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Lawrence Vernon

was born in 1903 in Belize City, Belize. Born Floss Kemp, she was the youngest of seven children. Her father, Joseph Kemp, died when she was 1 year old, and she grew up with her mother Diana Kemp. While receiving her elementary education at Wesley School in Belize City, her sister, a versatile piano player, inspired Floss to take piano lessons, and she eventually became an accomplished piano teacher who taught two of Belize’s greatest musicians and composers: Dr. Colville Young (Belize’s governor general) and the concert pianist Francis Reneau.

On completing elementary school, Casasola entered the pupil–teacher training system, and after being certified as a trained teacher in her early teens she began teaching at Wesley School and then Ebenezer School, both in Belize City. A major hurricane devastated Belize City in 1931 and the years spent in reconstruction also affected Casasola s life as she relocated to ...


crystal am nelson

community leader and musician, was born Occramer Marycoo in West Africa. Although his country of origin is unknown, a 1757 ship manifest shows that he was brought to America at the age of fourteen. He was on one of that year's seven slaving voyages that brought a total of 831 African slaves to Rhode Island. Gardner was one of the 106,544 slaves brought to Newport, Rhode Island, between 1709 and 1807. Caleb Gardner, a white merchant and member of the principal slave-trading team Briggs & Gardner, bought the teenage Marycoo and baptized him into the Congregational faith as Newport Gardner.

The forced exposure to Christianity aided Gardner s rise to a leadership position in the New World He quickly learned English from daily Bible studies with his master who freed Gardner after overhearing him pray for emancipation Upon gaining his freedom Gardner combined his new religious fervor with ...