Trinidad and Tobago honours Marion Jones on her birth anniversary

Trinidad and Tobago honours Marion Jones on her birth anniversary

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago: Trinidad and Tobago remembered Marion Jones on the occasion of her birth anniversary. The Great Plains Black History Museum remembered her on August 16 in Black History.

According to the update, in 1931, Marion Jones was born. She was a Black Trinidadian librarian and novelist.

Marion Patrick Jones was born in Woodbrook, Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. Her father, Patrick Jones, was of African/Chinese heritage and was a leading Trinidadian trade unionist and socio-political activist at the turn of the 20th century.

Reportedly, she graduated from St Joseph’s Convent, winning a Girls’ Open Island Scholarship in 1950 and placing third. She attended the Imperial College of Tropical Agriculture, St Augustine. In the 1950s, Jones went to New York City, where she earned a diploma in library science, paying for her education by working in a ceramics factory painting the wares. She worked with Manny Spiro to create a trade union. Jones then returned home to become a chartered librarian, working as a Senior Librarian at Carnegie Library, San Fernando, Trinidad.

In the 1960s, she continued her studies in Britain, graduating with a BSc from the University of London. She did postgraduate studies in social anthropology at the London School of Economics, writing a thesis on the Chinese community in Trinidad. She was married to Benedict Glean and the late Maurice O’Callaghan, who came to Trinidad from Cork in Ireland to help establish the Presentation Brothers’ school, Presentation College, in San Fernando at the end of the Second World War.

A pacifist and a Quaker, during her time in Britain, she played a role within the black community and “contributed to a series of statements by post-colonial activists on ‘race’ in the run-up to the 1964 UK general election, published by Theodore Roszak, editor of Peace News.” Glean brought together pacifists, forming a debating group called Multi-Racial Britain; however, when Martin Luther King Jr. was on his way to Stockholm to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, Glean arranged with Bayard Rustin for King to come to London to address a meeting, which David Pitt chaired.

The new movement was formed at the end, and Glean was appointed secretary.” The movement founded at that gathering in December 1964 was the Campaign Against Racial Discrimination (CARD), formally launched soon afterwards. She was the Director of Social Science Programs for UNESCO in Paris from 1965 to 1990. During that time, she used her married name, Marion O’Callaghan, or Marion Glean O’Callaghan, for her non-fiction writings, particularly on Africa. She oversaw the anti-apartheid program at UNESCO.

The update claimed that her first novel, Pan Beat (1973), and her other novel, J’Ouvert Morning, were published in 1976 and examined middle-class predicaments in a society with a colonial heritage. These were published under the name Marion Patrick Jones as Marion O’Callaghan wrote “Introductory Notes” for a symposium, Sociological Theories; Race and Colonialism, published by UNESCO in 1980. Writing by Jones appears in such collections as Her True-True Name: An Anthology of Women’s Writing from the Caribbean (eds Pamela Mordecai and Betty Wilson, 1989), Caribbean Women Writers: Essays from the First International Conference (ed. Selwyn R. Cudjoe, 1990) and Daughters of Africa: An International Anthology of Words and Writings by Women of African Descent (ed. Margaret Busby, 1992).

As Marion O’Callaghan, she wrote a weekly commentary column in the Trinidad and Tobago Newsday newspaper. After retiring from UNESCO in 1990, she lived in Trinidad. She died aged 84 at her home in Port of Spain on March 2, 2016. (African American Registry, 2023)