Dalton E. Tucker celebrates King’s birthday
Primary school pupils took part in an annual march to celebrate the life of US civil rights leader the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr yesterday.
A Bermuda civil rights hero was also on hand to speak to schoolchildren about her role in a pivotal event in Bermuda’s history.
Pauline Simons, social studies team leader at Dalton E. Tucker Primary School in Southampton, welcomed Florenz Maxwell to the celebration.
Ms Maxwell, who was a prominent member of the organisation behind the 1959 Theatre Boycott, which led to the collapse of segregation in Bermuda, talked about the fight for equality closer to home.
Ms Simons said: “Sometimes we just celebrate these days and we don’t realise that Bermuda actually participated in some of these world activities.
“I definitely wanted the students to have that Bermuda connection.”
She said that it was the first time some of the school’s younger pupils had heard about the theatre boycott.
Ms Simons added: “They responded very well to it.”
More than 100 pupils, teachers, parents and community members took part in the walk from the school to the Maximart supermarket in Hog Bay.
The pupils carried signs and sang songs as part of the march.
Ms Simons said that the youngsters got honks of support from passing motorists.
She added that a man waiting at a bus stop along the route had come over to take photographs of the children as they passed by.
Yesterday’s annual march was the first that Ms Simons has organised.
She said the tradition was crucial to continue to honour pioneers in the battle for equality.
Ms Simons added: “We have people that continue to fight, even now, for necessities for them and for other people.”
Dr King, the leader of the US civil rights movement, was murdered in Memphis, Tennessee, in April 1968 by a white extremist.
Martin Luther King Jr Day was signed into law in 1983 by then president Ronald Reagan and first observed three years later.
The holiday is held on the third Monday of January every year, around Dr King’s birthday of January 15.
The day will be marked this year on January 21.