The Right Excellent Sarah Ann Gill will be the focus of celebrations for this year’s Season of Emancipation, which began April 14 and will run until August 23, 2010.

Speaking at a press briefing to launch the season, Acting Minister of Community Development and Culture, Dr. Denis Lowe, revealed that in recognition of 250 years of Methodism in the Caribbean, the Ministry had thought it an appropriate time to honour Barbados’ lone female national hero.

Mrs. Gill, a devout Methodist, continued to practice her chosen faith despite constant and severe persecution. She was taken before the law courts for holding "illegal" meetings and received threats to burn her house.

Methodists were at the time viewed by the Barbadian upper classes as anti-slavery agitators and agents of the England-based Anti-Slavery Society.

The activities commence with the National Heroes Lecture next Thursday, April 22 and it will be delivered by historian and university lecturer, Dr. Henderson Carter.

The lecture, hosted by the Museum of Parliament and the National Heroes Gallery, takes place in the West Wing of Parliament, Bridgetown, at 7:30 p.m.

On Sunday, April 25, the official church service will be held at the James Street Methodist Church, James Street, Bridgetown at 9:00 a.m. This will be followed by a wreath laying ceremony at Sarah Ann Gill’s tomb in the churchyard.

On National Heroes Day, April 28, a short public concert will take place in Independence Square, the City, from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m.

According to the Dr. Lowe, the Ministry of Community Development and Culture, the National Cultural Foundation and the Commission for Pan-African Affairs will be collaborating to produce an event for the Day of National Significance on July 26. He added that further details would be disseminated later.

A march will again be the feature of this year’s Emancipation Day celebrations on August 1. The event has been shifted from the morning to the afternoon and the proposed new route will start at Independence Square and culminate at the Bridgetown Market site on Spring Garden, St. Michael.

The Acting Culture Minister added that plans are also in train for the launch of the Pan-African Educational and Media Resource Centre by the Commission for Pan African Affairs.

The Centre will be available to members of the public and is expected to improve existing research capabilities for students of Africa and the disaspora.

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