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The slavery struggle

Without the roll of the drum or the twirl of baton, a nine-month celebration has, so far, stayed on course, with no eyes right or wrong turns. However, it has been the presentation of the youth at a black history presentation that like the sounds of a well blown trumpet, brought the onward march of the adults to a temporary halt.

Yet, on Sunday the celebration of the 50 anniversary of the Barbados Ex-police Association continues with two events – the unveiling of a plaque at their headquarters on Crown Street, Brooklyn, and afterwards a church service at 4 o’clock at the St Leonard’s Church in Brooklyn. At this service, members of other associations will join the pomp and ceremony as participants in flag ceremony that starts the service.

With the Lenten season in the air, fish fries are now the in thing. Every report indicates that last Friday night’s fry was hot – politics and tasty fish, seasoned Bajan style.

“We were still frying fish at 3 a.m. It is lent and many persons give up meat during this period,” Helen Walker, a member, said.

However, of the events so far, Black History Month gets my pick.

The presentation had Bajan fingerprints all over it and could be said to be structured like a late night Gwen Workman’s “Dagwood” – A flying fish cutter with cheese.

Excellent recitations from several young voices and poems by adults were strategically sandwiched between two informative lectures by Barbadian Professor Calvin Holder and Grenadian Dr. Radix.

Radix, husband of Barbadian, Justice Sylvia Hinds-Radix, spoke on the theme from “Slavery to Obama” and argued that while it is evident that Black people had made significant gains in the area of political power, there was still a disparity when it came to economic power. For this reason it was very important that every effort should be made to ensure that today’s children pay attention to education and make use of the opportunities that come their way.

While Radix spoke in terms of advances since slavery, Professor Holder’s reflection was portrayed in terms of a struggle that compared the Barbadians, West Indians and Africans. He contended that any in interpretation of data from some 100 to 130 years or so, the Barbadian immigrant experience had been an unqualified success.

“The data is compelling. West Indians who came here in the past, those who came here recently, and their children have all been able to improve their socio-economic status,” Holder said.

“It is not by mere coincidence, that the Attorney General of the United States of America is a descendant of a Barbadian, and the America’s Ambassador to the United Nations Ms. Rice, is a descendent of a Jamaican, and the former Secretary of State in The Bush administration, Colin Powell – the only black person to be head of the armed forces, was a descendent of a Jamaican.”

Holder also took a moment to note the quality of the presentations by the young people, many of whom attend tutoring classes that are conducted by members of the ex-police association and said:

“I think the children here tonight are a tribute to us, to their parents and to the institutions that have helped to shape there lives.”

Rosa Parks, Sir Grantley Adams, Eric Williams, Medgar Evers, Eroll Barrow and Jackie Robinson were some of persons that were used in readings and recitations or as references. The musical renditions were performed by graduates of music academy and tutoring programme that provides instruction to some of the children of members.

Radix-Hinds who was very instrumental in the development and training of the young people who performed, was also very touched by their performance.

Poems were read by Wesley Hope and Malcom Best.

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