Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
Life

Throwback Thursday: Guyana’s Jewish President

Throwback Thursday is a weekly photo feature in which we sift 116 years of Forward history to find snapshots of women’s lives.

Born in Chicago, Janet Rosenberg was the first female president of Guyana, the country’s first Jewish and U.S. born leader and the third woman elected as chief executive of a country in the Western Hemisphere.

Rosenberg met her husband Cheddie Jagan, an Indo-Guyanese dental student, while she was a student nurse at a Chicago hospital. They married in August 1943 and by December had moved back to Guyana where they co-founded the People’s Progressive Party which opposed British colonial rule of Guyana. In the 1953 photo above, Rosenberg is in the center with Jagan to the right of her, surrounded by other founding members of the party.

Rosenberg and Jagan were also active in the labor movement, and she worked in his dental clinic as a nurse. In 1946 she founded the Women’s Political and Economic Organization in Guyana. She was awarded Guyana’s highest national award, the Order of Excellence. After a brief stint as Guyana’s prime minister, Rosenberg served as president from 1997 to 1999.

Long involved with the literary and cultural life of Guyana, she edited poetry anthologies celebrating Guyanese poets and focused on publishing works on Guyanese culture for children and adults.

Photo credit Forward Association

Engage

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.