Lifelines: The Black Book of Proverbs

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Black History Month - Una Marson and Bob Marley

If you are a big tree, we are a small axe. (Jamaica)

1905 - Una Marson, first major Caribbean Jamaican poet & playwright, was born.

Una Marson was born on February 6, 1905, in Santa Cruz, and attended Hampton High School. She went into journalism when she left school, and published a magazine encouraging women to join the workforce and become politically active.

Marson was an advocate on race as well as gender, encouraging Black women to be confident about their beauty. She stopped straightening her hair and went natural.

She lived between Jamaica and England, seeing to promote national literature in Jamaica, and working with the BBC during World War II. She also wrote a play jointly with Louise Bennett. Her special contribution is linking Caribbean literature and nationalism.

1945 - Bob Marley was born.

Bob Marley’s singing career started with the Wailers in the 1960s. Legendary producer Lee “Scratch” Perry took the group to success with songs like “Simmer Down” and ”Small Axe”. Bob's association with Chris Blackwell's Island Records resulted in international success with albums such as “Catch a Fire”, “Burnin’”, “Natty Dread”, and “Rastaman Vibration.” To no one’s surprise, “Exodus” was declared the album of the twentieth century.

Rastafari strongly influenced Bob, and in 1978 he visited Kenya and then went on to Ethiopia. In 1980, he had the honour of performing at Zimbabwe’s independence.

One of his special contributions to Jamaican political life was his 1978 Peace Concert where he brought Michael Manley and Edward Seaga together on stage during a time when PNP and JLP factions behaved as if they were at war.

A month before he died in 1981, Bob received Jamaica's Order of Merit in recognition of his extraordinary contribution to Jamaican culture.

On this day in:

1820: The initial group of 86 freed slaves from the United States, established a settlement in Christopolis (now Monrovia).

1939 – Jamaican musician Derrick Harriott was born.

1950 - Grammy Award singer Natalie Cole was born.

1993 - Arthur Ashe died


jaycee said...

I never heard of Una until two hours ago when i read my daily proverb and noticed the mention of your blog celebrations of Una and Bob. So glad you did. I just spent the last hour reading the few 50 pages permitted by Google Books and realized I must own a copy. Reminded me somewhat of Lorna Goodison's Harvey's River which was a delightful 288 pages I was given just this Christmas as a gift. I look forward to the full read and to your future blogs. God Bless.

Yvonne McCalla Sobers said...

Jeanette, I am very happy to have introduced you to Una - isn't she special! I have heard Lorna read from Harvey's River a couple of times, and this book is on my "to read" list. Interestingly, Lorna and I started teaching at the same school (Jamaica College) on the same day many years ago.

Writing these blogs is an education for me as well. Some persons I think I know till I start looking at their bios and reflecting on how their lives have touched mine or influenced my writing and my thinking.

Thanks much for your support of the blog.




When the occasion arises, there is a proverb to suit it. (Proverb from Rwanda and Burundi)

Welcome to this space where we can talk about proverbs that we can relate to (or not), and proverbs that make sense to us (or not). Most of all we can discuss how proverbs make us think about life and living. We can also share experiences of proverbs that have provided us with lifelines or just the chance to reflect.

Some of the proverbs here may also be found in "Lifelines: The Black Book of Proverbs", published by Random House and authored by Askhari Johnson Hodari and me. The foreword is written by Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

One of the unique features of our book is that we arranged the proverbs according to life cycle, in sections including, Birth, Childhood, Love, Marriage, and Intimacy, Challenge, and Death.

For more proverbs and for information on Lifelines: the Black Book of Proverbs, please visit us at