The Story Of Beverly Jones: The Woman Who Engaged In Guerrilla Warfare During The Black Power Movement
Beverly Jones represented women in the armed struggle during the Black Power Movement!
The Black Power Movement was an event in Trinidad and Tobago's history where issues that affected black people were brought to the forefront. Many black men and women fought and died for some of the things we take for granted on a daily basis, like seeing these beautiful black women, both of African and East Indian descent, working at commercial banks. The BPM started in February 1970, and some of the issues that were highlighted include institutional racism, unemployment and alienation of the working class.
Women were pivotal contributors to this movement and struggle. They played an active role in both the mass demonstrations and the subsequent guerrilla struggle. Ayesha Mutope and Josanne Leonard, played leading roles in the secondary school movement through the National Organisation of Revolutionary Students. Women also supported the movement by distributing pamphlets, provision of administrative skills as well as food and refreshments for meetings. They also held discussions with people in poorer communities, debating the meaning of Black Power and the revolutionary literature in circulation.
Beverly Jones, along with her sister Jennifer Jones represented women in the armed struggle during the Black Power Movement. They were both part of the National Union of Freedom Fighters (NUFF), a more radicalised organisation that was created out of NJAC due to the excessive and exploitative treatment by some branches of the police force. Beverly was killed in the Caura- Lopinot hills on 13th September, 1973, two weeks before her 18th birthday. Clem Haynes, one of the fellow members of NUFF, gave his account of Beverly's last moments.
After a while I looked to my left and I saw Beverly was wounded... a bullet to the side of her face which showed some of her teeth and another shot to her leg. When she could not resist any longer and started to become weaker she asked for some water and two brothers took her down to the river. While giving her some water there was some cracking in the bushes and had to move again and again until the very last time when she was placed under a green blanket to try to camouflage her and suddenly some soldiers appeared shooting very rapidly and there was no time to pick her up again and the soldiers opened fire on her and murdered her right there UNDER the blanket." - CLEM HAYNES
Members of the National Joint Action Committee (NJAC) wore green uniforms and dashikis as they came out to pay their respect, while demonstrators carried portraits of Jones as they danced and chanted. Hundreds of marchers followed a drum procession from Belmont to the Lapeyrose cemetery, where Jones is immortalised as one of the female heroines of the movement.