The 141 Greatest Jamaicans? You decide…


Nominations for the List of The One Hundred Greatest Jamaicans Who Have Ever Lived

This exercise is important because it will launch the debate about who we are as a people, what are our values, what defines us as being unique in the world. It may help to restore our confidence and sense of patriotism. We may not have a Shakespeare, a Wagner, a Karl Marx, Tchaikovsky, Neil Armstrong, a Christopher Columbus, Sir William Wallace, Einstein, Ernest Hemmingway or an Erasmus on our list, but if Jamaicans can see that we need these people then perhaps some few will rise to the occasion. The persons in bold font are the ones who I think will still have a name in another hundred years. The list is not exhaustive and the names are not ranked in order of importance but rather in the order that I thought of them. Some of these names are relatively unknown and others controversial. The people of Jamaica must decide who is the most important. They may feel free to add other names and delete some of them here but, in time, we should arrive at a list of the 100 Greatest Jamaicans Who Have Ever Lived.


  1. Hon. Dr. Louise Bennett Coverley “Miss Lou” – Folklorist, Writer, Actress, Mother of Jamaican Culture.
  2. Mr. Claude McKayJamaica’s first Poet Laureate
  3. The Hon. Sir Philip Sherlock – Father of Jamaican Culture
  4. The Right Excellent Norman Washington Manley – National Hero, Architect of modern independent Jamaica, former Premier of Jamaica
  5. The Most Hon. Michael Manley – Trade Unionist, opened opportunities for disenfranchised Jamaicans, former Prime Minister of Jamaica
  6. Hon. Herb McKenley – Athlete and sports administrator
  7. Dr. Arthur WintElite Athlete
  8. Hon. Robert Nesta (Bob) Marley – Cultural icon
  9. Mr. Dennis Brown – Cultural icon
  10. Dr. the Hon. Thomas P. Lecky – Scientist, invented two new species of bovine
  11. Professor Ralston “Rex” Nettleford – Cultural icon
  12. Professor Alston Barrington “Barry” Chevannes – Anthropologist, beautiful spirit
  13. Mr. Colin Channer – Novelist, creator of the Calabash Literary Festival
  14. Mr. S.W. Isaac-Henry – Educator
  15. Mr. Donald Quarrie – Track star and sports administrator
  16. Dr. Alfred Sangster – Educator
  17. Dr. Cicely Williams – Medical doctor, described disease kwashikoor
  18. The Right Excellent Marcus Garvey – National Hero, Visionary
  19. The Right Excellent Sir Alexander Bustamante – National Hero, Trade Unionist, former Prime Minister of Jamaica
  20. Hon. Edna Manley – British-born. Founded the Art Movement in Jamaica
  21. Rt. Hon. George William Gordon – National Hero, fought against the British for the rights of African Jamaicans, Jamaican martyr
  22. Rt. Hon. Nanny of the Maroons – National Hero, fought against the British
  23. Mr. Christopher Blackwell – British born Record Producer, Founder of Island Record
  24. Mr. Michael Lee Chin – Philanthropist, business mogul
  25. Mr. Gordon “Butch” Stewart – His dollar initiative saved the Jamaican dollar during the 1990s.
  26. Mr. Noel N. Nethersole
  27. Mr. St. William Grant – Struggle toward Jamaican independence.
  28. Nurse Mary Seacole – Nurse serving in the Crimean War
  29. Ms. Amy Bailey
  30. Ms. Mae Farquharson
  31. Dr. Lenworth Jacobs – National Family Planning Movement
  32. Mrs. Beth Jacobs – National Family Planning Movement
  33. Dr. Joyce Robinson – Adult literacy movement
  34. Ma Lou – Potter, cultural icon
  35. Kapo – Painter, cultural icon
  36. Mr. David Pottinger – Painter, cultural icon
  37. Rt. Hon. Samuel Sharpe – National Hero, Jamaican martyr
  38. Rt. Hon. Paul Bogle – National Hero, Jamaican martyr
  39. Hon. Hugh Sherlock -
  40. Mr. Wills O. Isaacs -
  41. Professor Verene Shepherd – Historian
  42. Professor Carolyn Cooper -
  43. Dr. Paula Tennant – Scientist, developed new strain of pawpaw that saved the industry in Jamaica
  44. Dr. Erna Brodber – Folklorist, novelist
  45. Mr. Kenneth “Sir Coxsone” Dodd – Music Producer
  46. Mr. E. K. Powell – Educator
  47. Father Richard HoLung – Roman Catholic Priest, Missionary to the poor
