Ajala Omodele: “Black Stories Matter”

September 1, 2019

Writer Ajala Omodele is set to tackle “revisionist historical propaganda” at ThinkFest next month.

Following last week’s successful debut is “Black stories matter: why we must write, teach and pass on the stories of the lions” presented by Mr Omodele whose work focuses on the history of people of African descent in Bermuda.

Mr Omodele is the author of “Dame Lois: The People’s Advocate”, “They Called Him ‘Roose’: Pauulu Kamarakafego and the Making of a Bermudian Revolutionary” and “Look For Me in the Whirlwind: A Story of Marcus Garvey”.

He is currently applying the finishing touches to “A Tale of Two Women: Sally Bassett, Mary Prince and the True Story of Slavery in Bermuda”.

Ajala Omodele Bermuda Aug 30 2019

He describes his work as the “antidote” to conventional, official narratives of Bermuda history.

Mr Omodele said: “I will speak on the ways in which the revisionist propaganda in the work of white authors and historians writing on slavery in Bermuda attempts to absolve white enslavers of culpability in the waking nightmare that was chattel slavery here in Bermuda, the ‘why’ behind the need to peddle this lie and the weaponization of this myth to create the idea that Black Bermuda, then and now, has precious little about which to complain.”

He added: “Black Stories capture the power, grace, courage and creativity of our People. Here in the Devil’s Isles, the right to tell the stories of Black Bermuda has long been contested between those who were invested in peddling the narrative of Bermuda as an oasis of racial colour-blindness, where the thorny politics of race were, at best, an afterthought and those who sought to give voice to the struggles engaged in and victories won by the Black Bermudian majority in their centuries-long battle against the monstrous machinations of institutionalized white supremacy.

“We’ve always known that Black stories were powerful. Indeed, Black stories – or rather, the lack of access to local and international Black stories – inspired Black Bermudian youth to stage a sit-in to demand that they be included in the curriculum.

“No more did they want to be subjected to the celebratory tales of the hunters-as-heroes. And no more did they wish to be force-fed the myth of their island home as “another world” of peaceable, interracial coexistence, where Bermuda’s history was recast as one in which the grateful, Black Bermudian object and the charitable, white Bermudian subject enjoyed a refreshingly collegial intimacy that was evident even during the days of chattel slavery.”

ThinkFest is Bermuda’s first seminar series featuring an all Bermudian cast of outstanding academics and independent thinkers.

Ayo Johnson, founder of ThinkMedia which is producing ThinkFest, said: “Omodele’s work is refreshing, urgent and essential – especially for the generation of young African Bermudians. We’re looking forward to a robust, erudite and insightful discussion on September 10.”

The newest event on the Bermuda calendar, ThinkFest is an opportunity for the island to celebrate and acknowledge Bermudian academics and independent thinkers, a platform for networking with potential employers, funders, other academics and researchers and a forum for discussing the latest research in a wide variety of fields.

Each of the ThinkFest presenters dive deeply into a single topic for an extended period, followed by a chat with a host and audience Q and A. The September 10 event will be hosted by poet Tiffany Paynter.

The festival of Bermudian thought leaders will also feature archaeologist Catherine Draycott in the second week of September, followed by researchers Cordell Riley and Robert Stubbs and ends with a talk by historian Theodore Francis.

Tickets for ThinkFest 2019 events can be purchased online at think.bm/events or at the door. Visit the website for more information.

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Category: All, History, News

Comments (4)

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  1. Rocky5 says:

    Looking forward to this.

  2. Shari-Lynn Pringle says:

    Got my tickets. Looking forward to this and others presenting at Thinkfest.

  3. Excellent!!
    Well done, Ajala!!
    You should share a story of THOSE who say “HI GOOD MORNING”, and do not like OUR PEOPLE!! Irritating group!!
    Yup!! I wanna attend!!

  4. Gustav says:

    look Forward
    not backwards