And the Answer Is -Music

The question we should ask is what is music? When was it created? Where did it come from? 

From a psychological view point, maybe the question of the origin of music is difficult to answer, I will try to express from my perspective what I learned and enjoyed in my younger days. Never-the-less as early as 1620 it is recorded that English explorers  made note of how important music was to the African Cultural and maybe the world in general. The three core types of music are Jazz, Blues and Gospel. Gospel music includes religious hymns that started in the fields sung by slaves as they worked. Blues is basically the religious story telling of learning drums. Jazz is a unique form of music that came to prominence around the turn of the 20th. century. The African was sufficiently advanced to invent musical instruments as he was stripped of every form of birth-right when brought to America, necessity forced them to fashion instruments from materials at hand such as trees, reeds and bones added to clapping and stomping of feet that one form of rhythm grew. The rhythmic patterns were never simple and were made to suit the verbal expression. It is no doubt that the influence of the African music hit Bermuda’s shores. Throughout the 1920’s -1980′ the Bermudian musician expressed the musical talents although faced with many barriers through racism they pressed on and opened doors for those who came after them. These early musicians first played in Big Bands ,  Marching Bands church Choirs and organist. As the war years took its toll and musician returned from their participation in the war we saw the emergence of Calypso Bands,Quartet trio’s and songsters. The world of music has continued to evolve and Bermuda’s musicians continue to play their role as new forms of music emerge in hip hop, reggae, rap and newer forms of inspirational music.  They continue to move their feet to the rhythmic beat of the Gombey drum, Socca, Salsa and the sacred sounds of the upbeat in Gospel Music. For  many people in other cultures music is an important part of their way of life.  The Indian who dances to their special drum beat with their colourful regaled native dress and the chants unique to them. The African who continues to swing and swirl to their African beats and yells of sounds only known to them and the joy that comes from them. Bermuda should be no exception. We should not be struggling to work in a field that we enjoy. We should not have to compete with the visiting musician.  Like many countries we should learn our musical history, tell the story of our past musicians,encourage our aspiring musicians to fight for their dreams treasure the countries  heritage and be proud to be Bermudian.     

Inez Kennedy ” Her Educational Journey”


 Inez KennedyInez Ruth Caroline Kennedy was the eldest daughter of Arthur and Ada Kennedy. She grew up on Sea Gull Lane in Spanish Point.  Both her parents were teachers and encouraged her to excel in school. Inez attended the Berkeley Institute and the Excelsior Secondary School. At age seventeen she began teaching privately and in 1938 she was appointed assistant teacher at the Temperance Hall School in Hamilton Parish. In 1941 she transferred to the West Pembroke Primary School where she remained  until 1944. She entered Teachers College at Columbia University, earning a diploma in early education. Upon returning home she accepted a post at the Francis Patton School where she taught for twenty-five years. She was famous for her Christmas plays and under her guidance students, teachers and parents participated in the productions which raised much needed funds for the school. Inez was an expert at teaching with one hand and making costumes with the other. She was known for always having extra art work displayed in her class room. She eventually rose to the position of deputy head and on occasion served as acting principal. In 1979 she received the Service award from Francis Patton School for faithful,devoted and valuable service. Inez Kennedy excelled in other areas she was a gifted tennis player. She became involved in the sport when she was a teenager and played competitively until her thirties. She captured the Somers Isle Lawn Tennis Association Ladies Singles title, the Unity Club Ladies Championship and several other trophies.  Inez believed in family and at the loss of one of her siblings she encouraged her nieces to further their education and supported them in their endeavors. They excelled  one becoming a teacher, one a nurse and the other a legal Secretary. On contemplating retirement in 1975 she was  presented with a new challenge. Inez took on the job of teacher -librarian at the Ruth Seaton James Auditorium Library. During her summer recess she continued her studies at teacher’s college Columbia University and Ontario College in Canada. There was another side to Inez’s life, that off her spiritual learning. She worshiped at the St. Paul. A.M. E church  where her love for children led her to serve as a Sunday school teacher. There she taught for over twenty years becoming District and then Conference Superintendent. In 1972 she was presented with the church’s highest lay award “The Richard Allen Award” for outstanding services in the church and community. She was also chosen as the Outstanding Christian woman of the year. She was an avid gardener , loved fishing off the rocks in her Spanish point area and  loved to travel. She explored Italy, Egypt, India the Orient and many other places. Hers was a life most loved and well lived.

