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They hide in plain sight; some cared for, but little known and understood, others neglected and almost forgotten.

Lillian’s Restaurant

I wont pretend that the slavery origins of this country don’t contain many painful memories, but history wont change by ignoring it.

For example, take the lovely, quaint building that now hosts a restaurant, Lillian’s, at the University of Technology. It’s housed in what was reportedly an overseer’s house, on the former Mona Sugar Estate. It now gives students of hospitality and hotel business a workplace to develop their skills. Yes, it has the accolade of being protected as part of the National Heritage Trust. But, what of its origins and its history? Should it just stay there in relative blissful anonymity?

View from restaurant onto UTech campus

We can always argue that more important topics are there to be discussed or fought over. But, each day that passes pushes hidden knowledge further away.

With no criticism for anyone involved, I imagine what it would be like if visitors and nationals alike knew of the rich history that sits in that unprepossessing area that leads up to the urban mess that is Papine.

Yes, the archiologists have been watching over the developments going on at the university sites, and trying to figure out what and whom the bones represent. Yes, it would be a wonderful thing to have a separate exhibit on one of the sites of higher learning as testimony to those who went before and made now possible.

In general, Jamaica has not seen its history as part of its offerings to the world. One bumps into it, incidentally, and very specifically, as with Port Royal, Devon House, and Rose Hall as notable examples. But, we utter little about Sligoville, the abused beauty of Spanish Town, the many features that dot the landscape, like parts of sugar mills, and marked slave graveyards.

Do we love ourselves enough to care about that?

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