Upcoming Event To Focus On Bermuda History

April 20, 2015

Tuesday, April 21st is the anniversary of the successful passage in 1944, of the Law in Parliament for the right for women to vote.

In light of this, Imagine Bermuda and The Centre for Justice are collaborating by holding a Roundtable Discussion at Cathedral Hall, from 12.30 – 1.30 pm on Tuesday on the implications of this history for our society today.

“The connection between these two dates is symbolic of a deeper link between two movements. We will explore an important synergy between them,” a spokesperson said.

“The right for women to vote came after two decades of campaigning by the Suffragette Movement, led by Gladys Morrell – a woman who was able to think ‘outside the box’. During the numerous Parliamentary attempts on this matter, the 5 or 6 Black Parliamentarians would always oppose it, fearing that this half measure would undermine the goal of having Universal Suffrage established.

“However, in the spring of 1944 one of their number, Dr. Eustace Cann decided to think ‘outside the box’. He supported the vote, even though it fell short of his ultimate goal. Overcoming the pressure from peers, Dr Cann acted on principle in the context of the big picture.

“Within months of this step, during the Summer of ‘44, artisans working at the US Naval Base had a wage dispute and took steps to organize the Bermuda Workers’ Association. They approached Dr Cann for advice, and with his assistance quickly formalized the organization.

“They subsequently asked Cann to serve as their president, but he declined, on the grounds of his diverse responsibilities. Subsequently the BWA invited Dr. Gordon, who accepted the invitation to become their president.

“Morrell and Dr. Cann had decided to think ‘outside the box’ and women gained the right to vote. It is arguable that there was a shift in the social climate of the island at that time, which positively influenced workers at the Naval Base to think ‘outside the box’. At the Roundtable Discussion, we’ll reflect on how an ‘outside the box’ approach linked the Suffragettes’ campaign to the Gordon Movement, and the implications for today’s Bermuda.

“Kick-starting the Roundtable Discussion will be Historian/Journalist Meredith Ebbin; Executive Officer of the Centre for Justice –lawyer Venous Memari; grand-daughter of Gladys Morrell –Kathy Bromby and Human Rights Commission Officer – Sara Clifford.

“Sandwiches and beverage will be available for those attending.”

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Category: All, History