Minister of Culture, Stephen Lashley, in conversation
with Chairman of the Commission for Pan African
Affairs, Dr. Erskine Simmons, and Chairman of the
National Cultural Foundation, Monique Taitt.
(C. Pitt/BGIS)

As Barbadians prepare to celebrate the Season of Emancipation over the next four months, Minister of Culture, Stephen Lashley, has called on all persons to reflect on what it means for us as a nation and as individuals.

While addressing the media launch of the 2011 Season of Emancipation at the Savannah Hotel today, Mr. Lashley said it was time to think about the standing which Barbados had achieved on the global stage and on the high quality and peacefulness of life which is the envy of so many across the globe.

"We must reflect on the sacrifices that were made by our ancestors – those enslaved Africans who lived a life of indescribable hardship and who determinedly maintained a resistance to a system that denied them their rights as human beings.

"We must take this time to reflect on the contribution that was made by our National Heroes and on the contributions which are still being made by the millions of people of African descent all over the world," he stated.

The Minister proffered the view that at this stage of Barbados’ history, the youth should be given an understanding of the significance of the events which comprise the Season. Mr. Lashley continued: "Our young people deserve to be told the story of the Season of Emancipation, of the struggles of their proud, resilient and resourceful enslaved ancestors and of those who came after them in the fight for justice and equality."

He surmised that the Season was all the more significant since the United Nations proclaimed this year as the International Year for People of African Descent and the Organization of American States had designated 2011 as the Inter-American Year of Culture.

This year, the contribution of the Right Excellent Samuel Jackman Prescod will be recognised for his tireless struggle for the improvement of the lives of the Free Coloured people of Barbados and the liberation of our enslaved ancestors.

The dates and events of historical significance that make up the Season of Emancipation are:

  1. The Bussa Rebellion of April 14 which involved the Right Excellent Bussa, along??with his associates Washington Franklin and Nanny Grigg, who put in train the drive towards the emancipation of African slaves;
  2. National Heroes Day on April 28;
  3. The Day of National Significance on July 26 which commemorates the riots of 1937 which led to the improvement of working conditions for the poor in Barbados;
  4. Emancipation Day on August 1, ??and
  5. The International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition on August 23.

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