Robert Love (1839-1914) - The National Library of Jamaica

Robert Love (1839-1914)

Joseph Robert Love was born in the Bahamas on the 2nd of October, 1839. He began his career first as a teacher and then went to Florida in the United States of America, where he took orders in the Episcopalian Church. He also studied medicine at the University of Buffalo and gained an M.D. degree. Love was a great admirer of Toussaint L’Ouverture, Haiti’s first patriot and he spent 10 years in Haiti (the first black republic) and was appointed to a high executive post in the Medical Department. There, he continued as an Anglican Clergyman and became a Rector of a church in Port au Prince.

In 1889, Love came to Jamaica where he started the influential newspaper the “Jamaica Advocate”. Love soon made a name for himself as a fearless journalist. He was deeply concerned with the social conditions of black people in Jamaica. Using his paper, he tackled serious questions such as Negro education from the black man’s point of view. He believed that young girls, as well as young boys should be educated up to the secondary level. One of his main themes was that a people cannot rise above the standards of its womanhood. The Advocate encouraged black people to assert their equality, educate themselves and develop self esteem and pride in their African heritage.

In 1906, Love campaigned for the seat of St. Andrew in the general elections and won. He was also chairman of the St. Andrew Parochial Board, a member of the Kingston General Commissions and a Wolmer’s Trustee. He was also a Justice of the Peace for Kingston. Love¬† did not think factors such as skin colour or status should be important when selecting a representative. It was his philosophy that the blackman should not consider himself inferior to the white man in any way at all. He is charged with having helped change the attitudes of white Jamaicans towards those of colour.

Love published two works, “Romanism is not Christianity” in 1892 and in 1897 “St. Peter’s true position in the church, clearly traced in the Bible”. He became ill in 1906 and was forced to end his short but active political career in 1910. Robert Love died on 21, November 1914 and is buried in the Parish Church yard at Half Way Tree. Robert Love is also noted to have had a strong influence on the thinking and work of Marcus Garvey.