April 28 – National Heroes Day in Barbados

Posted on April 28, 2015

 In 1998 this holiday was created by Parliamentary Act to celebrate ten national heroes.

One of them was a slave! 

Bussa was born free in Africa and was captured and taken to the Caribbean island of Barbados, which was a British colony. He may have been a “ranger” on a plantation; he planned and led the first large-scale slave rebellion in the British West Indies.

Although Bussa's Rebellion was put down by better-armed British forces, and Bussa himself was killed, the influence of this rebellion was great. Slavery was ended in Barbados – actually, all of the British West Indies – in 1834, just 18 years after the rebellion.

Another of the ten Barbadian heroes was Sarah Ann Gill, whose mother was black and whose father was white. During Gills' life during the first half of the 19th Century, Barbadian society was very racist, and so Gill's mixed-race ancestry was seen as a taint her. She married another mixed-race Barbadian.

Gill embraced the Methodist faith, and when the plantation owners in Barbados ousted the Methodist missionaries, Gill offered her home as a church. She faced physical abuse and death threats and thus won her status of being a national hero.

Samuel Prescod, too, was the child of a black mother and white father. He grew up to become the first person of African descent to be elected to Barbados's Parliament (in 1843).

Another hero, Charles O'Neal, was a medical doctor who had a high position in Barbadian society. He went against the racism of that society, however, and dedicated his life to helping people in poverty. He worked for improved working conditions and women's rights, for example, and he fought for free education ad dental care for kids.

Barbados is a beautiful island nation.
I have already written about Errol Barrow, who led Barbados to independence and also worked to make progressive reforms.  

Clement Payne and Huge Springer were pioneers in unionization of workers in the Caribbean, and Frank Walcott also worked in the labor movement and served as an ambassador to the United Nations. Walcott was also famous for being an excellent cricket umpire...

Which brings us to our ninth national hero, Sir Garfield Sobers, who is considered by many to be cricket's greatest all-rounder.

Barbados is a small island located near the eastern (righthand) area of the map.

Our tenth hero is Grantley Adams. He was a politician. He was the president of the Barbados Workers' Union before he started his political career; he worked for a more democratic government and for more rights for the average Barbadian and especially for the poor.

Today is Adams's birthday. I'm not sure how his birthday was selected as a the date to celebrate all ten heroes...


By the way, Adams also played cricket. He played just one match of first-class cricket for Barbados, in the 1925-1926 season, as a wicket-keeper.

Cricket is a bat-and-ball game played between two teams of 11 players each.

It is played by 120 millions players around the world, making it the world's second most popular sport. Because it was first played in England (in the 1500s, or possibly even earlier), cricket is especially popular in the United Kingdom and in countries that were once part of the British Empire, such as India, Southern Africa, the West Indies (like Barbados!), and Australia.

By the way, if you are wondering, football (in the U.S., it's called soccer) is the most popular sport in the world.

Also on this date:

Anniversary of Maryland's statehood

Astronomer Jan Hendrik Oort's birthday

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