Rebel was always loyal to labour movement

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  • Union history: Ira Philip with Derrick Burgess, right, and publisher Paget Wharton

    Union history: Ira Philip with Derrick Burgess, right, and publisher Paget Wharton


Ira Philip’s loyalty to labour dated back to his childhood memories of “rebels” such as American activist A. Philip Randolph.

Mr Philip, a lifelong newsman, documented the struggles of Bermudian activists such as E.F. Gordon throughout his career.

Derrick Burgess, a Progressive Labour Party MP who was president of the BIU when the book was commissioned, said Mr Philip’s volume The History of the Bermuda Industrial Union was a “treasure”.

He added: “There could have been no other person to write that book.

“There are great writers in Bermuda. Ira was probably one of the best writers I have read.

“He was a former executive of the BIU and took his position there very seriously.”

Mr Burgess said it was because of Mr Philip’s tenacity behind the scenes that the BIU retained the property for its gas station on Hamilton’s Dundonald Street.

Mr Philip was treasurer of the BIU by the time of Dr Gordon’s death in 1955 and went on to fill the post of secretary-general until he was succeeded by Kingsley Tweed.

Mr Burgess called Mr Philip’s book Freedom Fighters: From Monk to Mazumbo “a great history about the injustices faced”.

Mr Burgess added: “He was a brilliant fellow — it is a big loss to Bermuda, and I am saddened that he is gone. An encyclopaedia has left us.”

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Published Apr 10, 2018 at 8:00 am (Updated Apr 10, 2018 at 6:43 am)

Rebel was always loyal to labour movement

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