More Heroes needed

Historian calls for names to be added to list

A call has been made for three more outstanding Barbadians to be added to the list of National Heroes.

Historian Dr Henderson Carter last night contended that Wynter Crawford should have been named among the original heroes and the time had come for him, as well as Clennell Wickham and T.T. Lewis to join the existing ten.

Historian and UWI lecturer Dr Henderson Carter.
Historian and UWI lecturer Dr Henderson Carter.

“These men showed courage in the dismantlement of the oppressive system in the 1930s and 1940s. They stood up to the planter class. Their ideas contributed to the shaping of modern Barbados. Two of them were members of the Lower House [of Parliament],” he said as he delivered the second installment of a two-part lecture series marking the 357th anniversary of Parliament.

“If there is one omission, I think there is the omission of Wynter Crawford who helped to wrest power from the oligarchy. He and Adams . . . represented the workers as trade unionists. He was the head of the Congress Party, represented the parish of St Philip for over 20 years and wrote the manifesto of the Democratic Labour Party in 1961, which contained the key elements of the social revolution.

“Undoubtedly, he is the father of industrialization in Barbados . . . I believe that when we get to the next stage where we consider the heroes again, I think Crawford is a worthy inclusion,” Carter noted.

His call received support from members of the audience, including Professor Henry Fraser and parliamentarian Trevor Prescod.

“I think that your suggestion of this triad of three additional National Heroes is something that we should be mature enough to recognize and I hope that we take on board for the next National Heroes Day,” said Fraser, who served on two National Heroes recommendation committees.

“Apart from [National Hero] Bussa, it is only T.T. Lewis and Clennell Wickham who sacrificed enormously because they lost their livelihood, they lost their loves, and they lost their lives eventually, dying relatively early deaths.”

Giving his unqualified support to the sentiments, Prescod said Crawford was “extraordinary”.

The existing National Heroes are Bussa, Sarah Ann Gill, Samuel Jackman Prescod, Charles Duncan O’Neal, Sir Grantley Adams,

Clement Payne, Sir Hugh Springer, Sir Frank Walcott, Errol Walton Barrow and Sir Garfield Sobers.

Saying that this list was an honour roll of people who struggled for justice and democracy, Carter said: “You have a ranger like Bussa; a coloured woman like Sarah Ann Gill; Samuel Jackman Prescod, who stood up against oppression; Duncan O’Neal, who started the democratic revolution; Clement Payne, who ignited the social revolution; Adams, who wrested power from the oligarchy, and was the first and only Prime Minister of the West Indies Federation; Barrow, who gave impetus to the social revolution and led the country into independence; Frank Walcott who empowered the workers; Hugh Springer, who organized the workers; and Sir Garfield Sobers, the greatest cricketer on earth, who placed the island on the world stage.”

3 Responses to More Heroes needed

  1. Tara Inniss-Gibbs
    Tara Inniss-Gibbs November 14, 2014 at 10:55 am

    Yes, I agree. But I hope we do more to edify these individuals than just give them a perfunctory elevation in status. We need to ensure that their tangible legacies like homes, workplaces, places of worship, burial spaces remain respected and preserved places where Barbadians and visitors can learn more about their contributions than just in books. It hurt my heart to say “this is the burial space of SJP” to visitors this week when I took them on a tour of Historic Bridgetown and its Garrison with his overgrown and litter-strewn gravesite.

  2. Suzette Edghill
    Suzette Edghill November 14, 2014 at 5:10 pm

    What about James Young Edghill of whom Morris Greenidge writes in his book Bridgetown Barbados.

    “James Young Edghil, had given up a promising career in printing and publishing to devote his life working among the poor. He became first a lay preacher, then the first ordained Barbadian minister of the Moravian Church. His selfless work among the poor of Roebuck and wider Bridgetown is a legend. He scrounged medicines from pharmacists and food from grocers to give to the poor, and he himself would care for the sick at a time when most of Barbados did not understand the nature of the illness and therefore dreaded and shunned the scourge of the cholera. Bridgetown was left with hundreds of children whose parents had succumbed to the disease.

    Edghill founded and helped to fund Ragged Schools , a reformatory and a separate dormitory where these children were assured a decent meal, a bed, as well as education, some in the trades. Moravians hold James Young Edghill in high esteem. HE MUST BE VERY CLOSE TO BEING NAMED A NATIONAL HERO OF BARBADOS. Moravians occupy a important part of Barbadian history which needs to be told in full.”

  3. Sean Chandler
    Sean Chandler November 14, 2014 at 5:31 pm

    Barbados has enough national heroes – what the country needs is LEADERS. Those are in short supply.


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