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NATIONAL HEROES 

Cecil Rawle

            Cecil Rawle, born March 27th, 1891, was an activist and founder of Pan-Caribbeanism, or Caribbean. Dominica’s first national hero, Rawle was born in Roseau (the island’s Capital) where he was well-educated. His parents moved from Trinidad to Dominica where his father became the head of the local branch of the West India and Panama Telegraph Company. After spending time in London, Rawle went on to practice law in Grenada and Trinidad before going back to Dominica. At the time there was no elected representation in the country, which prompted him to establish the Dominica Representative Government Association. When a new constitution was signed in 1925, Rawle became representative of Roseau in the first elected legislature, campaigning as an activist. He also owned the Dominica Tribune Newspaper. Rawle also was elected chairman of the predecessor to the West Indies Federation, which was a meeting of Caribbean nations that came together to discuss political and socio-economic opportunities. This Federation was important because it laid the groundwork for the independence movement for the Caribbean islands.

 

Jean Rhys

Jean Rhys is a literary hero from Dominica. She was born in Roseau in 1890. Her father was Welsh, but her mother was Creole (meaning that she was of mixed West Indian and White/Colonial descent). She left the island in 1907 to travel to England where she studied at an all-girls school in Cambridge, and then later at the Academy of Dramatic Art. She did not return to Dominica until 1936. She published her first novel in 1924, but her most famous literary work is called The Wide Sargasso Sea published in 1966, which is considered to be one of the greatest literary pieces ever written. In fact, after she published this book, the New York Times Book Review called her “the best living English Novelist.”

 

 

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Updated: 4 April 2008