St. William Grant Park

Moon Author's Review

The Parade, also known as St. William Grant Park, was a popular congregation ground for a host of labor leaders, including William Grant, Marcus Garvey, and Alexander Bustamante, who spoke regularly before large audiences in the decades preceding independence. Originally a parade ground for British soldiers, as the name implies, the park divides King Street into upper and lower regions. The park itself was recently refurbished in an Urban Development Corporation bid to rid it of a sullied reputation after years of neglect, and it is certainly more pleasant today than just a few years ago. Once called Victoria Park, it was renamed in 1977 to honor William Grant for his role in Jamaica's labor movement. Grant was a follower of Marcus Garvey and joined forces with Alexander Bustamante in championing workers' rights. In 1938, both he and Bustamante were arrested for fomenting upheavals among the early trade unions. In the early 1940s, Grant broke with Bustamante's Industrial Trade Union and drifted into poverty and obscurity. Nevertheless he was given the Honor of Distinction in 1974 for his contribution to the labor movement, which paved the way for Jamaica's independence. Three years later Grant died. The St. preceding his name is understood to abbreviate "sergeant," attributable to his service in the military or as a militant member of the United Negro Improvement Association.

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