A master Sportsman —Glenn Smith Blakeney 1973-2018

Once again I have decided to include in my reflections of black history the record of a dynamic  and forthright young man with a great personality. The story of Glenn Smith.Glenn Smith- BlaneneyGlenn was born into a family of history makers and example his father Glenn Blakeney  became a politician of one of Bermuda’s major political parties joining many other family relations in their quest to contribute to their country.It has been recorded that at the tender age of 14 years Glenn was showing his prowess as an up and coming cricket player to be watched. He was at that time associated with the Hamilton Parish Club. Glenn was left handed  and was instantly noticed at his young age as an outstanding player.  He was an impressionable cricketer  with a winning smile. More than likely he was one of those teenager that had his heart sat on the sport he wanted to become involved with and nothing would change his mind. One would know that he was a force to be reckoned with in early school. Glenn made a debut half century in the pre-cursor to the Red Strip Bowl in the West Indies. Notable he left much for Bermuda to talk  about in his cricket exploits. He  loved the Eastern Counties and Cup-match. In August 2001 he made a double century  and a triple century a year later, and to prove his prowess he made another double hundred in 2011 on the field at the Eastern Counties. It is no surprise that he was involved with several sports clubs. Who would not want to be noted as knowing him with his impressionable personality and sportsmanship? In spite of fighting a serious illness Glenn did not let this dampen his spirits and he played on. In 2012 he was presented with the Bermuda Friendly Societies Sportsmanship award,which included The Clarence Darrell Memorial Cup donated by the great-grandson (Dr. Ewart Brown ,JP. MP.) A plaque and several other gifts for his achievements. He joined the ranks of several others such as, Clay Smith, Stephan Kelly,O.J.Pitcher,Janerio Tucker,Terryn Fray, Kyle Hodsoll and Dexter Baisden to name a few. There are times one gives their all and receives little praise. Glenn worked well throughout his sport with vigor love and enjoyment. He had reached his dream. He left a legacy for all to remember. Some suffer in silence and smile and accept the pitfalls that life had to offer. He will always be remembered by his family, friends and colleagues for his contributions to the game of cricket and life in general. Some would say he is gone too soon, but some of the greatest rewards are received beyond this veil. Well done Glenn like so many others you will always be remembered. 

