Oxford’s Jesus College has a long list of famous former students, and one of the most notable, Norman Washington Manley, is being remembered with an event about his life on Saturday 19th October.

'Towards a Wider Life': Norman Manley in Britain and Jamaica is one of a series of events being held during Black History Month and will celebrate the former Prime Minister of Jamaica with an afternoon of talks and refreshments, followed by a theatrical performance by Kuumba Nia Arts and Unlock the Chains Collective.  Topics covered will include Manley’s time at Jesus College, Jamaican Nationalism, and the legacy of his wife, Edna Manley, one of Jamaica’s foremost artists and arts educators.

Norman Manley attended Jesus College as a Rhodes Scholar, arriving in Oxford just before the outbreak of the First World War. In 1915 he enlisted in the army, served for three years on the Western Front and was decorated with a Military Medal. He resumed his studies at Jesus College in 1919 and proved to be an outstanding student and College athlete. The event will celebrate his time at Jesus College, as well as his subsequent life in politics. 

One of the dominant figures in the political history of Jamaica, Manley was one of the country’s leading lawyers during the 1920s. An advocate of universal suffrage, which was finally granted in 1944, Manley helped launch the People’s National Party which he led in every election from 1944 to 1967. He was Jamaica’s Chief Minister from 1955 to 1959, and Jamaican Premier from 1959 until 1962.

After his death in 1969, his widow, Edna Manley, wrote to Jesus College, where she said, “my husband spent a period of his life that helped shape his destiny.  He always spoke of Oxford with great affection and a lovely photo of Jesus College still hangs in his room.” *

There are two portraits of Norman Washington Manley in Oxford - one at Rhodes House, and the other in the dining hall of Jesus College.

The event will take place in The Hall, Jesus College, Turl Street from 3.00pm to 5.30pm on Saturday 19th October.  Tickets are available from Eventbrite