JAMAICA’S BLACK POLITICAL PIONEERS: Alexander Dixon and Dr Joseph R. Love

ONE HUNDRED and twenty-two years ago, on February 1, 1899, Alexander Dixon was elected to the Legislative Council at Headquarters House in Kingston. Dixon, a candidate from St Elizabeth, was the first black man to be elected to the legislature since the Morant Bay Rebellion of 1865. Undoubtedly, Dixon’s election opened a new chapter in Jamaican political history.Alexander Dixon (1852-1917), a graduate of The Mico College, worked as a teacher before settling in St Elizabeth as a businessman. In 1896, Dixon offered himself as a candidate during the general election but was unsuccessful. In 1899, he stood as a candidate in the by-election and reversed his fortunes. This election was a stormy affair as Dixon was in uncharted waters and faced many negative commentaries in the newspapers for being ugly, unintelligent and lacking common sense, among other unkind descriptions. Many persons in the society were simply not ready to see a black man elected to the legislature. Despite the negative campaign against him, Dixon triumphed. In 1901, Dixon was re-elected and served as a member of the Legislative Council until 1904. Following the end of his tenure in the Legislative Council, Dixon, along with others, founded National Club, an association to examine the problems of Jamaica. In addition, he served as a member of the Kingston City Council from 1912 until his death in 1917.

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