Slavery –verses– Cup Match A Friendly Society Legacy

Mixing Business With Pleasure SlaveI’m not much of a sports guru when it comes to some forms of sports.  I have to at this point in time express my views on this new suggestion by a well-known organization that one of the days of the celebrated cup match special held in Bermuda every year during the month of late July early August be changed from the name Somers’ day to Mary Prince day. Most Bermudian have heard or read the  story of Mary Prince because of her drive to fight for an end to slavery and had her narrative written. She has been highlighted as one of Bermuda’s Heroes. A title well-earned for her suffering. Each  year this celebration  still causes much discussion among the people of Bermuda. When the abolition of the slavery law was passed in England in 1833 this made the holding of slaves illegal. Upon receipt of this official news on August 1 1834, the house of Assembly in Bermuda passed the Emancipation Act freeing some 5000+ slaves. This was for many the most important social change to have taken place in Bermuda. It still however had its ups and downs but all persons on the Island were doomed to adjust or die trying to escape the injustice. For the Black population to have been given their freedom albeit without any real means of financial support the rights to at least have some of the privileges enjoyed by the white population of this island was accepted for at least the time being. At least two Friendly Societies were formed before 1st August,1834. The Young men’s friendly Institution in 1832 and the S. George’s Friendly Union in 1834.The Friendly Society provided a strong support system for the Black people of Bermuda and to have initiated the game of cricket between themselves  each year was one way to share among themselves ideas and plans going forward. So they celebrated a day of coming together each summer  socially among the various lodges which consisted of Odd fellows of the Grand United Order and the Independent Orders. Most were descendants of slaves. So popular did these outings become that the game of cricket grew among them and it eventually was played for a cup hence the name Cup Match. Although the game of cricket was played in Bermuda by officers of the British Garrison in the 1840’s. It certainly did not involve the black population of the Island. So the game took on a life of its own within the Friendly Society movement with so much excitement  and vigor the results that this form of sport brought to the population left little to be desired. Several friendly games  were played among the lodges prior to 1902 as families gathered with picnic baskets with its most sumptuous food waiting for all to partake at the end of the fun-filled day. By 1902 in its very humble beginnings the first game was played between two fraternal lodges The Somers Pride of India #899 of the East and Victoria and Albert #1026 in the West. The game of cricket became more competitive and as it grew each year it was decided to turn the event over to two clubs Somerset club in the West and St. Georges’ Club in the East. Since 1944 it has become a two-day public holiday.  The days are now referred to as Emancipation day and the other as  Somers’ day. There’s lots more to learn about this game but my aim is to show why I feel that the suggestion of making the change from  Somers’ day to Mary Prince day is a bit disturbing. I certainly agree with the change from Somers’ in my humble opinion  the name  Somers’ should never have  been considered in the first place to identify the first day of this notable game for obvious reasons. However I feel to give the name of Mary Prince as the change would do her an injustice she deserves a statute that will stand in honour of her and tell her story not just on one day but be viewed every day after all did we not honour Sally for her contribution to the ‘Me Too’ movement albeit so many years in coming she was well ahead of her time in fighting for that form of injustice not just to her but many  who endured the same fate. I don’t expect a statue for every slave but Mary Prince should be considered. I know I’m not just a single voice in the wilderness wishing for something like this for Mary. When we look at the ravages of Slavery  Bermuda had its share of disgrace, fear and pain, was there any regrets? When we think of slaves they were like sacrificial offerings free for the taking. When we bring to mind Sarah ‘Sally’ Bassett , Mary Prince, Hetty Ingham, Minna Love and so many others can we really be content to take one day and name it after the sacrifice of one slave?  Here is where Slavery versus Cup match(cricket). We should not forget that it was the brain child of Friendly Societies that brought this game to the fore of our black people.  Why not name the day after an outstanding cricketer from the very early beginnings when the game was introduced. Let the name reflect what the game really stands for, a friendly gentleman’s game full of vigor and anticipation of who will win in the end.   Emancipation day is already representative of the freedom of the slaves. Let the name of this incredible holiday “Cup Match represent the true meaning of cricket and the descendants of those slaves who first introduced it into our community.

I’ll sign your name– Mr. Lawson Map

Lawson Mapp was born in Parsons Road  Pembroke Bermuda. Like lots of young people during that time he was raised by his grandmother. He attended Elliott Primary school. He was not fortunate enough to attend the high school of his desire so at sixteen years of age he like many during those early days went off to work. His first job was sanding floors and painting houses. While working on a site he recognized a sign painters’ business boldly displaying his handy work Harry Greene located on Serpentine Road. Lawson having the urge and most of all courage he approached Mr. Green and obtained a part-time job in sign painting. He made a wage of 10/- for a days work. After a few months at the job he was hired full-time and remained in that job for twelve years.  He and Mr. Green were credited for painting the Hamilton Coat of Arms on the City Hall building in 1960. It can be noticed from the South left hand side of the building. Lawson  knew in his heart that at some point he wanted to branch out on his own  .He  eventually  opened his own sign painting business under the name Mapp Signs Ltd.on Tills Hill,Pembroke. He soon moved his sign painting business and operated on Richmond road. He was definitely from the old school he did all of his painting by hand and stayed with this method and tradition, his service to many became invaluable until he retired after fifty years in that field. Although a busy man in 1979 he submitted his name to become a Councillor with the Corporation of Hamilton.  Lawson was successful in his quest. He eventually moved up the ranks to Alderman, then Deputy Mayor and Mayor of the City of Hamilton from 2000-2006. He became the second black Mayor after Cecil Dismont who had been elected in 1988 and eventually had a street named after him ‘ Dismont Drive.’ Lawson  had the pleasure of welcoming her Majesty Queen Elizabeth of England at City Hall in 1994. He was a long time member of the Anglican Cathedral Church in the city of Hamilton and served as a board member of the Eliza Dolittle Society. He certainly proved that if you dream high  enough and pray long enough prayers will get answered in due time.  Mr. Mapp ‘s hobbies was stamp collecting. He served his community and church well. His work can still be seen about the Island. Well done Lawson. Thank you for your invaluable service to the people of Bermuda.