Jessica Huntley

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Jessica Huntley
Jessica Elleisse Carroll

(1927-02-23)23 February 1927
Bagotstown, British Guiana (now Guyana)
Died13 October 2013(2013-10-13) (aged 86)
Ealing Hospital, London, United Kingdom
OccupationPublisher and community rights activist
Known forFounder of Bogle-L'Ouverture Publications (1969)
Spouse(s)Eric Huntley, m. 1950
Children3, inc. Accabre Huntley

Jessica Elleisse Huntley (née Carroll; 23 February 1927 – 13 October 2013) was a Guyanese-born British publisher, and a women's and community rights activist, notable as the founder in 1969 of Bogle-L'Ouverture Publications in London.

Early life[edit]

She was born in Bagotstown, British Guiana (now Guyana), the only daughter and youngest of five children of James Carroll and his wife, Hectorine.[1]


In May 1953, Huntley co-founded in then British Guiana the Women's Progressive Organization to focus on women's rights as part of the People's Progressive Party's (PPP) independence struggle.[1]

Huntley was appointed as the organizing secretary of the PPP, and stood as a candidate in the general election, but was not elected. She moved to the UK in April 1958, following her husband, who had moved there in 1957 to look for work.[1]

Bogle-L'Ouverture Publications[edit]

In 1969 Huntley co-founded, with her husband Eric Huntley, the London-based publishing company Bogle-L'Ouverture Publications (BLP), which was named in honour of two heroes of the Caribbean resistance, Toussaint L'Ouverture and Paul Bogle.[2] Beginning with The Groundings With My Brothers, by Guyanese historian and scholar Walter Rodney,[3][4] BLP went on to publish books by an expanding range of authors, including Andrew Salkey, Linton Kwesi Johnson, Lemn Sissay and Valerie Bloom.[2]

A blue plaque unveiled in October 2018 outside the Huntleys' West Ealing home commemorates their work in the founding of Bogle-L'Ouverture.[5]

Other activity[edit]

Among other activism, Huntley was a co-founder with Margaret Busby and others of Greater Access to Publishing (GAP), a voluntary group campaigning for greater diversity within the mainstream publishing industry.[6][7]

Personal life[edit]

In 1948, she first met Eric Huntley (born 1929), who was at the time a postal worker and trade union activist.[1] They married on 9 December 1950, lived for a period in the village of Buxton, and they co-founded a political study group that met in their rented house; and had two sons there: Karl (who was named after Karl Marx) in 1951, and Chauncey in 1952.[1]

On 13 October 2013, Huntley died in Ealing Hospital, and was survived by her husband, Eric, and their children Chauncey and Accabre.[1] Their son, Karl, died two years earlier, on the same day as her.[1] Hundreds of people went to her funeral at Southall's Christ the Redeemer Church, and she was buried in Greenford Park Cemetery.[1]

Archives and legacy[edit]

In 2005, papers relating to the business of Bogle-L'Ouverture, together with documents concerning the personal, campaigning and educational initiatives of Jessica and Eric Huntley from 1952 to 2011, were deposited at London Metropolitan Archives (LMA).[8][9][10]

Since 2006, the Huntley Archives at LMA have inspired an annual conference on themes reflecting different elements of the content of the collection.

A blue plaque, organized by the Nubian Jak Community Trust and others, was unveiled in October 2018 outside the Ealing home of Jessica Huntley and Eric Huntley to commemorate their work in founding Bogle-L'Ouverture.[11][12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Busby, Margaret. "Jessica Huntley". Retrieved 18 November 2017.
  2. ^ a b Busby, Margaret (27 October 2013). "Jessica Huntley obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved 18 November 2017.
  3. ^ Petamber Persaud, "Preserving Our Literary Heritage", Guyana Chronicle, 2 August 2014.
  4. ^ "Bogle-L'Ouverture", George Padmore Institute.
  5. ^ "Blue plaque to mark work of Ealing activist couple", Ealing Times, 28 September 2018.
  6. ^ Margaret Busby, "Introduction"], New Daughters of Africa, London: Myriad Editions, 2019.
  7. ^ Asha Rogers, State Sponsored Literature: Britain and Cultural Diversity after 1945, Oxford University Press, 2020, p. 106.
  8. ^ "Huntley Archives", London Metropolitan Archives, City of London.
  9. ^ "Black African Caribbean Community archives", London Metropolitan Archives: Information Leaflet Number 21.
  10. ^ Maureen Roberts and Richard Wiltshire, "Archive Treasures: The Huntley Archives", London Metropolitan Archives — The Collections, 12 November 2013.
  11. ^ "Blue plaque to mark work of Ealing activist couple", Ealing Times, 28 September 2018.
  12. ^ Michelle Yaa Asantewa, "The Huntley Blue Plaque Memorial Tribute: 'A community Healing Experience'", Way wive wordz, 20 October 2018.

Further reading[edit]

  • Margaret Andrews, Doing Nothing is Not An Option: The Radical Lives of Eric & Jessica Huntley, Middlesex, England: Krik Krak, 2014. ISBN 978-1-908415-02-8.

External links[edit]