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Dizzy Reece: Progress Report

Dizzy Reece
Dizzy Reece
Dizzy Reece

Jamaica was roiling in 1938. The economy was hurting, and workers were fighting against low wages and colonial rule. Violent strikes and bloody riots were common in the capital city of Kingston.

Led by a loud, charismatic speaker named Alexander Bustamante-who would later become the country’s first prime minister-the call for labor rights hit its crescendo on May 23 in downtown Kingston, when a couple thousand Jamaicans, mostly dock workers or unemployed, crowded Victoria Park to protest economic conditions. Bustamante climbed on the giant statue of Queen Victoria and told the crowd in no uncertain terms that he would negotiate on their behalf and never back down.

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