Joseph Robert Love
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Joseph Robert Love, known as Dr. Robert Love (2 October 1839–21 November 1914), was a 19th-century Bahamian-born medical doctor, clergyman, teacher, journalist, and politician. He lived, studied, and worked successively in the Bahamas, the United States, Haiti, and Jamaica. Love spent the last decades of his life in Jamaica, where he held political office, published a newspaper, and advocated for the island's black majority.
Early life, education and fraternal affiliations
Love was born in the Bahamas on 2 October 1839. He worked as a teacher before going to Florida, where he became a clergyman in the Episcopalian Church. He also studied medicine and obtained a medical degree at the University of Buffalo in New York. He subsequently moved to Haiti, where he served as the rector of an Anglican church in Port-au-Prince and held a high post in the country's medical department. Love was an admirer of Toussaint Louverture, one of Haiti's famous founding fathers.
In 1870, Rev. Joseph Robert Love was deputized by the Independent Grand Lodge of New York to organize lodges in the South. In compliance with his commission he organized the first Independent Grand Lodge of Florida and Georgia. He served as the 1st Most Worshipful Grand Master of Prince Hall Mason for two years 1870-1872 in the Most Worshipful Sovereign Grand Lodge of Florida and in the Most Worshipful Sovereign Grand Lodge of Georgia 1873-1875 for two years. After the Delaware conference in 1878 to dissolve the National Grand Lodge both states agreed upon a merger between the Most Worshipful Sovereign Grand Lodges and Union Grand Lodge of Compact National Grand Lodge organized in June 25,1875 the Florida/Georgia. In Florida the Prince Hall Affiliated body is known as the Most Worshipful Union Grand Lodge Most Ancient and Honorable Fraternity, Free and Accepted Masons, State of Florida and Belize, Central America, Jurisdiction, Incorporated Prince Hall Affiliated and Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Georgia Free and Accepted Masons.
After 10 years in Haiti, Love moved to Jamaica in 1889. There he started the Jamaica Advocate, which became an influential newspaper on the island. Love used the paper as a forum to express his concern for the living conditions of Jamaica's black population. He was a staunch advocate of access to education for the majority of the population. He believed that girls, like boys, should receive secondary school education.
In 1906, Love won the St. Andrew Parish seat in Jamaica's general elections. He also served as chairman of the St. Andrew Parochial Board, as well as a justice of the peace in Kingston, the Kingston General Commissions and as a Wolmer's trustee. Love published two works, Romanism is Not Christianity (1892), and St. Peter's True Position in the Church, Clearly Traced in the Bible (1897). In 1906 Love's health began to deteriorate, and by 1910 he had been forced to end his political career. He died on 21 November 1914, and was buried in the parish church yard at Half Way Tree, near the city of Kingston. Love's activism in favour of Jamaica's economically depressed black majority influenced later Jamaican and Caribbean activists, including Marcus Garvey.
- Kathleen E. A. Monteith and Glen Richards (eds), Jamaica in Slavery and Freedom: History, Heritage and Culture, Kingston, Jamaica: The University of the West Indies, 2002, p. 379.
- "Love, Robert", Biographies of Jamaican Personalities. National Library of Jamaica.