Reliving history

“Clement Payne” (centre) leading MP Patrick Todd, NCF Chairman Monique Taitt, Chief of Protocol Phillip St. Hill and other dignitaries along Fairchild Street.

Hundreds gathered in Golden Square, The City this evening received a profound history lesson.

Many of them were not present in 1937 when National Hero Clement Payne made his final speech in Barbados, but they were able to “live” one of the experiences that led to the revolution on this island. In celebration of the 75th anniversary of those disturbances, Andrew Pilgrim, gave a powerful re-enactment of that fateful night.

“Organise, advocate, agitate but do not violate,” were the words of the late Payne, played by Pilgrim, echoed as the audience replied: “Organise, advocate, agitate, but do not violate! Organise, advocate, agitate but do not violate.”

With umbrellas held high, they proceeded to walk through the streets of Bridgetown for their voices and cries to be heard. Just as there were back in 1937, there were shouts from detractors to stop the march, but it continued.

People lined the streets, from baby to granny, ears pinned back, fascinated by MC Antoine Williams’ recounting of the events as they would have unfolded. From the balcony of the Barbados Workers’ Union building on Fairchild Street, Williams spoke and “Payne” stopped to listen and maybe ponder that the night would indeed be a funny day.

Crossing the Charles Duncan O’Neal Bridge, “Payne” was then accompanied by the soulful sounds of the Sons of God Apostolic Spiritual Baptist Church, led by their Patriarch Archbishop Granville Williams, singing the old Negro spiritual We Shall Overcome.

He stopped in Hero’s Square to hand over the “symbolic” umbrellas in memoriam of the 14 people who lost their lives in the uprising. The sounds of the 1688 steel Orchestra blew across the Careenage and through the City as “Payne” walked under the Independence arch across the Chamberlain Bridge. Awaiting him there, were hundreds more eager to learn more about their history and culture. (KC)

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