The First Among Many- Robert Charles Crawford O.B.E

Robert Charles Crawford was born on 7th. February 1882 the son of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Henry Crawford. He was educated at the school conducted by Mr. Jarius Swan. He started out with limited opportunities but became most successful through his determination to do well. He was brother to Catherine, Matilda, Albert Crawford and Lauretta Scott. At age 14 he started his business life as a news paper delivery boy for Mr. S.S. Toddings editor and publisher of the ‘Bermuda Colonist’ . He took an interest in printing but he did not relish this as a life long career. He left Bermuda to further his work overseas. In 1908 he was employed by the Toronto Globe. He returned to Bermuda in 1925  and returned to his previous job where he had earlier worked as a delivery boy and became the first Bermudian foreman of Bermuda’s only afternoon paper at that time. During the intervening years 1912-1925 he rose to be General Manager of the Mid-Ocean News. In 1925 he decided to branch out for himself and established the Hamilton Press. He was outstanding in his business activities and was a long serving government printer. He married Ms. Julia Tucker on September 28th. 1905 and of that union was one daughter Dorothy who married Dr. V. O’Donnell King. Mr. Crawford developed an interest in the political activities of the Island and  in 1928 at the passing of Mr. Hilton Gray Hill who was a member of the House of Assembly for Pembroke, Mr. Crawford was elected unopposed as the candidate of the Pembroke Political Association in a by election and in less than four months during the next general electionHon.Robert Charles Crawford O.B.E.   of the same year in 1928, the Hon. R.C. Crawford was elected once again as the representative of the Association in his Parish. In 1942 he was elevated to the Legislative Council and there he secured the enactment of a most historic piece of legislation the Juvenile Offenders Act  on 16th. February 1933 which brought into being the Nonsuch Training School and it passed in both the Upper and Lower house without opposition. Prior to this young people were jailed with harden criminals. His contribution to better road ways for Pembroke was another outstanding feat. Two examples are the Frizwell’s Hill Road separating the parishes from Parsons Road leading to Prospect meeting the crest of the Hill and connects with North Shore via Pond Road(Now Glebe Hill). It was one of the first public highways built by the Department of Public Works to service the people in the community.  The direct road to the Berkeley Institute in the re-organization of which he played a distinct part was also an indirect political off spring.  He served as chairman of the Berkeley governing body and put forward the Berkeley Institute Act by which the school became a regular constituted ‘aided school’ with the Government -in-Council claiming three out off five seats on the Governing Body for grants. Notable Mrs. Dorothy Crawford King served for many years on staff of the Berkeley School having received her Bachelors’ degree at the University of Toronto and Oxford University, London. The Hon. R.C. Crawford  also served as Vice Chair at which time he faced great challenges in the history of the board. He faced some opposition which involved the deportation of the British Alien under the chairman ship of the late Hon. Attorney General Thomas M Dill  never-the less  R. C. Crawford took his bumps and continued to fight the battle. He took on the task to make education and its facilities better for coloured children. He served on several boards . He was a well-travelled and well read man he brought a wealth of knowledge and experience to the educational system. He gave many scholarships to various schools but for the most part  Berkeley and Central school (Victor Scott). He fought the passage of the Hotel keepers protection Act which allowed hotel owners to order persons from their premises without reason while Deputy chairman of the immigration board . He was a member in charge of the immigration amendment Act in 1938. and served as a member for 10 years. A Freemason Mr. Crawford was a member of the Abercorn Lodge . The alumni of the Howard University recommended he receive a hounary degree unfortunately he did not survive to receive that honour. He received the Order of the British Empire the first person of colour to be honoured in this manner and was issued this under the Governor of Bermuda Lt.Gen. Sir T.A. Cubitt and also received the Jubilee medal for meritorious Community Service. His crowning achievement was being elected to the Legislative Council. The school which was named in memory  after him the Robert Crawford School unfortunately met its demise but former students still talk about the good work and education they obtained there as students.  The Hon. Robert Charles Crawford’s contributions to Bermuda should not go unnoticed. He was an icon and his name should be recorded in the annuals of political and educational history as a hero. He was a noble man, churchman, great philosopher and friend to many. He earned his greatest reward in the grand lodge above but may his contributions never be forgotten.