Photo: Courtesy of the National Library of Jamaica

This site consists of some of the writings of Amy Beckford Bailey, Jamaican teacher, social worker, feminist, and woman of letters. The collected writing includes essays and articles that were published mainly in the influential (now-defunct) weekly PUBLIC OPINION and JAMAICA STANDARD, as well as THE GLEANER. 

The work included here begins with her contributions to the period of Jamaican nation building in the 1920s and 1930s and ends in 1990, the year of her death. For Bailey, as for so many others of her generation, the social uprising of 1938 provided the catalyst for the efforts at reshaping the society.

Widely known in Jamaica as a teacher and social worker, she was also a prolific writer who believed that the political structure, the social contexts, and the economic conditions were deeply intertwined with ideas, beliefs, and values--past and present. Indeed, Bailey's passion was to make visible the assumptions and attitudes that were woven "like a thread throughout the entire fabric of our social and economic life."

Concomitantly, and with equal fervor, she believed that the consciousness of the Jamaican people could and should be "built up," that is to say, educated, so as to forge, at the deepest level, a more just society and a more humane world. For this reason, her writings of the period provide a window of opportunity to explore more deeply and fully a crucial period of the past and its continuing impact on the present.

Some examples of work that focuses on Amy Bailey include Erna Brodber, "The Pioneering Miss Bailey," Jamaica Journal 19 (2) 1986; Jennifer Brown MacLeavy, "Amy Beckford Bailey: A Biography," Jamaica Historical Review 18 (1993); Linnette Vassell, "Amy Bailey," Encyclopedia of African-American Culture and History (2005); and Veronica Marie Gregg, "How With This Rage Shall Beauty Hold a Plea": The Writings of Miss Amy Beckford Bailey as Moral Education in the Era of Jamaican Nation Building," Small Axe 23 June 2007. Further resources and information on Amy Bailey's life and work are available from the National Library of Jamaica and the Institute of Jamaica.

This site is maintained by Veronica M. Gregg
Hunter College

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AMY BAILEY WRITING JAMAICA by AMY BAILEY is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License