Famous Jamaicans

In this section, find excerpts and links to The Gleaner's Special Series: Pieces Of The Past authored by Dr. Rebecca Tortello in 2003.  Where applicable, updated information can be found throughout the site.


Jamaican Healer & War Heroine: Mary Seacole  

Contemporary of Florence Nightingale, although the two famous nurses never worked together, Seacole is best known for her work treating Britain's wounded during the Crimean War in the mid-1850s. Born Mary Grant in Jamaica in 1805, the daughter of a free black woman and a Scottish soldier, Seacole was… (READ MORE)


Claude McKay: Jamaica's Poet Laureate

Festus Claudius McKay was born in Clarendon in 1890 to Thomas and Hannah McKay, farmers. The youngest of eleven children he would go on to become one of the leading figures of the 1920s American cultural movement known as the Harlem Renaissance. From an early age he was… (READ MORE)


A Pioneer, A Survivor: Dr. Cicely Williams

Cicely Williams, born at Kew Park, Darliston, Westmoreland, grew up to become a pioneer in her chosen field of paediatrics. Dr. Williams was directly responsible for initiating a worldwide campaign against the use of unsuitable sweetened condensed milk as a substitute for breastmilk and for the diagnosis of the dreaded childhood nutritional disease, kwashiorkor…. (READ MORE)


Famous Jamaican Scientists: Professor Louis Grant

A microbiologist and pathologist, Prof. Louis Grant was affiliated with the University of the West Indies for 20 years where he achieved the highest academic honour, being named professor emeritus in microbiology. Young Louis Grant was surrounded by science from an early age ­ born in Vere, Clarendon in 1913, his father worked in a chemical laboratory at the Appleton Estate. As a student, Grant showed… (READ MORE)


Famous Jamaican Scientists: Dr. The Hon. Thomas P. Lecky & A.J. Thomas

Thomas Lecky, was born on a small farm in Portland in 1904. The first Jamaican to receive a Ph.D. in agriculture, his work would revolutionize the Jamaican dairy industry and improve the lives of countless small farmers… (READ MORE)

A self-educated scientist and international consultant, Austin James Thomas was born in 1909 in Westmoreland. A lifelong environmentalist, careful angler and longtime secretary of the Jamaica Angling Association, Thomas' love of fish led him to… (READ MORE)