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Spreading the message

Group hopes to boost awareness of the ‘Tucker’s Town graveyard’ and protect it

By Owain Johnston-Barnes

The Tucker’s Town Historical Society is hoping to spread the story of the area’s original residents, while protecting their resting place.

The group recently hosted a public meeting to discuss how to protect the Tucker’s Town graveyard, which was recently announced to be the subject of an inquiry by Ombudsman Arlene Brock.

The grave site is the final resting place of enslaved and free blacks who owned and worked in the area before the 1920s mandatory purchase to develop the land.

While the site is marked as a Historic Preservation Area under the Bermuda Plan and an area of archeological significance, headstones were allowed to be moved in advance of plans to build a new cemetery memorial.

Owners of the land have stated the headstones were false, while the Marsden Memorial Church has said it only moved forward with plans to build the cemetery memorial after extensive public consultation.

Denny Richardson of the Tucker’s Town Historical Society said they had little time to advertise last week’s meeting, but it was well attended.

“The group were very, very keen to know exactly what this meeting was about because we only advertised that it was going to be a discussion about the graveyard and us putting out some information for them,” he said.

Mr Richardson said the meeting was used to give some basic information about the area and about the 400 families were forced to leave the area in 1920.

They also asked the attended to talk to their friends and families in an effort to discover more connections with the area.

Mr Richardson said the families of the original Tucker’s Town residents moved to locations across the Island from St George’s to Sandys.

“If you look at the population of 400 in 1920 and you look at the number of people per family, you can see an exponential expansion down to 2013 that would represent a very large segment of the existing population,” he said.

Mr Richardson also said that the group also hope to find a way to mark the 100th anniversary of the forced purchase, such as an art festival aimed at telling the story of the area’s original residents.

He also said the group hope to move into serious discussion about the site and how to move forward.

One particular focal point would be the position of the Tucker’s Point Resort Driving Range

“People want to redirect the driving range at the club,” Mr Richardson said. “We would like them to do that. The driving range is right over the graveyard and this could have been avoided.

“Which is the priority? The driving range or the graveyard? That is the question, and it seems to be coming up front and centre.”

The group will be hosting another meeting at 7pm on April 22 at the St Phillip AME Church on Harrington Sound Road.

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Published April 13, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated April 14, 2013 at 11:37 pm)

Spreading the message

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