Black History Month

The theme of Black History Month is to focus on celebrating being Black or Brown, and to inspire and share the pride people have in their heritage and culture.  Black History Month happens in the USA in February and is also known as African-American History Month.  In the UK Black History Month happens in October.

In addition in the United Kingdom, Windrush Day was introduced in June 2018 on the 70th anniversary of the disembarkation of passengers of HMT Empire Windrush on 22nd June 1948 at Tilbury Docks who were migrating to the United Kingdom. Though Windrush Day is not a bank holiday, the 22nd June is an observed day. According to the United Kingdom Government the purpose of Windrush Day is to encourage “communities across the country to celebrate the contribution of the Windrush Generation and their descendants”.

Slave Burial Ground Newton Plantation

Old Doll. The Matriarch of Newton Plantation

The book “A Kind of Right to be Idle: Old Doll, Matriarch of Newton Plantation” by Dr. Karl Watson is published by The Barbados Museum & Historical Society. It is on sale at the Museum shop and other good bookstores. This small book makes interesting reading. It gives the history of a family of slaves …

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Adam Straw Waterman memorial St. Georges Church - Barbados

Adam Straughn (Straw) Waterman (1803 – 1887)

Adam Straughn (Straw) Waterman was born a slave in 1803 in either St. John or St George. Probably on one of the estates owned by the Drax Family. He got his freedom before emancipation. Adam married Nancy Hannah at St. John’s Parish Church on 2nd November 1835. Some sources say she was an outside daughter of …

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Black violinist George Augustus Polgreen Bridgetower (1780-1860)

John Frederick Bridgetower

John Frederick Bridgetower was born a slave in Barbados but was not content to end his life as one. There is no record of how he escaped from Barbados and made his way to Poland. There he worked in the family home of Austro-Hungarian Prince Esterhazy (Joseph Haydn’s patron) and learnt to speak  English, French, German, …

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2nd Lt Walter Tull – first black infantry officer in British Army (1888 – 1918)

Walter Daniel John Tull was born in Folkestone, Kent, on 28 April 1888 to Barbadian carpenter Daniel Tull and Kent-born Alice Elizabeth Palmer.  In 1895, when Walter was seven, his mother died of cancer. A year later his father married Alice’s cousin, Clara Palmer. She gave birth to a daughter Miriam, on 11 September 1897. …

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Sidney Graham 2005 A forgotten Bajan WWII hero

Sid Graham. A forgotten Bajan WWII hero (1920 – 2017)

Sid Graham was born in Tidal Basin, Custom House in the London’s East End in 1920, the son of Sidney “Siddy” Graham a seaman from Barbados and his English wife Emma an East Ender.  Sid made it to his 97th birthday on 28th January 2017  and sadly passed away on 30th April 2017.  Until then …

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Bajans on top of Mount Kilimanjaro

Mount Kilimanjaro – Tanzania

Kilimanjaro is the highest free-standing mountain in the world, at 5,895 Meters the 4th highest of the 7 summits, the easiest  of the 7 summits to climb  and the one best known to armchair adventurers. “Free-standing” means it stands alone and is not part of a mountain range.   Kilimanjaro also beats Mount Everest (8,849m) in …

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Joe Fortes (1863 – 1922)

Joe Fortes (1863 – 1922)

Joseph (Joe) Seraphim Fortes was a prominent figure in the early history of Vancouver, Canada.  He was born in Bridgetown, Barbados on February 9, 1863.  After leaving his homeland in his mid-teens, he worked in Britain for several years. In 1884 he sailed around Cape Horn from Liverpool  on the Robert Kerr, arriving in Burrard Inlet  …

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Capt William T Shorey

Capt. William T. Shorey (1859 – 1919)

Known affectionately as the Black Ahab, William Thomas Shorey was born on January 25, 1859 on the island of Barbados in the British West Indies. He was the son of a Scottish sugar planter and a West Indian woman of mixed African and European ancestry. In 1875 he shipped to Boston, Massachusetts as a cabin …

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