My Mother Who Fathered Me: A Study of the Family in Three Selected Communities in Jamaica

My Mother Who Fathered Me: A Study of the Family in Three Selected Communities in Jamaica

My Mother Who Fathered Me: A Study of the Family in Three Selected Communities in Jamaica

My Mother Who Fathered Me: A Study of the Family in Three Selected Communities in Jamaica

Excerpt

I first met Edith Clarke when I came to Jamaica in 1945. She was then Administrative Secretary of the Board of Supervision which has control of poor relief throughout the Island, and when I had official dealings with her I soon discovered that she was a most unusual official. To tease her I once told her that as a Government official she was a very good anthropologist. I really meant that as a compliment. I meant that she is not so much concerned with the routine of an official--which she coped with admirably--as she is with studying the lives of the people. She is intensely interested in the people of Jamaica not only as social problems but as human beings. I discovered that she is the most unusual combination of an able administrator and a skilled anthropologist, without the narrowness and lack of sympathy which we often find amongst officials and without the superior detachment and the obscure jargon to which lesser anthropologists resort.

Then I began to know her better and to discover something about her remarkable family. I learnt that after she had taken her diploma in anthropology she had intended to pursue anthropological research in Africa and elsewhere. But when she came back to Jamaica from her studies in England she had been caught up in a whole network of emerging social welfare activities here in Jamaica and then in hard Government work amongst the poorest people of all.

I learnt about the contribution and the character of the Clarke family. I learnt about her famous grandfather, Henry Clarke, preacher and politician, whom Lord Olivier once described as 'one of the most sincere, courageous and hard-working men I

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