Photos: ‘Walk Together” Event Examines History

March 20, 2018

A group of more than a dozen people took part in the maiden ‘Walk Together’ event recently.

Glenn Fubler said, “Ben Adamson, Human Rights Commissioner, provided a wonderful overview of how a small group of Friendly Societies members, networked with a few lawyer-types, resulting in the liberation of 72 enslaved Americans from the U.S. ship The Enterprise.

“While this collaboration’s successful outcome led to celebrations across the island, it caused some fury in the U.S. Senate at the time.

“Progressive Labour Party Chairman Owen Darrell was the one walker present who is able to trace his heritage to those liberated in 1835.”


“The Recorder Building is an example of the collaboration of a small group of the United Negro Improvement Association membership. Wentworth Christopher, a senior PLP-member, waxed eloquently on how UNIA member, A.B. Place recognized that the pen was mightier than the sword, and started a bi-weekly called ‘The Recorder’ in the 1930’s; which lasted four decades.

“Christopher went on to provide an overview of historic contributions of St Paul AME, noting that the church started the first secondary school for blacks. While that project was not sustained, its principal – George DaCosta – was able to get the Berkeley Institute off the ground, 120 years ago. Walkers also heard of the key impact on Bermuda by former St. Paul’s pastors, such as Vernon Byrd and Larry Lowe.

“The corner of Victoria and Union Street offered a bounty of meaningful sites reflecting the rich heritage of North Hamilton.

“Clarence Darrell was key in the effort for the Manchester Unity Lodge to build the Colonial Opera House – where Mark Twain performed in the 1920s. Gilbert Darrell, Mansfield Brock and Tommy DeSilva established the Bermuda Retail Grocers Association which was a multi-racial cooperative effort, successful for almost a decade.

“People’s Pharmacy was identified as an example a family working together productively establishing a successful business to serve the community.

“On the porch of the Bermuda Industrial Union, walkers heard from the Credit Union’s Chairman of the Board – Graham Nisbett – about how they have expanded membership exponetially –over the last 6 years – from only BIU members to include BPSU and the BUT. This served as another example of the leverage of collaboration.

“This led a bit of good-humoured teasing about the Credit Union ‘overtaking’ other banks as Dr Grant Gibbons provided an overview of his grandfather – Edmund Gibbons – who lived in a small farm of the current site of the New Testament Church of God. Through inter-family collaboration, within a generation or so, the family business has grown from humble beginnings.

“Dr June Hill provided a heart-warming story on how a group of women, just after WWI took on the challenges facing orphaned Bermuda – children and established the Sunshine League. They became the first child-focused charity.

“The work of the original 1st Church God – Angle Street, resonated with the League’s attempt to provide a ‘safety net’ for families. Pastor Andre Bean provided an overview of its Garvey links.

“John Barritt reported on how his grandfather was a part of the Berkeley Educational society and multi-racial cooperative building projects.

“Thoroughly soaked, the group ended up at Alaska Hall for respite. Mr. Christopher described how the building came out of the Friendly Society movement and had housed two schools over the decades; first the home of iconic teacher, Edith Crawford and then May Francis’ precursor to the Girls’ Secondary School.

“The Progressive Labour Party purchased the Hall in the 1960s, providing an important base of operation for the island’s oldest party.

“Secure in the shelter of the Alaska Hall, Dr Clarence Maxwell provided a summary of the struggle overcome by the visionary founders of the Berkeley Institute. Sticking to principle, in spite of the odds, they started the island’s first school accessible to all, at the lot adjacent to “The Spinning Wheel”.

“This group of walkers on this initial occasion have ‘turned lemons into lemonade’, capturing the spirit of the elders who have encouraged the global community to take out time – regardless of differences – to ‘walk together.’

“Everyone is invited to shift from walk to talk on the evening of Tuesday, March 20th – the birthday of Dr E.F. Gordon – to join the ‘Community Dialogue’ from 6.30 – 8 pm at “The Spinning Wheel”.

Photos by Hannah Collins, click to enlarge:

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