see the book because it was out of print (this was in 1950). He told me that Emperor Haile Selassie was the King of Kings, Conquering Lion of Judah from the Bible. Q: Have you ever been to Jamaica? A: I married a Rastafarian and moved to Jamaica from 1979-1986. I owned property in the Parish of St Ann, that I sold a few years ago. My grandfather was an East Indian by way of Jamaica. I conducted research in St. Ann’s Bay and Ocho Rios branch libraries from 1979-1986 until I returned to Chicago. Upon my return, I also returned to college and was invited to speak at the Ethiopian Research Council’s 3rd Annual Convention at Florida A&M University where I presented by undergrad thesis on “The Ethiopian Holocaust of 1935-1941.” Q: Do you have any up coming work and events? A: I look forward to mixing history with fantasy in my next book entitled “The Coming of Ne’gah” based on ancient Kushitic and Kmetic history that explores the spiritual origins of the Black and Brown race. I have other works so to speak, which will explore the mysteries of ancient Africa, i.e. The Spiritual Basis of Quantum Physics, The Hidden truth about the Christmas Star, and ancient Africa spiritual mysteries revealed. I have also constructed a traveling museum exhibit based on my research to be used as a teaching mechanism and companion to the book. We are touring the greater Miami area for Black History month beginning February 21st- March 10th, 2002. To purchase that book or speak to the

author, call: 312 326 1238 or email Interested in joining a book club that meets quarterly? Call (847) 663- 1598 Our summer book club selection will be:

Where Evil Sleeps by Valerie Wilson Wesley This book can be purchased at popular bookstore chains or checked out at the library. It is also available on audiotape.

STYLE RITE BEAUTY SALON 725 Howard Street Evanston, IL 60202 Phone 847 475 8100 • • •

Braiding Cutting Chemical Application Weaving

Ask for Verona


Linstead Market Q: How many years have you been in business? A: About five years Q: What products do you sell? A: Fresh Fish, can goods, Jamaican Ice Cream Q: Do you only sell Jamaican products? A: No, we sell many basic staples but we highlight Jamaican and other Caribbean products For the best in Jamaican & other Caribbean products, contact: Selma or Margaret at 847 492 8220

Recipe Corner Banana Punch

(Sweetie Come Brush Me) 4 ripe bananas ¾ pint or 450 mil of water ¼ pint or 150 mil of evaporated milk or soymilk

¼ tsp of nutmeg ¾ tsp of vanilla 1 tsp of honey Peel bananas and combine the rest of the ingredients in blender or with fork. Chill before serving.


March is women history month. In the arts, Jamaican women have been trailblazers; Enid Chevannes holds the rare title of founder, producer, directory, and playwright of her theater company, The Ivory Club, in the 1950’s through the 1970s in Jamaica. While not politically outspoken, Cheveannes directed a company whose mission was to contribute to the development of a national cultural identity. She used language and folk traditions to critique and contrast lower class and middle class Jamaican lifestyles and constructions of gender in her plays. By the late colonial period, the European concept of the nuclear family became the dominant ideology in Jamaican in themed-twentieth century. Due in pat to the high number women in the labor force and common law marriages, Black women faced increasing discrimination in the civil service and were encouraged to marry and become economically dependent on their husbands as housewives. The Jamaican Federation of Women, largely comprised of upper middle class White women, defined itself as apolitical and integrated the Black feminist of the Women’s

Liberal Club of Jamaica into their organization. The merger of these organizations dampened the spirit of activism among Black Jamaican feminist while Jamaican Federation of Women conducted mass marriages for Black women and required child support from fathers. By 1950, the concept of the Jamaican housewife was firmly entrenched in society. With feminist opinion of Black middle class women in Jamaica harshly critique, performance became one vehicle for women to address issue under the rubic of artist statement, without appearing to make challenge to the status quo. Two of Chevannes’ plays, Turned Tables and Root of Evil examines the domestic realm and demonstrate how gender and class are negotiated in the home. Chevannes creates a space for the emancipated housewife in the late colonial period that sought to recolonize the Black Jamaican women. Turned Tables raised raises questions about the role of women within marriage and demonstrates that a housewife is an occupation deserving of respect. In The Root of Evil, Chevannes explores the relationship between the housewife, the domestic servant, the husband, and how women of two different classes negotiate the domestic sphere. In both plays, gender plays a role when examining the function of husband as the “official” head of the household. Chevannes used the space of performance to critique colonial policies regarding Black Jamaican women and the aims and tactics of the Jamaican Federation of Women. Written by Karima Atiya Robinson Northwestern University Interdisciplinary Program in Theatre and Drama Ph.D. Candidate

Linnette’s Jamaican


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7366 N. Clark St. Chicago, IL 60626 Beef & Vegetable patties Jerk Chicken Fine delicacies

Rootsman Corner

Phone 773- 761 4823

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Jamaican Restaurant 2131 W. Howard St Chicago IL Phone 773 743 6689 Mon-Sat 8am – 11pm Sun 11 am – 7pm Carry Out Dining area Catering Delivery


African TV Chicago highlights Caribbean and African events. This show is on every Saturday at 10:30pm on regular TV channel 23. For more information, Call 847 319 3614 or Email

International Nurses Day is May 6.

