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Celebrating the spirit of Theatre Boycott

Celebrating togetherness: from left, Martha Dismont of Family Centre; Bermuda Aquarium student volunteers Staesha Pitcher and CaVon Raynor, and Imagine Bermuda founder Glenn Fubler (Photograph supplied)

A celebration of the progressive spirit that toppled a bastion of segregation is to be marked this Sunday, the 58th anniversary of the close of the Theatre Boycott.

The community action group Imagine Bermuda is hosting a family walk around Flatts, including a stop at the home of Edouard and Roslyn Williams, where members of the Progressive Group gathered in secret to plan their watershed stand against the island’s segregated cinemas.

“This is an important period in Bermuda and the world generally, and with everything that’s going on, we need to benefit from and reflect upon these elements of our foundations,” said Glenn Fubler, founder of Imagine Bermuda.

“While forging a shared vision, they came up with the idea of the Theatre Boycott, capturing imaginations across the island, sparking a community-wide collaboration. Within two short weeks of spontaneous, peaceful campaigning, a significantly opened Bermuda was born on July 2, 1959.”

The walk begins at the Whitney Institute at 5.30pm, and will include honoured guests Charles Marshall and Dennis Wainwright, who Mr Fubler called “two elders who have demonstrated that productive mindset in both Flatts and Bermuda in general”.

The walk will also commemorate Flatts history with links to the pioneer radio inventor Reginald Fessenden, and the Bermuda Aquarium, Museum and Zoo, where members of the Progressive Group parked their cars before their meetings to evade notice.

At around 6.15pm, the walk will end at the Aquarium, where BAMZ and the Bermuda Zoological Society are to host a reception with light refreshments, and entertainment including Gene Steede, pianist Willard Burch, and the Russian School of Dance.

Young volunteers will take part, and Mr Fubler said their civic-minded spirit “speaks to what happened in the Boycott”.

He said: “That same community spirit that renewed Bermuda in 1959 can today leverage island sports clubs busy developing young people.

“The aim is to share stories, nurturing a healthy sense of self, and foster connections for future efforts that promote in young people an understanding of the potential of the mindset to remain ‘busy being born’.”