Students Take Part In ‘Walk Through History’

May 26, 2022

On Tuesday [May 24], students from BHS, Clearwater Middle School and Impact Academy took part in a ‘Walk Through History’ in Hamilton.

A spokesperson said, “On Tuesday, May 24, 40-odd students from BHS, Clearwater Middle School and Impact Academy joined in a ‘Walk Through History’ in Hamilton. The walk included input from Town Crier Ed Christopher, Maxine Esdaille of the African Diaspora Trail, Glenn Fubler, and Dwayne Caines, the Corporation Secretary. The spontaneous input of Premier Burt at the Cabinet grounds helped reinforce the Bermuda Day theme of ‘togetherness.’

“The walk began at Barr’s Bay Park, highlighting the landing of the storm-swept American ship Enterprise, transporting enslaved persons, in February 1835. Ed Christopher explained that the accidental arrival opened a chapter of Bermuda history, exemplifying human solidarity with global implications, leveraged by legal action initiated by the formerly-enslaved activist Richard Tucker. The students retraced the footsteps of the enslaved 78 men, women and children from America, towards the hearing in Town Hall on Front Street.

Walk Through History Bermuda May 2022 (1)

“The example of the Enterprise was mirrored 150 years later when local residents discovered that the United Nations had cited the Bank of Bermuda for violating UN Sanctions against loans to the Apartheid Regime. Walkers heard about how 30 or so residents picketed the bank, once housed in the current Point House. Fubler explained that he and Donald Scott had organized the protest on June 26, 1981, pointing out that Scott currently serves as the chairman of the Bermuda Monetary Authority, the regulatory body for the island’s banks.

“Maxine Esdaille described at the statue on the Cabinet grounds how Sally Bassett was convicted of involvement in an anti-slavery conspiracy which included poisoning slave owners. The former teacher pointed out that while Bassett was incinerated at a stake on June 6, 1730, she faced death courageously.

“Christopher pointed out the former Town Hall on the corner of Court and Front Streets, where on February 18, 1835 the Enterprise hearing took place. In ruling, the Chief Justice offered all 78 persons the right to remain in Bermuda, emancipated. One woman with five children chose to return to the U.S.; and 72 choose freedom in Bermuda.

“Fubler noted that Hamilton Hall – across from the Cenotaph – accommodated some 800 people at the final meeting, in a series organized by the Committee for Universal Adult Suffrage on October 31, 1960. The main speaker, Roslyn Williams – a member of the Progressive Group – made a strong case for the right to vote, concluding a campaign which was key to the eventual democracy that we often take for granted.

Walk Through History Bermuda May 2022 (2)

“Prior to leaving the Cabinet Grounds, the Premier made a surprise visit to the walkers and explained that the Cabinet meeting was on a lunch break. The students obviously appreciated his brief engagement with them.

“Students next heard how MINORCO was a locally-based, South African company, which was the subject of various protests during the 80s, in solidarity with South Africans adversely impacted by Apartheid.

“The walkers heard how that episode contrasted with the opposite side of Church Street where the President of the British Anti-Apartheid Movement was the special speaker at the Cathedral in 1985. Archbishop Trevor Huddleston, honouring an invitation from the local movement, offered kudos regarding the growing solidarity with South Africans in Bermuda.

“The walk was concluded at City Hall – Freedom Square. Corporation Secretary Dwayne Caines explained how Hamilton had embraced the concept of celebrating the legacy of social justice and its importance in guiding the lives of students in their personal development. Pictures were shared of a crowd of ‘unknown’ persons that gathered in that area during the height of the Theatre Boycott in 1959 and claimed the space as a platform for moving our society forward – in the spirit of togetherness.

“Student representatives were fulsome in expressing appreciation for the walk and presenters offered praise for the general level of keen engagement by the students.”

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