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Exhibit worthwhile but let’s get facts right

Dear Sir,

With reference to the interview in your August 5 edition with Michael Bradshaw in relation to his forthcoming historical exhibition at the Masterworks Museum of Bermuda Art, it is unfortunate that he mars his exposition of an otherwise admirable subject by couching it in a gratuitous slur against the white Bermudian community.

Additionally, he wrongly states that black people were not allowed to be admitted to the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital — he is probably getting confused with the undoubted and regrettable fact that for many years black doctors and nurses were not allowed to practise at KEMH.

I am afraid that there is altogether too much of this sort of thing in recent publications and public discourse about Bermuda's history. Bermuda's race-relations history was by no means perfect, but there is an unfortunate tendency — if readers will pardon the expression — to paint it in blacker terms than it really was. This, I fear, tends to generate more heat than light, fuels racial hatred, entrenches racial divisions and is generally debilitating to a small community in a world that does not owe us a living.

On a more positive note — if it is not too late for his research purposes — Mr Bradshaw, and readers in general, will find various references to Friendly Societies and kindred black self-help organisations in several of my books, all of which are available in the Bermuda National Library: including at page 85 and also at footnote 490 on page 81 of my Empire & Onion-patch: a history of Bermuda from 1898 to 1918; at page 63 of my Peace, Prudence and Prosperity: a history of Bermuda from 1919 to 1939; at footnote 907 on page 159 of my Seasons of Change: a history of Bermuda from 1939-1959; at pages 371 and 372 of my A Colony at War: Bermuda in the global fight against fascism, 1939-1945; at page 33, page 216, and footnote 2,113 on page 222 of my Bermuda in Painted Representation Volume II; and at page 56 of my Bermuda in Painted Representation Volume III.

I commend Mr Bradshaw for his initiative in mounting what I am sure will be an interesting and worthwhile exhibition.


Tribute to Friendly Societies: Michael Bradshaw is showcasing artefacts at Masterworks Museum of Bermuda Art

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Published August 06, 2016 at 9:00 am (Updated August 05, 2016 at 10:30 pm)

Exhibit worthwhile but let’s get facts right

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