Emanuel Christopher Loblack was born at Grand Bay. By the 1930’s he was a master mason with the public works Department who was strongly influenced by what was happening in the rest of the British West Indies at the time where serious labour struggles and the formation of trade unions and workers associations was in action. He was a passionate and determined man who commanded a great influence among the workers. Loblack was also encouraged by his discussions with Lord Citrine, a member of the Moyne Commission, who urged workers leaders in all of the colonies he visited to form trade unions as a means of affecting necessary change.
Before the Second World War was over, Loblack had solicited the help of Ralph Nicholls and Austin Winston, and on 11 January 1945 the first trade union in Dominica, the Dominica Trade Union was informed. Loblack campaigned all over the island and within six months there were 26 branches of the union. Not long afterwards Loblack became president of the union, the Union altered the hours of work for labourers and domestics and organized the port workers. It purchased its own property in Roseau and the DTU Hall became a bastion of free school speech in Dominica as all major political meetings were held there. Here a represented Dominica in Britain at the international Conference of Free Trade Unions and took the opportunity to put Dominica’s problems before the Colonial Office.
Loblack’s work with the union among tenants on estates was particularly important and resulted in the Agricultural Small Tenancies Act of 1953 giving legal protection for tenants. In 1955, along with Phyllis ShandAllfrey, Loblack founded The Dominica Labour Party in 1968 and was a political activist until the end of his life. His single-handed contribution to the advancement of the labour movement, universal adult suffrage and political change for the benefit of the masses of the Dominican people mark Loblack out as hero of Dominica.
Article by Dr. Lennox Honeychurch