Iris followed in their footsteps 1911-2007



Iris DeshieldaIris Mae deShield was born to Thomas and Annie Jones Phillips. She received her early education from Ms. Edith Crawford and Rufus J Stovell. Iris had the desire to go into the nursing field but her parents had other plans for her. They were in the Tailoring and Dressing Making Industry, and needed her to help them run their business. She obediently followed their lead and became  gifted in the art of tailoring and professional designing. She studied for several years under the guidance of her father and developed the skills required for her creative craft which was “good workmanship, accuracy, and attention to detail.” Iris was recognized for her abilities and this was demonstrated at the Woman’s Shop (now known as Gibbons Company ) where she supervised the designing of garments for the display window for several years.  She continued to develop her skills in her profession and soon opened her own business known as the Fashion House on Church Street. She was able to hire three assistants and  her business thrived. She created many fashions for prominent people among them Mrs. Sheila Leather the wife of the serving governor at that time Sir Edward Leather.

In 1938 she married George Arthur deShield, and of this union had three sons. After some years Iris ventured into the teaching field and began that career at the Girls Institute where she remained for several years making the students blazers and teaching tailoring. She moved on to Prospect School for Girls and later to Sandy’s Secondary School where she instituted a new class room to teach sewing. The students were taught to make designer garments, pillowcases, and other arts and craft projects which were later displayed for purchase. She enlisted the services of inmates to make her some cutting tables. While at Sandy’s Secondary she was instrumental in developing a charm school course, the first in a secondary school it was a venture that became very successful. Upon retirement from the school  Iris used her talent in many ways and in 1966 she presented “Extravaganza of Style” for stout women creating one of a kind garments. She was later hired to make shrouds for the deceased at  Cecil Frith’s Funeral Home on Ewing Street. She took a course in Millinery and received a Diploma from the Academy of Millinery Design, qualifying her as a professional Custom Millinery. Iris was very much involved in church and she became a stanch member of St. Paul A.M.E. on Victoria and Court Streets. She was active in the Senior Choir, Steward Board, and Missionary Society. She was elected to the office of Conference Branch President. She gave of herself to her community serving as Chaplin of the Business and Professional Women’s Club, member of the Sunshine League, President of the Socratic Literary Club, President of the Gay Nineties  Club , Secretary of the Sunshine Garden Club, a life member of the Bermuda Garden Club a member of National Trust Tree Committee. She was a founding member and President of the Fellowship Circle, a founding member of the ladies Auxiliary of the Matilda Smith Williams Senior Residence. She was also an active member of the Star of Warwick Lodge N0.3 and a member of the Commission of Charities. Iris hobbies included travelling, gardening, singing and  poetry. Iris had a lovely quote centered around her life. “Sewing is my life, take sewing from me and my work is done. Well done church sister your living was not in vain.

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 St. 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.

Here of late so much has been said about Mary Prince the horrid treatment she received even questions should she have been put on our heroes list. Well we are still trying to give her, the recognition she so justly deserves. The Cultural committee under than affairs minister Lovitta Foggo quickly put up a sign at Devonshire Bay with Mary Prince Park displayed on it. It will rarely be seen and it’s no beauty around it Surely a slave that endured that amount of brutality from at least 5 masters deserves better than that. So here comes along change the name of one day of the cup match to Mary Prince Day. Well!! I haven’t changed my mind Mary deserves a day of her own and a statue. Why! because who among us is going to call the changed name of cup match and say I’m going to celebrate Mary Prince Day. When Bermudians ask the question it’s are you already for cup match and Mary Prince Day is left in the shadows. Call me an a die hard believer but one day they’ll get it. Bermudians are set in their ways and no amount of name changing will make them relate to Mary Prince as one of the days of the cup match celebration. All hail when the statue arrives I keep on praying that sometime soon Mary has her own special holiday maybe on Hero’s Day.

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.

