Louis Bennett BIOGRAPHY

Louis Bennett (7 September 1919 – 26 July 2006),poet and social activist was born in Jamaica and received her formal education from some prominent schools in the country like The Ebenezer Primary, The St. Simon’s College and The Excelsior High School.

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Since an early age she had the taste for the theatrics and at seventeen she recited her first poem at a concert at the Coke Methodist Church in 1936. However, her early works were not appreciated mainly because of her use of the Jamaican dialect as the British accent was highly admired at that time. Nevertheless, Louise Bennett remained persistent in using the Jamaican dialect in her poetry as she wanted her poems to be a mirror reflection of the life and philosophy of Jamaican’s.

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Her poems were first published in a Sunday newspaper by Michael deCordova and it proved to be a huge success for the fame of Louise Bennett. Louise Bennett’s poem “Colonization in Reverse” (1966) became one of the main source of her fame. 

It reflected the thoughts of the minorities of post-colonial times who were residing in the UK. 

In this poem she touched the sensitive topic of racial inequality experienced by Jamaicans as well as South Asians under the post-colonial rule. And especially those minorities who had moved to England in search of better jobs but were facing oppression at the hands of the British. 

Bennett reflected on the struggles which both the Jamaicans and South Asians had to endure in an attempt to survive in Britain at that time.

In 1945 Bennett went to The Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in England then she later joined the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and hosted ‘Caribbean Carnival’ and ‘West Indian Night’ on radio. She later married Eric Winston Coverley in 1954 and in 1956 she became the Drama Officer at the Jamaica Social Welfare Commission. Later she then got appointed as its Director. 

Bennett also taught drama at the University of the West Indies Extra Mural Department and at some other agencies. She was subsequently awarded the membership of MBE (Member of the British Empire)for her work with the Jamaican theatre and also received several other awards nationally and internationally, like the insignia of Order of Jamaica in 1974 by the Government of Jamaica for her extra-ordinary performance in the school of Literature and Arts.

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