Mary Seacole The story of Mary Seacole Jamaican healer, entrepreneur, and contemporary of Florence Nightingale

injured soldiers. But unlike Nightingale, she had little support for her endeavors and received scant recognition for her contributions. In the spring of 1854, as England’s weather warmed, the disagreeable news of was with Russia begun to grip the nation and its colonies. Mary Seacole, Jamaican healer and entrepreneur, heard a clear call to action in the war news. Having just returned from a business venture in Panama, she sought the next venue for her enterprise selling dry good, food and most importantly, healing potions for the sickness and disease that plagued much of the colonial world. Determined, she brought these services to the support of the British military. Seacole tell her story with wit and wisdom in a long-forgotten autobiography, first published in 1857. Florence Nightingale and Seacole were contemporaries who shared a commitment to care and compassion. But they were born worlds apart socially, racially, and economically. The republication of Wonderful Adventures of Mrs. Mary Seacole in Many Lands (Oxford University Press, 1988) sheds a 20th century light on a remarkable woman.

Jamaican Diaspora is a free forum newsletter that is produced by the Jamaican American club. If you have poems, photos, essays, satire, op-ed piece, recipes, events, public service announcements or any vital information, please call 847 663 1598 or email

By Margaret Ecker, MS, RN Like Nightingale, Mary Seacole served on the front lines of the Crimean War in the 1850s, helping

Spice (Conway) International Import/ Export Phone 847 687 1348 Creative Corner

This is not a suicide note. It’s a message to myself. Something I’ll read when my life is going merrily, merrily, like a dream, to keep myself humble. It’s a note to remember that I was once feeling more pain than I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. A pain of being lonely, a pain of not accomplishing my goals in life, a pain of watching life passes free and me by invisible and helpless. It was in painful mental anguish, which made the idea of looking into a deep gully, and trying to fly seems intriguing. The knowledge that hard concrete would end this pain seemed inviting. What would it be like, I wondered, hurtling through the sky? I imagine it feels quite liberating at first, the

sensation of bungee jumping without a rope, but then as you near the bottom I imagine that your basic instincts desire to live, you change your mind, you decide to stop falling. You scream ‘‘Nooooooo!’’ Gravity does not listen. I guess that your mind then goes black overloaded from the sheer panic caused by a terrible mistake. I think of my own funeral, who would attend? What would they say? I guess Wayne would be there. He’s my older brother and perhaps he’d remember that he once predicted I’d end up in a gully. He’d think of his friend a fellow singer who committed suicide, lottery winner years ago. The song was always one of my favorites. I may be slightly biased but I think Wayne is an even better songwriter that Bob Marley himself. Michael’s amazing bass guitar and my brother’s lyrics, a perfect combination. Colin possible would be there also. Perhaps a moment like this would make him remember that he’s my brother. Then again perhaps not, my mom would be totally distraught. I would never intentionally do anything to make my mother cry. Truly a mother’s love is the most powerful thing God ever created. I know because it saved my life. My dad, what would he be thinking? No one would ever know. He’d be as silent now as always, the rear tear flowing down his cheek speaking more eloquently

than any words. Perhaps he’d wonder about his own father. The man he never knew. The ghost, he seems to have haunted our lives silently. Perhaps my dad would hate this ghost for all he never did. I thank him for what he did do. The one act he felt was a mistake was the greatest thing this ghost ever did. His ghost haunts me no more. I will not listen to this ghost who encourages us to turn our back on life and to ignore our destiny. I forgive this ghost, not because what he did can be ever be condoned, but because I refuse to continue this cycle. I use this ghost’s real mistake, the mistake of not raising his son, as an inspiration and a motivation to live differently and responsibly. Shelly, the woman I love. She never knew the pain I was going through. I realize now that was a big mistake, her love was always there for me, her words would have soothed my pain. I never wanted her to be there Shelly, to always be strong not realizing that if I shut her out of my problems I’d be making us both weaker. No, this is not a suicide note. (I‘m way too pretty to ever be in a closed casket.) It’s a man realizing and deciding to use the only thing he truly owns. His life. Written and copyrighted by Mark J. B. Bowen. Email: Thursday, November 8, 2001.


SBF would like to meet SBM between the ages 35-42. He must have a job and goals for the future. Send all inquires to:

Jamaican Jamaican American Club is a not for profit organization that seek to improve the lives of the community and welcomes everybody. For more information, call 847 663 1598 or email

Spring 2002  

Jamaican American Club Newsletter

Spring 2002  

Jamaican American Club Newsletter