Jessica Huntley

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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]

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).[6][7][8]

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 was unveiled in October 2018 outside the Ealing home of Jessica Huntley and Eric Huntley to commemorate their work in founding Bogle-L'Ouverture.[9]


  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. ^ "Huntley Archives", London Metropolitan Archives, City of London.
  7. ^ "Black African Caribbean Community archives", London Metropolitan Archives: Information Leaflet Number 21.
  8. ^ Maureen Roberts and Richard Wiltshire, "Archive Treasures: The Huntley Archives", London Metropolitan Archives — The Collections, 12 November 2013.
  9. ^ "Blue plaque to mark work of Ealing activist couple", Ealing Times, 28 September 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]