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BIOGRAPHIES J-L

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  • C.L.R. James
  • Mark Thomas Inskip Julien
  • Lennox Kilgour
  • Joanne Kilgour Dowdy
  • Earl Lovelace

C.L.R. JAMES
C.L.R. James is regarded as one of the most celebrated thinkers of Trinidad and Tobago, and indeed of the whole Commonwealth Caribbean. He has described himself as being a rebel even from his childhood years. While still a young man, he pitted himself against colonialism and against racial prejudice in all its forms and he began to formulate his thoughts on the just and classless society.

Meanwhile, he became very prominent in Trinidad cricket and he began seeing his life philosophy in terms of that game. He became a great admirer of Captain Arthur Andrew Cipriani, who, on his return from World War I, became known as "the champion of the barefoot man." James’ admiration of Cipriani led to his writing The Life of Captain Cipriani, published in 1932. That year James left Trinidad and spent the next several years in Lancashire, England, with his cricketing friend, Learie Constantine. He reported widely on cricket and in fact earned his living during this period as a cricket commentator.

Apart from his preoccupation with politics, he was also of a poetical and literary turn of mind, and the next year, 1933, he published a book of verse called Pascall Bowled. The Victor Pascall named here was the noted cricketer, who was the uncle of Learie Constantine and one of James’ early heroes. Five years before, in 1928, James had been awarded a British prize for the "Best Short Story of novel 1928." In 1935, James published the novel, Minty Alley, a novel of Trinidad life amongst the poor. In 1936, while civil war was being fought in Spain, he produced the book, World Revolution 1917–1936: The Rise and Fall and Communist International. In 1938, he showed his social concern for the black man with two books: The History of the Negro Revolt, and Black Jacobins, the latter being the story of the campaign of Toussaint L’Ouverture against French rule in Haiti.

In November 1938, James undertook an extensive speaking tour of the United States, travelling to Minneapolis, Denver, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, with his main theme being what was known in America at the time as “the Negro Question.” His other themes were the mass organization of the working class, and the imminence of war in Europe. (World War II broke out less than a year afterwards in September 1939).

At the end of the tour in April, 1939, James went to Mexico where he spent some time with Leon Trotsky, one of the key men in the Soviet revolution of 1917. Trotsky, who had broken with Stalin and had been exiled by him, was to be assassinated by an agent of the Soviet Government in 1940. It was clear that James saw communism as the salvation of the black masses, which he was trying to organize. James remained in the United States lecturing and establishing himself in left wing politics, relatively unmolested.

But in 1952, during the high point of the Senator McCarthy anti-communist “witch-hunt,” James was arrested for what was called anti-American activities, and was interned for a while on Ellis Island. It was during this period he embarked on the study of Herman Melville’s novel Moby Dick, and arising from this, he wrote the book Mariners, Renegades and Castaways. He was not detained long and when he returned to England in 1953, he found himself immersed in cricket affairs again, reporting matches ceaselessly.

A few years later, C.L.R. James was invited back to Trinidad by Dr. Eric Williams, newly appointed Chief Minister, who wanted this great figure to play a part in the march towards independence, and, in general, to be an inspiration to the youth of the country. James arrived in Trinidad in 1958, the year the Federation of the West Indies came into being, and he worked as editor of the newspaper of Dr. Eric Williams’ party, a newspaper called the PNM Weekly. He used its pages for an intensive political debate, sometimes bringing cricket into the fray, like the very important campaign he waged for the appointment of Frank Worrell as West Indies captain who, in that era, would have been the first black man to receive that honour. James also became secretary of the West Indian Federal Labour Party. He was soon to differ with Eric Williams on ideological and other grounds and the break-up of these two old friends remains an unpleasant chapter in the annals of Trinidad and Tobago politics.

James returned to England early in 1962, not even waiting for Trinidad and Tobago to attain independence in August that year. In 1963, he published one of his best-known books, which is a book of memoirs, as well as a study of cricket and life, Beyond a Boundary. In 1965, he came to Trinidad to cover an English cricket tour of the West Indies and found himself under house arrest. A public outcry forced his release after a few days and he was able to resume his coverage of the tour.

In 1966, he re-entered active politics in Trinidad and founded the Workers and Farmers Party, which did not get wide popular support. From 1966 to 1968, he traveled a great deal in and around the Caribbean, lecturing on literature and politics but he turned his face towards North America again, holding several university posts there between 1968 and 1975. He had been a great friend of Kwame Nkrumah in London and had carefully watched the course of the Gold Coast, which as Ghana became in 1975, the first independent, and in 1977 he published these articles as a book called Nkrumah and the Ghana Revolution. Following after were The Future in the Present(1977), Spheres of Existence (1980) and At the Rendezvous of Victory (1984). James was posthumously awarded a NALIS Lifetime Literary Award in 2012.