  48. Ms. Madge Sinclair – Actress, cultural ambassador
  49. Mr. Monty Alexander – Musician, cultural ambassador
  50. Rt. Reverend Monsignor Gladstone Wilson – Roman Catholic Priest, Jamaican Genius – the seventh most learned man in the world at the time of his death
  51. Mr. Ronald Thwaites – Attorney at Law, Politician, Commentator
  52. Rt. Hon. Hugh Lawson Shearer – Trade Unionist, service to the people, former Prime Minister of Jamaica
  53. Mr. Uriel Salmon – Educator extraordinaire
  54. Mr. Lifford Gustavius Coke – Educator extraordinaire
  55. Rev. Dr. Gerald O. Gallimore – Baptist Minister, Former Head of the World Youth for Christ
  56. Mr.      Asafa Powell – Athlete, former world record holder for the 100 m.
  57. Ms.      Merlene Ottey – Athlete, ambassador
  58. Dr.      D.R.B. Grant – Early childhood educator and policy maker
  59. Dr.      Lloyd Barnett – Attorney-at-Law, Human Rights Activist
  60. Mr.      Frank Phipps, QC – Attorney-at-Law
  61. Hon.      Daisy McFarlane-Coke – Actuary, 13th woman to qualify as an      actuary worldwide
  62. Rev.      Dr. Burchell K. Taylor – Baptist minister
  63. Mr.      Jimmy Cliff – Cultural icon
  64. Mrs.      Yvonne McCalla-Sobers – Human Rights Activist
  65. Mr.      Karl Parboosingh – Painter, cultural icon
  66. Mr.      Barrington Watson – Painter, cultural icon
  67. Hon.      Abe Issa – The Father of Jamaican Tourism
  68. Rt.      Hon. Edward Seaga – Services to Jamaican culture, former Prime Minister of      Jamaica
  69. Arch.      Bishop Samuel Carter
  70. Mr.      Oliver Samuels – Comedian, cultural icon
  71. Sir      Clifford Campbell – Former Governor General
  72. Ms.      Althea Laing – Role Model, first Jamaican supermodel
  73. Theodore      Whitmore – Footballer, won a World Cup match for Jamaica
  74. Ms.      Moyah Gibson – Music educator; introduced the Suzuki violin method to      Jamaica, founder of the Twinkle Ensemble and the Jamaica Young People      Symphony Orchestra
  75. Mrs.      Fay Ennever-Robotham – Music educator extraordinaire
  76. Mrs.      Edith Dalton-James -
  77. Mr.      Willard White – Opera Singer
  78. Mr.      Kingsley Cooper – Almost single-handed development of the modelling      industry in Jamaica, opportunities opened for young people in Jamaica.
  79. Mr.      Evon Blake – Journalist
  80. Rt.      Hon. Percival J. Patterson – re-awakened the debate on Values and      Attitudes in Jamaica, former Prime Minister of Jamaica
  81. Mr.      Peter Ashbourne – Composer
  82. Ms.      Paulette Bellamy – Composer
  83. Bishop      Herro Blair – Transparency International
  84. Professor      Trevor Munroe – Trade Unionist, work with Transparency International
  85. Mr.      Noel Dexter – Music Educator, Director of the internationally-acclaimed      University Singers
  86. Cudjoe      of the Maroons – Jamaican Resistance Movement
  87. Mr.      Carlton Alexander – Business tycoon
  88. Mr.      Douglas Orane – Business tycoon, former Senator
  89. Mr.      Wycliffe Bennett – Media Professional/ Educator
  90. Mr.      Tab Stokes and the other members of the 1988 Jamaican Bobsleigh Team
  91. Mr.      George Rodney – Painter
  92. Mr.      A.D.S. Coombs – Struggle toward Jamaican independence
  93. Mr.      Cecil Baugh – Master Potter
  94. Mr.      John Hearne – Journalist
  95. Capt.      Horace Burrell – Football administrator
  96. Prof.      the Hon. Hugh H. Wynter – Obstetrician and Gynaecologist
  97. Prof.      Louis Grant – Medical Researcher extraordinaire, Founder of FISH Clinic
  98. Dr. Harold M. Johnson, 1875-1974. Principal Medical Officer of health who      successfully led the fight against hookworm, ringworm, and malaria in      Jamaica.*
  99. Dr. William McCullough – Found cure for Black Water Fever and Trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness)*
  100. Dr. Leigh D. Lord – Blood transfusion pioneer who also developed “Tia Maria”, the world renowned coffee liquor.*
