House: tributes to freedom fighter Hodgson

  • Eva Hodgson

    Eva Hodgson

The Deputy Speaker of the House of Assembly led tributes yesterday to civil rights hero Eva Hodgson.

Derrick Burgess told MPs during a virtual sitting that Dr Hodgson, who died last week, “loved her family and will be deeply missed”.

He said: “Since her death, many of those that showed disdain for her will make complimentary comments about Dr Eva Hodgson, an educator, author, union president and above all a Christian woman.

“In her book Second Class Citizens, First Class Men, Dr Hodgson wrote about the most tumultuous period in Bermuda’s social history from 1953 to 1963.

“This was the time when hotels restaurants and theatres were desegregated, labour found a voice in the Bermuda Industrial Union and the Progressive Labour Party was formed.

“Dr Hodgson was deeply involved in the desegregation movement and because of her participation she was threatened with the loss of her job.”

David Burt, the Premier, said it was “with great sadness” that he associated himself with the condolences to the human rights campaigner.

He added: “She used her intellect to enlighten and inspire generations of Bermudians, to strive for a better society in which race was no barrier to success.

“Dr Hodgson is the very embodiment of a freedom fighter.”

Craig Cannonier, the leader of the One Bermuda Alliance, said that he joined in “condolences and accolades for a life that, quite frankly, has contributed to a better Bermuda”.

He added: “I cannot say enough about the life of Eva.

“She is known, a celebrity in her own right throughout the island for her cause.”

Mr Cannonier said: “Some may have felt a little intimidated even, by her, because in her stature, she may not have been a tall, big woman but she was obviously, with her cause, greater than what she physically showed.”

The Opposition leader added that the death of Dr Hodgson on May 29 came around the same time as people mourned the death of George Floyd, who lost his life at the hands of police officers in Minnesota a few days earlier.

He said: “These things don’t happen by chance, they are messages being sent to us to pay attention.”

Cole Simons, the Shadow Minister of Education and Economic Development, said that Dr Hodgson “told it as it was”.

He added: “When she spoke you listened and when she spoke you felt what she had to say.”

Mr Simons said that “other people would have crumbled” under “the blowback that she had from the community”.

He added: “Because of her principles and Christian beliefs, she fought on like a true soldier, in fact, a general in the march of racial equality.”

Michael Scott, a PLP backbencher, said that he would miss Dr Hodgson’s “great dignity and great knowledge of our social and political affairs”.

Rolfe Commissiong, also a Government MP, added: “She would have to go down as one of the most consequential Bermudians of the last two centuries.”

He said: “Eva Hodgson spent a lot of time, if I can get a little fancy here, deconstructing white supremacy and one of its chief by-products, white privilege ... that disadvantaged black Bermudians and was such a feature of the types of racial oppression that persons of African descent had to endure in this country.”

Patricia Gordon-Pamplin, the Shadow Minister of Finance and Health, explained that she knew Dr Hodgson as a geography teacher, who instilled “an attitude of discipline in the learning process”.

She added that it was up to “us, to express our sincere appreciation for the value that she put into us as young people”.

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Published Jun 6, 2020 at 12:21 pm (Updated Jun 6, 2020 at 12:21 pm)

House: tributes to freedom fighter Hodgson

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