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Michael Manley  

This guide provides a list of resources about or by Michael Manley who was a charismatic politician committed to equality and justice, and considered as one of the most outstanding political figures in the postcolonial history of the Caribbean.
Last Updated: Sep 23, 2016 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

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Biographical Information

Name: Michael Norman Manley

Born: December 10, 1924

Place of Birth: St. Andrew, Jamaica

Died: March 6, 1997

Place of Death: Kingston, Jamaica

Education: Jamaica College, London School of Economics and Political Science

Parents: Edna Manley and Norman Manley

Children: Rachel Manley, David Manley, Joseph Manley, Natasha Manley, and Sarah Manley

Spouse: Glynne Ewart (1992)

Former Spouses: Jacqueline Kamellard (1946-1951), Thelma Verity (1955- 1960), Barbara Lewars (1966-1968), Beverley Anderson (1972- 1990)


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Popular Election Slogans

"Better must come" 


"Giving power to the people" 


"A government of truth".


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Who is He?

Often referred to as “the charismatic one” Michael Manley was hailed as an intellectual and political thinker, active in global affairs. He was a journalist, trade unionist, party president, senator, Cabinet Minister, Leader of the Opposition, Vice President of the Socialist International, and Prime Minister of Jamaica. The Rt. Hon. Michael Norman Manley was Jamaica's fourth Prime Minister: March 2, 1972 – November 4, 1980, and February 13, 1989 – March 30, 1992. In the election of 1972, Manley defeated his opposition, running on the slogans "Better must come", "Giving power to the people" and leading "a government of truth".

Manley was also a prolific writer of articles and books. Publications include: The politics of Change (1973), JAMAICA: Struggle in the Periphery (1982), Up the Down Escalator (1987), and many more.

 To many, Michael Manley is Jamaica's most eloquent, controversial, dynamic, and visionary leader since independence.  

All About Michael Manley



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Some Major Reforms

Manley instituted a series of socio-economic reforms. Manley's successful trade union background helped him to maintain a close relationship with the country's poor majority, and he was a dynamic, popular leader.

Under Manley, Jamaica established a minimum wage for all workers. In 1974, Manley proposed free education from primary school to university. The PNP government in 1974 also formed the Jamaica Movement for the Advancement of Literacy (JAMAL), which administered adult education programs; land reform also expanded under his administration.

The minimum voting age was lowered to 18 years, equal pay for women, and maternity leave was introduced, the government outlawed the stigma of illegitimacy. The Labour Relations and Industrial Disputes Act was introduced; providing workers and their trade unions with enhanced rights. The National Housing Trust was established, providing the means for many employed people to own their own homes; this significantly stimulated housing construction between 1974 and 1980. 




“Any advantage enjoyed by one person over another should never exist in spite of or at the expense of the worth and rights of another, but should only reflect legitimate differences in talent and application as they emerge in a context of equal opportunity.”

‘A Voice at the Workplace’, Manley’s book, published 1975


“We believe that the idea of equality is the only enduring principle by which mankind may be guided in the conduct of national and international affairs.”

Address to the United Nations General Assembly, October 2, 1972


“The enslavement of the body which endured till 1838 was nothing to the enslavement of the mind which persisted since.”

Address at graduation ceremony at the University of the West Indies, Mona, Jamaica December 14, 1974


“Self-reliance refers to our capacity to accept responsibility for our own development within the social grouping; while social responsibility implies our awareness that our development must take place in the context of a general respect for the interests of others in the group. So too, with nations.”

‘The Politics of Change’, Manley’s book, published 1974


“Where political sovereignty has been conceded but economic power remains untouched, equality remains a myth, social justice proves unattainable and even freedom becomes an ambiguous phenomenon.”

Address at an international conference in MaputoMozambique, May 17, 1977 in support of the peoples of Zimbabwe and Namibia. 



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