Emancipation events will recognise courage of our ancestors
A host of events highlighting the history of enslavement and emancipation have been planned in the run-up to this year's Cup Match holiday.
Community, Culture and Sports Minister Wayne Scott this morning outlined a “suite” of celebrations which will kick off with the Kenneth E Robinson/Cyril Outerbridge Packwood Memorial lecture next Thursday, July 24 at the Bermuda National Gallery.
An Emancipation Ceremony will be held at City Hall on Sunday, July 27 to honour ancestors who “during the post emancipation era, demonstrated such noble characteristics as courage, perseverance, self-discipline, concern for others and self-reliance”.
“This is when we take a moment in our cultural heritage calendar to pause, reflect upon and salute those people who persevered against insufferable odds so that today we may have a more just society,” Mr Scott said.
The Minister added that this year's ceremony will highlight the story of six families from Hamilton Parish and six families from Southampton Parish.
“We will be informed about their entrepreneurial skills and business acumen,” Mr Scott said.
“We will be reminded of men such as Seward Ethelbert Smith Sr, Prince Hodgson, and others who advocated for racial equality and social justice — and of their strong work ethic and commitment to improving not only conditions for themselves but others as well.
“There will also be a mini exhibition in the foyer of the City Hall prior to the start of the Emancipation Ceremony. There will be items on display from yesteryear which serve as reminders of the work and skill of our forefathers and mothers. All of this underscores the rich heritage that we will be celebrating on July 27.
On Tuesday, July 29, the Department will launch the Bermuda Heritage Documentary Film and Lecture Series with the airing of an Emancipation film which features Angela Barry, Maxine Esdaille, Dr. Radell Tankard, Joy Wilson Tucker and Sharon Wilson.
“It is with a great deal of pride and gratitude that we honour families from Hamilton and Southampton parishes and we encourage everyone to come out and support this event,” Mr Scott said. There is an African proverb that says “a child we refuse to build today will end up selling the house we may build tomorrow”.
“We must continue to educate, inform and uplift our people for the betterment of all.
“It is critical to our sense of pride in who we are as a people that we recognise and acknowledge the works and contributions of our forefathers and foremothers.
“Bermuda's story of enslavement, emancipation and the post-emancipation era is in many ways akin to the global stories throughout the African diaspora.
“However, this does not in any way detract from the importance of sharing and teaching about the struggles endured by our forefathers and mothers of African descent.”
Emancipation Day will be celebrated on Thursday, July 31, followed by Somer's Day on Friday, August 1.