March 24, 2023

On the day she would have turned 103, Louise ‘Miss Lou’ Bennett-Coverley is being remembered in a few areas with a special Google Doodle.

The Jamaican poet, folklorist, activist, and comedian, who briefly resided in London, inspired the nation to be proud of its language and culture by bringing patois to the forefront.

Bennett-Coverley, also known as “Miss Lou” by many Jamaicans, became a beloved figure in the nation thanks to her social commentary and sense of humour.

Who Was Louise ‘Miss Lou’ Bennett-Coverley?

Louise ‘Miss Lou’ Bennett-Coverley Honoured In Google Doodle On 103rd Birthday

Miss Lou, also known as Louise Simone Bennett-Coverley, was a poet, folklorist, writer, and educator from Jamaica who lived from 7 September 1919 to 26 July 2006. Bennett worked to preserve the tradition of reciting poetry, folk songs, and stories in patois (the “nation language”), establishing the legitimacy of regional languages for literary expression. Bennett wrote and performed her poems in Jamaican Patois or Creole.

Bennett was born on North Street in Kingston, Jamaica, on September 7, 1919. She was the sole child of dressmaker Kerene Robinson and Augustus Cornelius Bennett, the proprietor of a bakery in Spanish Town. After the death of her father in 1926, Bennett was reared largely by her mother.

She completed her elementary education at Ebenezer and Calabar before moving on to Kingston’s St. Simon’s College and Excelsior College. She began studying Jamaican folklore in 1943 at Friends College in Highgate, St. Mary. Her poems was initially published in the Sunday Gleaner in the same year. Bennett was the first black student to enrol in the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) in London in 1945 thanks to a British Council scholarship.

From 30 May 1954 until his passing in August 2002, Eric Winston Coverley, a pioneering actor and theatre promoter from Jamaica, was married to Bennett. Bennett and Coverley had a kid they named Fabian.

The final ten years of Bennett’s life were spent in Scarborough, Ontario. After falling at home, she passed away on July 27, 2006, at the Scarborough Grace Hospital. After a memorial service in Toronto on August 3, 2006, her body was transported to Jamaica where it lay in state at the National Arena on August 7 and 8. On August 9, 2006, a funeral service was held at the Coke Methodist Church on East Parade in Kingston. She was then buried in the National Heroes Park’s section dedicated to cultural icons. Bennett’s husband passed away before her.

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