William Morrison and the Jamaica Union of Teachers

Major W H Plant, of the Volunteer
Militia, Headmaster of Titchfield,
President of the J.U.T. 1902.

Daily Gleaner, January 9, 1902

[A report from the 1902 Conference of the Jamaica
Union of Teachers.


Mr. William Morrison, M.A., entered as His Excellency
[ the Governor, Sir Augustus Hemming] was about
The President [W H Plant] welcomed Mr. Morrison to
the Conference, after which Mr. Morrison gave a short address.

He was glad, he said, to be once more at the annual meeting of the Union. Ever since the association had been organised he had had the pleasure to
be present at one or other of the sessions. He was glad in reading the present
speeches of the late Presidents to find that there had been a considerable increase of membership. He agreed with the remarks of the retiring President
that there is still room for extension. This grand organisation would not be
complete until it had every teacher in the Island on its rolls. He did not mean
only the members of the elementary section of teachers but that of every grade.
If this was brought about they would be able to form one of the grandest Trades
Union ever formed throughout the Island, not only in educational matters, but in
political matters too. If they were united, if they all combined together by ties and common interests, then they should return every elected member of the Island.
(Hear, hear.) He was glad to see so many persons drawn to the honourable
profession to which he himself belonged which was the foremost of all professions. (Hear, hear.) They held the key that opened the door to all the professions; and speaking from experience, he himself was educated in one of
the parish schools of Scotland and knew something about the difficulties of an elementary school teacher. There was a tendency in this hard material age to look down upon the school master. It was not so very long ago Lord Elgin had mentioned a fact that among the toasts that used to be given, the first following that of the Queen was that of the schoolmaster. They hoped to live long enough to see the day when gentlemen after proposing the toast of the King and His Excellency the Governor as the representative of the King, they would propose the next toast to teachers. He expressed the hope that when they meet next year they shall see their number doubled and be able to stand with a united front for the cause of education.

The President thanked Mr. Morrison for his remarks

[It is of interest to note that Dr Robert Love, the prominent Black politician and journalist, was
elected to the Legislative Council in 1906 representing the parish of St Andrew, reputedly because
of his support of teachers' rights. note: he was the third Black member of the Legislative Council.]

Daily Gleaner, March 20, 1902


Last week the Jamaica Union of Teachers sustained a heavy loss in the death
of William Morrison Esq M.A., one of its honorary members. There are very few
persons who know the part that Mr. Morrison took in the formation of the Union.
He was the first gentleman who gave a subscription to have the Union started
and helped it all along its incipient stage. He not only gave money and advice,
but proclaimed its benefits through the public press and otherwise. Everything
in connection with its formation gave him concern and when the Union was
formed the rousing and soul enlivening address which he made is well
remembered. When certain gentlemen were approached with a view to honorary
membership in the Union, Mr. Morrison was the second among those who
responded in our favour, and from then until the day of his death he remained
faithful and true to the pledge he had made. When approached with a view to a
method which would bring the Union prominently before the teachers and the
public in general, Mr. Morrison advised the publication of weekly notes in the
newspapers; and he himself wrote several articles which effected their purpose.
He never failed to attend our conferences. Having received an invitation to
address the 1902 conference, he wrote stating that he was unable to do so
through impossible circumstances; but we approached him in person and
pressed the necessity of the visit. Thereupon he altered his plans, visited the
conference and gave the most powerful address we ever heard from his lips, -
an address that shall live for ever in the hearts of the teachers who heard him,
as well as in the minds of those who read that address as published in the
press. It was a Providence that brought him to that conference, for his powerful
address decided the future of the elementary teacher as far as politics is

Mr. Morrison was a gentleman in every sense of the word. Though he stood
second to none, educationally, he always bore with the infirmities of the
mean cultured. His kind, genial smile and noble bearing and deportment won
for him the esteem of every member of the Union. He was a changeless man
and a most kind-hearted gentleman, to take one's difficulties to him, was to
have them instantly, removed and his words of advice and fatherly consolation were always given from the bottom of his heart. He was one of the few men in whom implicit confidence could be placed. His place can
never be filled in the Union. That place must remain blank. But he will live
forever in the memory of those who knew him and heard of him.

The Jamaica Union of Teachers tenders to his afflicted widow and bereaved
family its deepest and profoundest condolence.

[Note: the months covering the formation of the JUT are missing from the run of the Gleaner
I am using, so I have not yet found the report of the speech made by Morrison at the JUT's
founding function.]

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