Norman Washington Manley father of Michael Manley founded the People’s National Party which later was tied to the Trade Union Congress and the N.W. U. Together with Bustamante, their efforts resulted in the New Constitution of 1944 granting full Adult Suffrage. In 1955 Manley was elected Chief Minister. The 400 year British Rule, invoking slavery, deculturisation, uprising and bloodshed was not at an end.
Norman Washington Manley was born at Roxborough, Manchester, on July 4, 1893. He was a brilliant scholar and athlete, soldier (First World War) and Lawyer.
He identified himself with the cause of the workers at the time of the labor troubles of 1938 and donated time and advocacy to the cause.
In September1938, Manley founded the People’s National Party and was elected its President annually until his retirement 31 years later.
Manley and the PNP supported the trade union movement, then led by Alexander Bustamante, while leading the demand for Universal Adult Suffrage. When Suffrage came, Manley had to wait ten years and two terms before his party was elected to office.
He was a strong advocate of the Federation of the West Indies, established in 1958, but when Sir Alexander Bustamante declared that opposition Jamaica Labor Party would take Jamaica out of the Federation, Norman Manley, already renowned for his integrity and commitment to democracy, called a referendum, unprecedented in Jamaica, to let the people decide.
The vote was decidedly against Jamaica’s continued membership of the Federation. Norman Manley, after arranging Jamaica’s orderly withdrawal from the union, set up a joint committee to decide on a constitution for separate independence for Jamaica.
He himself chaired the committee with great distinction and then led the team that negotiated our independence from Britain.
The issue settled, Manley again went to the people. He lost the ensuing election to the JLP and gave his last years of service as Leader of the Opposition, establishing definitively the role of the parliamentary opposition in a developing nation.
In his last public address to an annual conference of the PNP, he said: "I say that the mission of my generation was to win self-government for Jamaica. To win political power which is the final power for the black masses of my country from which I spring. I am proud to stand here today and say to you who fought that fight with me, say it with gladness and pride, ’Mission accomplished for my generation’.
"And what is the mission of this generation?… It is…reconstructing the social and economic society and life of Jamaica".
Norman Manley died on September 2, 1969.