Truth and Rights: Celebrating Martin Luther King in the Caribbean

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January 21, 2013

Words by Jesse Serwerโ€”

Martin Luther King in Jamaica

Martin Luther King Day might only be a federal holiday in the U.S. but the late civil rights leader’s memory is celebrated throughout the Caribbean. MLK visited Jamaica in June of 1965, giving a speech to graduates at the University of West Indies-Mona and addressing large crowds at the National Stadium, where the Jamaica Gleaner photo above was taken. King also made several visits to the Bahamas, where he wrote two of his best-known speeches while on vacation in Bimini; that island recently unveiled a bronze bust in tribute to the late civil rights leader and his time there. (Read more about MLK’s time in the Bahamas here).

Like Haile Selassie (though to a much lesser extent), MLK’s brief visits to the region left a lasting impact on the culture as well as its music. Scroll through the thumbnails for a selection of Martin-themed tunes from the islands.