Despite James’ feud with Dr. Eric Williams, he was always regarded by the people as a hero of Trinidad and Tobago, and indeed as a man who had made a significant contribution to the world. As the 1980s went by, James was sought after more and more and many called on the government to offer him a home in Trinidad in which to spend his last years. In 1986, the in-coming government of the National Alliance of Reconstruction – the Government which succeeded that of the People’s National Movement – publicly expressed great admiration for James, and the committee looking into national awards thought fit, in 1987, to reward him with the nation’s highest decoration, the Trinity Cross. James died in England on May 31, 1989, and was brought home and buried at Tunapuna, his birthplace.

  


Source: 

  • Anthony, Michael. Historical Dictionary of Trinidad and Tobago. London: The Scarecrow Press, 1977. 310 - 311, 312 - 313

MARK THOMAS INSKIP JULIEN
Senator Mark Thomas Inskip Julien was born March 6th 1910 and attended the Arouca Boys’ R.C. school as well as St. Mary’s College. From August 10th 1935, he served as a Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Trinidad and Tobago and was President of the Law Society for 30 years. He was also close friend and chief legal adviser to the late Dr. Eric Williams.

In August 1971, he was awarded Chaconia Medal (Gold) for Law and in 1976 played a valuable role at the 1976 Law Conference in Chaguaramas. Mr. Julien was an Independent Senator in the Parliament of Trinidad and Tobago from 1957 to 1976. He died on February 4th 1985.


Source:

  • Khan, Carlton.  “Julien Dies at NIPDEC House.” Trinidad Express 5 February 1985: pg 3

LENNOX KILGOUR (Weightlifting)
Lennox Kilgour, popularly known as "Gour", was born on May 5th, 1928 and commenced his weightlifting career at the tender age of 15. In 1946, he won the Trinidad and Tobago Junior Championships but suffered defeat in the Senior Championships.

Kilgour made his international debut at the Central American and Caribbean Games in Guatemala in 1950. From there he went on to the Pan American Games in 1951 where he came second to John Davis of the United States in the heavyweight division. He followed this up winning bronze at the Helsinki Olympics of 1952. "Gour" finally gave up competitive lifting after the 1956 Olympic Games held in Melbourne, Australia, when he came sixth in his event.

See more information on Trinidad and Tobago's Olympic medalists

JOANNE KILGOUR DOWDY

Joanne Kilgour Dowdy is a Professor of Adolescent/Adult Literacy at Kent State University in the Department of Teaching, Leadership and Curriculum and Instruction. A graduate of the Juilliard School in the theatre division, Professor Dowdy continues to use her drama training to prepare teachers for the literacy classroom, and as a performer who facilitates writing development through interactive workshops.

Her major research interests include: black women’s experiences with the General Education Diploma (GED), drama in education, and video technology in qualitative research instruction. She has also written a one-woman show “Between Me and the Lord”, which she has performed in the United States and Trinidad.

Professor Dowdy is the author of seven (7) books: The skin that we speak (2002), GED Stories: Black women and Their Struggle for Social Equity (2003), Racism, Research, and Educational Reform: Voices from the City (2005),Readers of the Quilt: Essays on Being Black, Female and Literate (2005), Ph. D. Stories: Conversations with my Sisters (2008), Connecting the literacy puzzle : Linking the professional, personal, and Social Literacies and In the Public Eye (2009).
 


Source: Heritage Library Division, 2010

EARL LOVELACE: AUTHOR
Earl Lovelace was born in Toco, Trinidad in 1935 and spent his childhood in Tobago and Port of Spain. His first job was as a proofreader with the Trinidad Publishing Company. Later, he joined the Civil Service, serving first in the Forestry Department and then in the Department of Agriculture.

Lovelace's first novel, While Gods Are Falling, won him the BP Independence Literary Award which enabled him to study in the United States as visiting novelist at Howard University. His second novel, The Schoolmaster (1968), drew on his experiences in rural Trinidad. Forty years later The Schoolmaster still resonated with young people as the 2008 NALIS One Book One Community selection. The promise evident in these novels of the sixties was fulfilled in The Dragon Can't Dance (1979) and the Wine of Astonishment (1983) which a West African magazine argued “put him in the front rank of Caribbean writers”. The Dragon Can't Dance has been translated into five languages and is one of the most widely recognized Caribbean novels. This was followed by a collection of plays, Jestina's Calypso, published in 1984, and a short story collection, A Brief Conversation & Other Stories, published in 1988.

Lovelace was awarded the 1997 Commonwealth Writer's Prize for his novel Salt. His novel Is Just a Movie (2011), was the winner of the 2011 Grand Prize for Caribbean Literature by the Regional Council of Guadeloupe and the 2012 OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature.

Lovelace has worked as a lecturer at UWI and a visiting novelist and writer-in-residence at universities in the United States and the United Kingdom. In 1980, he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship. He has been recognized nationally with a Trinidad and Tobago Chaconia Medal (Gold) and an Honorary Doctorate of Letters from University of the West Indies, St Augustine, Trinidad & Tobago. In 2012, Lovelace received a NALIS Lifetime Literary Achievement Award.