The 74-acre National Heroes Park is the largest open space in Kingston and serves as the resting place for three of Jamaica’s national heroes: Marcus Garvey, the founder of the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League, and cousins Sir Alexander Bustamante and Norman Washington Manley, who together advocated for universal suffrage for Jamaica in 1944. Although in need of a spruce-up, the park is a big hit with history buffs who come to pay their respects to the greats buried in the park. After Jamaica gained its independence from Britain in 1962, the park was redesigned and changed its name from George VI Memorial Park to National Heroes Park. In addition to sculptures of Jamaica’s national heroes, and a cemetery where past Prime Ministers Michael Manley and Sir Donald Sangster are buried, visitors can see the Jamaica War Memorial erected in tribute to soldiers killed during World Wars I and II. Even more intriguing is the Memorial to 1865, commemorating the Morant Bay Rebellion. This has a rock on a pedestal flanked by bronze busts of Abraham Lincoln and a black slave brandishing a sword. Marcus Garvey is also buried in the park, as is ex-premier Norman Manley, whose body was flown here from England in 1964 and interred with state honors. The Manley Monument, honoring his son Michael, was dedicated in March 2002. And, on a different note, the park shades the final resting place of musician Dennis Brown, who died in 1999. Bob Marley dubbed Brown the “Crown Prince of Reggae.” A ceremonial changing of the guard, complete with music by the Jamaica Military Band, happens the first Sunday of every month at 9AM. For some more local color cruise the National Heroes Circle, where mostly women hawk fresh crab, macaroni pie and corn on the cob. The vendors are delighted to chat with tourists who come with an appetite for both Jamaican history and their delectable homemade snacks. Crowds start lining up at noon for the crab and corn. Although the ladies are photo-worthy, it’s not polite to snap their pictures unless you’re also munching on one of their snacks. If you’re not hungry, slip them a dollar or two and they will happily pose in front of their large iron pots, flashing their warm island smiles.
- Open Hours: Monday to Sunday from 12:00 AM to 12:00 AM
Attractions & Landmarks, Parks, Gardens & Cemeteries, Educational