Charles Alfred Daulphin & George Trott—- Followed their Sports dreams

Very often we have personalities in our midst that we seldom speak about and once passed on we seldom think about. So I take this opportunity to record in history a brief outline of the life of these two persons in the sports arena of Bermuda. Charles Alfred Daulphin was born on  15th of September 1936 in the Frizwell’s Pond Hill Area.He was educated at Ms. Galleons School and Elliott Primary school  in Devonshire. He later joined his father Joseph in the family Construction business. He spent several years with the firm and this provided him with the skills that would serve him in later life. As his life progressed Charles along with his life long friend Mr. William Minors established the International Sports Shop on Bermudiana Road in Hamilton which became a thriving enterprise.  Charles attended the Grace Methodist Church in Pembroke where he attended Sunday School and sang in the choir. He was an avid sportsman and was haled    as one of the most exciting players to grace the annual summer Classic ‘CUP MATCH”‘  He was an excellent batsman, fielder and one of the islands most feared pace bowlers in his heyday. He was definitely a team player.  His Cup Match years covered from 1956-1967. During those years he scored some 405 runs and his highest score being 67. He had a partnership in one Cup match with Sherdian  Raynor in 1964 when between them they made 166 runs. Sherdian was a well-known member of the Raynor family of Southampton and joined several of his family members in the sport of cricket. Charles also played football  with the Pembroke Juniors in October of 1951 playing as a center forward now described in modern-day terms as striker’ he also player right full back . He developed into one of the islands best defenders. He was a keen competitor who played his game clean and hard. and proved to be a no nonsense defender with a powerful kick. He was a credit to sports and a fine example of sportsmanship.

Charles A. Dulphin  Today players would do well to emulate his gentlemanly conduct. He earned the highest respect as a gentleman and sports personality.

Joining Charles is another man who had gained the respect of his peers in the sports arena and his community. George Trott born on 8th June 1928 the son of  Mr. Wakefield Trott and Mildred Hill Trott from Hamilton Parish. He attended school at Temperance Hall at Crawl hill. At age 14 he went to work to help support his family. he was a carpenter by trade but also worked at Pink beach Hotel and as a waiter at one point at the Mid-Ocean Club. George also helped his father on occasion with in his father’s Lime Kiln. George loved cricket and played his first match at age 17. It was here he began to establish himself as an outstanding player. He was classed as Bermuda’s best Umpire. He earned a reputation during his time as an early order batsman and seam bowler who occasionally took the new ball.  In  his earlier days he played cricket at Hamilton Parish in the 1960s’. He was a dependable early order batsman and a good bowler he was a very strict personality. His biggest contribution to local cricket was as an Umpire and his high standard earned him the respect of players and peers alike. He brought a lot of professionalism to the organisation Bermuda Cricket Umpires Association. Many up and coming umpires were taught their craft by Mr. Trott. He was the first Bermudian to officiate  in a world cup qualifier at the 1990 ICC trophy in the Netherlands and also stood in the middle in an unprecedented 11 successive “CUP MATCH’ classics. George was a great ambassador for Bermuda. He was honoured by the Bright Temple A.M.E  church for his service to Cup match. George left a legacy for the younger generation to follow. He left us on the same date as he arrived into this beautiful world on his 90th birthday  8th June 2018. Thank you George for your contribution to the sport of Cricket and to your country.

Henry ‘Hank’ Eldrige James———— He shared his Success

Henry ‘Hank” Eldrige James was born into a large family on 28th July 1936. He was the second youngest of his siblings. His earliest schooling was at Central School. It was noticeable from his early years that he had the potential to be a leader. While most of his neighbourhood friends were opting to play for major football teams in the area such as Pembroke Juniors and Devonshire Lions, Henry and his friends created his own team called the Dock Hill Rangers. They worked diligently to get their team sanctioned by the Bermuda Football League and when they did it became a team to be reckoned with. Henry being the sports personality also loved cricket and was instrumental in the formation of the Pond Hill Stars. Henry kept his family involved in his sporting activities they were some off his biggest supporters.  He was ambitious in his business life  and so determined was he to succeed that he associated himself with several businesses. The Jungle Room, Peter Pans’ Pantry, Club Nine , Galaxy Night Club and Saks of St. George’s and partnered in all these with his friends Irving Simmons. He was successful in being one of the first black Bermudians to own a business on Front Street with Smokers Corner/ Bermuda handcrafts. Several of Henry’s pass times was fishing, golfing,and beaching with his family. He was a giving person and always ready to help others. He was well-respected and became an icon in his community.

