City Launches Black History Month Exhibition

January 30, 2024 | 4 Comments

The City of Hamilton announced the launch of a special exhibition in celebration of Black History Month.

A spokesperson said, “The mini exhibition will be on display in the Washington Mall [by the ‘Wall of Words’, Level B, Church Street] from February 1st to February 29th and features four Black Bermudians, each with a link to the City of Hamilton, who made a positive difference in Bermuda.

“The City partnered with the Bermuda National Trust to curate the exhibit, with assistance from the Bermuda National Library and the Bermuda Archives. The exhibit features John Henry Thomas Jackson, Brother William [Syke] Smith, William Henry Thomas Joell and Blanche Louise Smith.”

“We wanted to showcase impactful exhibits for Black History Month this year in the hopes of educating the public on the legacy and rich history of those who played a significant role in building the social fabric of our Island and capital city,” said the City’s Director of Marketing & Communications Ms Jessica Astwood.

“These stories are important, and we are proud to highlight them. We decided to choose Bermudians with strong ties to the City and celebrate their contributions to Bermuda and the Black community.

“What stood out to us about the selected individuals was how different and distinct their contributions and lives were. Brother William [Syke] Smith, for example, was a Black Bermudian architect who designed the Colonial Opera House – one of Bermuda’s grandest buildings at the time – having never left Bermuda nor received any formal training.

“Meanwhile, Blanche Louise Smith was a City resident who made significant contributions to the nursing field. William Henry Thomas Joell was Bermuda’s first Black Member of Parliament and was one of the founding members of the Berkeley Educational Society. We also featured one of Mr. Joell’s contemporaries, John Henry Thomas Jackson, who was a local Hamilton businessman and resident and the second Black member of the House of Assembly.”

The spokesperson said, “Much of the information for the display was sourced from the book Hamilton Town and City by the Bermuda National Trust.”

To further commemorate Black History Month, the City has painted the King Street ‘quote wall’ black for the month with the following quote from City CEO Dwayne Caines, “Strength lies in our roots, resilience in our history & courage in our Bermudian spirit. Let’s honour our past, to inspire our future.”

The spokesperson said, “The City would like to wish everyone a happy Black History Month and encourages the public to stop by both the exhibit and quote wall to reflect and learn more about local Black history.”

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  1. Love it says:

    Time to cut that silly usa tie of ONE month for Black History and 11 months for no history or White History. The city can be commended for trying to break the shackles of its exclusive racial past. Probably they and Mr Caines will take another 50 years to move in the right direction of History of 12 months that is inclusive.

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