Groups Call For Renaming To ‘Freedom Square’

June 19, 2020 | 6 Comments

Campaigners across the island are calling for the Corporation of Hamilton to rename the campus of City Hall to ‘Freedom Square’ in order to “honour the people who took part in the 1959 Theatre Boycott.”

Glenn Fubler of Imagine Bermuda said, “Imagine Bermuda, a community group, and Citizens Uprooting Racism in Bermuda have launched a petition to honour the people who took part in the 1959 Theatre Boycott.

“In observance of the anniversary of the 1959 Theatre Boycott, those referenced below join in urging the Corporation of Hamilton to name the entire campus of City Hall ‘Freedom Square’.

“The Boycott, initiated by the anonymous Progressive Group, was a watershed challenge to segregation in Bermuda, honouring centuries of resistance to institutionalized racism and oppression.

“In 1959, the area of the current Car Park was an empty lot adjacent the building site of City Hall. It was a hub for three surrounding movie theatres. Consequently, as the Boycott took root, growing crowds of supporters spontaneously assembled on that sacred ground.

“Those ordinary people engaged in an extraordinary mission, reinforced the notion that black lives matter.

“On that sacred ground, volunteer champions creatively facilitated ‘pop-up’ rallies with gifted oratory including Comrade Richard Lynch, Kingsley Tweede and others. The positive energy of those gatherings fostered that transformational movement’s success.

“On July 2, 1959, Bermuda opened up with major racial barriers removed. In subsequent years, the Boycott’s momentum cleared other dominoes of segregation, including leveraging the Voting Rights Campaign’s success in 1960.

“Since opening, City Hall has become a venue for historic events, including the 1969 Black Power Conference coordinated by voting rights campaigner Roosevelt [Pauulu Kamarakafego] Brown. As a cultural centre, City Hall’s location has made it one of the pivotal platforms for promoting social justice and community building.

“One impact of institutionalized racism is the marginalization of the people and culture subjected to same. Our island’s transformational journey to promote a just and free society requires opening access to all – including those marginalized.

“During this global moment, we are reminded that we stand on the shoulders of giants. In this regard – especially for upcoming generations – we deeply urge the Corporation of Hamilton to name this iconic area ‘Freedom Square’.

“We invite those supporting this push to express themselves through Change.org.

Hosting Groups include Imagine Bermuda & Citizens Uprooting Racism in Bermuda [CURB]. Supporting Group is Social Justice Bermuda [SJB]. Supporting community personalities [on their own behalf] are Joan Dillas Wright, Dr. Duranda Greene; Wendell Hollis; Kim Jackson; Dennis Lister; W. Alex Scott; and Richard Winchell.”

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Comments (6)

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  1. spoons says:

    Perhaps there should be discussion about renaming the parishes? Only the parish of St. George’s doesn’t bear the name of someone who made money off the backs of enslaved men, women and children.

    • sandgrownan says:

      Do you know that for sure? A quick internet search indicates none of them actually lived here, but were all involved in the Virginia Company. It’s a really interesting read about that company’s involvement in slavery. Go look it up.

      The question is, does renaming anything change anything? Does it actually, by accident, lead to us understanding history? What are we trying to achieve here?

  2. Vortex says:

    Terrible idea, political correctness gone mad.

  3. Toodle-oo says:

    20 plus years and many name changes later and it seems that no-one is any happier , in fact I’d speculate even angrier.
    This is going to make no difference whatsoever in spite of the grandiose and false implications of the suggested name.

  4. Rachel says:

    Seriously, has it come to this?
    This is bandwagon jumping and in years to come, this will seem ridiculous.
    Can we move on please.

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