Black History Month Special: Louise ‘Miss Lou’ Bennet

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Louise ‘Miss Lou’ Bennett was born on the 7th September 1919 in Kingston, Jamaica. Her mother raised her alone because her dad died when she was 7 years old.

Bennett studied Jamaican Folklore in 1943 at Friends College in Highgate, St. Mary in Jamaica. In 1945 she moved to London to study at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. The British Council rewarded her with a scholarship. She was the first black woman to study there.

During her time in England, she hosted on two BBC radio stations. Her shows were called Caribbean Carnival and West Indian Night. Caribbean Carnival was on from 1945 until 1946 and West Indian Night was on in 1950. When she moved back to the Caribbean she taught drama and folklore at the University of West Indies.

Miss Lou hosted a children’s programme named Ring Ding. The show involved Jamaican children learning about their culture. Louise wanted to run this show because the children were actually learning something about their lives.

She wrote many books in Patois because she wanted that language to be equal to every other language. This was important because if people thought Patois was just slang nobody would respect their culture. She inspires me because she is passionate about making her language as respected as every other language. She inspired lots of writers like Yasus Afari, Mutabruka and Kwesi Johnson.

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