Mr Music Man —David Derick Symonds –March 7,1942-August 26 2009

David Derick Symonds was a man with a rich and varied life better known to his many friends as Derick or nickname ‘C J). he was the son of Alma Symonds and Earl Simons. His early education was at Central school Victor Scott) He later graduated from St. George Secondary School,Central Technical Institute  and National Institute of Broadcasting in Toronto Canada. He took several broadcasting, courses which included the London School of Broadcasting. His voice could be heard on both Radio and Television for Capital Broadcasting Company (Z F B) . He took on the gimmick name of “Cousin Juicy.) he joined the public transportation Board where he trained in public relations and became a sightseeing coordinator and instructor. He remained  with them for 19 years. He served  as Master of Ceremonies for the Bermuda Beauty pageant and the Queen of Bermuda and Miss Teen Bermuda. He loved jazz and became a part owner of K J A Z 98.1 FM. He hosted many major Jazz shows on the Island this also included the Ms. Bermuda Pageant  for 19 years. He hosted Bermuda’s first Jazz festival at the National Stadium and festivals held at the Royal Naval Dockyard. Derick became a notable sort after person to emcee several outstanding events including Amnesty International Jazz and Razzmatazz. He never hesitated to volunteer his services with small youth bands. He accompanied the school for the blind on their educational trips abroad and sailed on the Lord Nelson with Donald McIntosh. He promoted and produced stage shows with Champagne Productions. He interviewed great musicians like Freddy  Hubbard, Dave Brubeck,Ahmad Jamal, Joe Sample, Al Jarreau, Herbie Hancock, T.S.Monk, Kenny Garrett and many others. In 1983 Derick realized his love for Baha ‘u’lla’h and became a Baha’i. he became an active member on several committees. Derick was responsible for bringing the Baha’i live radio show to the air waves . He loved to sing and at one point sang with the “Sub -Tropicals” later renamed ‘ The Ebb-Tides’  the group later recorded  with Edmar Records and their records received airplay on radio CHUM Toronto,  Canada and Bermuda. He sang with the Baha’i group Lights of Guidance under the direction of Kingsley Swan. C J received the Bermuda Bravery Award for saving the life of an infant girl who ended up in the ocean off the North Shore. He was the recipient of the Queen’s certificate and badge of honour in 2006 for his contributions  to Jazz in Bermuda. He received honours for the Bermuda National Youth Jazz Ensemble by the rhythm Lab, CMB enterprises and Adley productions.  Derrick ( C.J) had an astounding faith and exhibited this throughout his life. He no doubt made an invaluable contribution to his craft of Jazz music, his church and community.

Researched for Bermudian Heritage Museum. By Joy

No stone unturned James Alfred ‘Sonny’ Edwards Sr.

James A Edwards was the eldest child of Charles A. Edwards and Millicent L. Edwards. They resided in the family homestead on Glebe Road in Pembroke. He attended the Band room  school in North Village once known as Mr. Robinson’s School he then went on to Central School. He was an entrepreneurial person  and this led him to a vast working career. He worked as a Prison Officer, Police Officer, a taxi owner/ Operator, Security guard and a horse groomer. He found his way into several fields. During the years of the horse and buggy days he worked with Cecil Frith Funeral Home. He drove the horse-drawn funeral hearse for Bermuda’s Funeral Directors, such as Perinchief and Bulley-Graham. His handling of horses was one of his greatest passions and he showed his expertise as he drove for many an event such as Funerals and Weddings. This afforded him to be selected to drive for several Governors of Bermuda to all official duties Parades, church and memorial services. He would become a well know owner and operator of a taxi which became the major transportation of many entertainers that performed at the Forty Thieves Club one of the most popular night clubs in Bermuda where he also served as a security  guard during his spare time. He drove such entertainers as Aretha Franklin, Nancy Wilson, The Platters to name a few. He operated the Diamond Catering Service  which was a lunch wagon at many locations about the Island. He attended St. Paul A.M.E. church and served as one of its senior ushers for many years. He surely left a legacy for his children to follow.