  101. Prof. Gerald Lalor – A physical chemist Prof. Lalor is known for the discovery of haematoxylin, a substance extracted from logwood and used in the diagnosis of cancer. Now retired from UWI, he served as a lecturer, creator of UWIDITE, the system of distance learning, and of Jamaica’s first geo-chemical map, which uncovered many previously unidentified elements. 1974-1995: He was the Pro-Vice Chancellor of UWI 1991: Became the second principal of the Mona campus. He remains involved in various research projects.*
  102. Dr. Kenneth Richards – Developed the “Richards Procedure” which made lung transplants feasible in humans.*
  103. Mr. George Steibel – Merchant, Devon House
  104. Tacky of the Maroons
  105. Mother Agnes Foster – Co-Founder of Salvation Army in Jamaica
  106. Mme. Rose Leon – Business woman, politician
  107. Ms. Linda Lowe – Jamaican missionary to Hong Kong for over 40 years; Volunteer for the Jamaica Child Evangelism Fellowship
  108. Professor Denise Eldemire-Shearer – Gerontologist, University educator
  109. Professor H. Orlando Patterson – Novelist, John Cowles Professor of Sociology, Harvard University
  110. Mr. Harry Belafonte – Entertainer
  111. Mr. Steven Woodham – Violinist, music educator
  112. Mr. Hector Wynter, University Educator, Diplomat
  113. Professor Mervyn Morris – Poet, University educator
  114. Professor Edward Baugh – Poet, University educator
  115. Professor Manley West – Inventor of Canisol, University researcher and educator
  116. Dr Frank Lockhart – Inventor of Canisol
  117. Mr. George Headley – Cricketer
  118. Mr. Lawrence Rowe – Cricketer
  119. Mr. Patrick Ewing – Basketballer
  120. Ms. Cindy Breakspeare – Miss World 1977
  121. Ms. Lisa Hanna – Miss World 1993, politician
  122. Mr. Albert Lee – Businessman
  123. Mr. Lee Goptal – Music Distributor (Trojan Records)
  124. Mr. Collie Smith – Cricketer
  125. Dr. Olive Lewin – Musicologist
  126. Mr. Sly Dunbar – Musician
  127. Mr. Robbie Shakespeare – Musician
  128. Sean Paul – Singer
  129. Mr. Herwin Auld – Lyricist, Visionary
  130. Mr. George Headley – Cricketer
  131. Dr. Henry Lowe – Scientist
  132. Mr. Vin Lawrence
  133. Hon. Gloria Knight – Financier
  134. Dr. Angella King – Ambassador
  135. Mrs. Rachel Manley – Novelist
  136. Hon. Usain Bolt – Elite Athlete – World Record Holder – 100m, 200m, 4x100m relay
  137. Dr. Daniel Coore – UWI Educator, Inventor – developer of the software for the UWI Cardiac Surgery Simulator – a device that uses software to animate a (real) pig’s heart in a mock (human) chest cavity to simulate the conditions of the operating theatre during open heart surgery, for the purposes of training cardiac surgery residents. Source:
  138. Mr. Jackie Mittoo – Musician
  139. Mr. Stephen Francis – Athletics Coach
  140. Mr. Glen Mills – Athletics Coach
  141. Mrs. Shelley-Ann Fraser Price – Elite Athlete




About Gabrielle Burns

I am a Jamaican at play here in this vast playground in cyberspace....Yes, at times I do like to live dangerously, but I AM also working hard at becoming more interesting by the day... :)
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3 Responses to The 141 Greatest Jamaicans? You decide…

  1. Charles says:

    Hey, I recognize several of these names! This is impressive and very interesting. Outside the presidents and the more famous artists I probably would have a hard time naming 141 important Americans.

  2. I’m quite impressed and touched by the fact that you know some of these names.

  3. I am indebted to Sen. Anthony Johnson for the information about the people with the asterisk (*).

    The persons whose names are in bold font will probably be just as famous 100 years from now as they are today. There are some others, for example, Miss Lou, whose work will be recognized to the extent that other Jamaicans keep developing in that area. I think that Shakespeare would have been forgotten if others hadn’t continued to perform his plays. I think that if we continue to develop poetry using the Jamaican language then Miss Lou will be our Shakespeare.

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