MAMO! Is the riveting biography of Dame Mary Eugenia Charles, Prime Minister of Dominica. Mamo, was the popular nickname given Charles by islanders who she led with stern resolve for fifteen years. The work provides insight into the life of one of the leading figures in Caribbean history and one of the most notable females to ever to lead any country in recent times. The product of a 1996 interview and notes from thirteen years of interaction with Dominican born attorney and community leader Gabriel Christian, the book ...
MAMO! Is the riveting biography of Dame Mary Eugenia Charles, Prime Minister of Dominica. Mamo, was the popular nickname given Charles by islanders who she led with stern resolve for fifteen years. The work provides insight into the life of one of the leading figures in Caribbean history and one of the most notable females to ever to lead any country in recent times. The product of a 1996 interview and notes from thirteen years of interaction with Dominican born attorney and community leader Gabriel Christian, the book begins with a splendid introduction by Justice Irving Andre (PhD) - a Canadian jurist and legal scholar who has become the preeminent biographer of Dominica s leaders of the modern era. The work spotlights Dame Charles early life in Dominica; her father s involvement in the local legislator and the politics of Caribbean nationalism. We witness her encounter with racism, and resistance to segregation laws, while travelling through the southern United States of the Jim Crow era while on her way to law school at the University of Toronto; her days at law school under famed Canadian legal scholar Bora Laskin is detailed. Upon her return to Dominica, Eugenia Charles becomes the first Dominican female lawyer. In this work we read of her founding the Dominica Freedom Party and how she was later catapulted into power by a land slide electoral victory in July 1980, after the ravages of civil strife and the devastation of Hurricane David in 1979 had sent Dominica reeling. Born in 1919 to a striving middle class family, Miss Charles tells of her father, John Baptiste JB Charles, an equally amazing figure who travelled the world in the early 1900s and agitated for political representation for Dominicans and British West Indian Federation. A closet follower of Marcus Garvey s UNIA, Miss Charles father grew wealthy by virtue of hard work, thrift and industry; he exported limes and lime oil and becoming the first black man to open a bank on the island of Dominica. He also corresponded with Booker T. Washington and famed African American scientist Dr. George Washington Carver; sent his first son at age 12 to study under Carver at Tuskegee Institute and Morehouse College; both his sons Rennie and Lawrence - later becoming physicians after graduating from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. Miss Charles relates that her only sister, Jane, became a nun, after rejecting her father s efforts to have her enter the field of science. Inspired by a strong willed mother, Josephine, and a visionary father, Miss Charles became the first female head of government in the America s - and the first black female Prime Minister of the modern era. In her usual blunt, yet charmingly colorful style, we learn of her role in the US invasion of Grenada on October 25, 1983 when allied with US President Ronald Reagan. She describes how, through tough decisions and shrewd tactics, she defeated two attempts to topple her regime by her own Defence Force and Ku Klux Klan mercenaries. Of conservative hue, Eugenia Charles ruled Dominica from 1980 to 1995 with a degree of tough pragmatism, from the political center. In the waning days of the Cold War she sought alliances with which to advance programs of equal access to education, health care and assistance to farmers. For her sterling leadership to the cause of the British Commonwealth, Eugenia Charles was knighted a Dame Commander of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth, II in 1991. Though dead since 2005, her heroic image as The Iron Lady still looms large in the popular memory. In this book, the Grand Dame of Caribbean politics reveals her life in stark detail for the first time; and she emerges as a symbol of integrity in office for those who value governance in the public interest.
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