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Thu, 08.18.1949

Beverley Bryan, Cultural Educator born

Beverley Bryan

*Beverley Bryan was born on this date in 1949.  She is a retired Jamaican academic and professor. 

Bryan was born in the district of Fairy Hill in Portland, Jamaica. In 1950, her uncle migrated to London. Her parents followed in 1953, settling in Battersea, while Bryan and her siblings remained in Jamaica.  Her London neighborhood had a large Afro-Caribbean community, a part of the Windrush Generation.

Bryan studied teaching at Keele University, Staffordshire, and moved back to Brixton to teach at a primary school. Bryan later undertook further studies at the University of London, graduating with a B.A. in English, an M.A., and PhD. in language education.  She was a member of the British Black Panthers in the early 1970s, and later helped found the Black Women's Group, which shared similar radical views.  She co-authored the book The Heart of the Race, published in 1985 by Virago and reissued in 2018 (focusing on the impact of the book since publication and its continuing relevance).  

In 1992, Bryan moved back to Jamaica to join the University of the West Indies (UWI) as a lecturer in educational studies. She was promoted to senior lecturer in 2002 and to professor in 2011 and served as head of the Department of Educational Studies. Bryan is a leading authority on Jamaican Creole learners of English and has worked as a consultant to the Ministry of Education on language policy. She has also advised other Caribbean governments on literacy policies, as well as serving as a member of the United Nations Literacy Decade Experts' Group.  She was one of the founders of the Caribbean Poetry Project, a collaboration between UWI and the University of Cambridge which aims to increase the visibility of Caribbean writers in the UK. 

Bryan was the keynote speaker at the Eighth Annual Huntley Conference in 2013, addressing the topic "Educating Our Children, Liberating Our Futures". She is a contributor to the 2019 anthology New Daughters of Africa (edited by Margaret Busby) with "A Windrush Story".  In June 2020, Bryan spoke about her involvement with the Black Panther Movement in a rare interview with Tell A Friend podcast.  She spoke about the challenges she experienced during the 1970s era of racial discrimination.     

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