Paget Primary celebrates black Bermudian icons

  • On the beat: Paget Primary P2 students honour Frederick “Penny” Bean, the first black Bermudian police commissioner (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

    On the beat: Paget Primary P2 students honour Frederick “Penny” Bean, the first black Bermudian police commissioner (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)


Black Bermudian icons from cooks to craftsmen were highlighted when a primary school turned museum yesterday.

Paget Primary School hosted its third annual Black History Museum as a finale to Black History Month.

The pupils also had an opportunity to meet many of the trailblazers featured in their class projects.

Milan Ascento, 9, said that her P5 class spent the morning making traditional Bermudian crafts with artist Shirley Pearman, a pioneer in the preservations of Bermudian arts and crafts.

She explained: “Ms Pearman talked to us about the things she made when she was younger and helped us make our own crafts.

“We were all making things like baskets, fortune tellers and flowers.”

Milan said that her class also created a timeline that detailed Ms Pearman’s life, career and accomplishments.

She added that many of Ms Pearman’s original works were on display, including a floor mat made from a burlap sack and yarn.

Milan said: “My favourite thing that Ms Pearman showed me has to be this book Trail Blazers.

“She said that this was her favourite book because it was the first time she saw black people in a book.”

Milan added that her class project taught her about Bermuda’s history of racism and motivated her to learn from past injustices.

She explained: “During the time of segregation, I know that there weren’t a lot of people who enjoyed seeing black people, so it really inspired me to be kind to others.”

Kaiden Faries, 6, said that his P1 class turned their classroom into a kitchen to highlight veteran chef Herbie Bascome.

Treamae Smith, Kaiden’s teacher, said that the youngsters created their own dishes from artificial food to highlight the hospitality industry.

She added that samples of Mr Bascome’s signature dish, Bermuda fish chowder, were given to attendees at the exhibition.

Kaiden said that he learnt about Mr Bascome’s 52-year culinary career, as well as his schooling and awards.

He added that his class met Mr Bascome at the Fairmont Southampton, where he worked for more than 40 years, and watched him in action.

Kaiden said: “We got to see him chopping the watermelon into pieces and then put the watermelon on a stick so we could eat it.

“My favourite part was when we got to eat the watermelon.”

Debbie Jones-Hunter, a track and field legend, also highlighted at the event, said that she was “truly overwhelmed” to see how much work had been put into the P5 exhibit about her.

She added: “sports for me was always about having an accomplishment, but then moving on to the next chapter.

“When I now look at the display, the way that the dots of my life have been connected really has me at a loss for words.”

Ms Jones-Hunter, who won 21 medals between 1972 and 1977, said that the exhibition helped her to chart her life’s progress.

She added that she visited the P5 pupils on February 13 and spoke to them about sports and personal responsibility.

Ms Jones-Hunter said: “It’s not just about sports — you can be as great as you are, but if you don’t have the social attributes and the respect level necessary, you’re not guaranteed to make it.”

Other honourees included L. Frederick Wade, a former Progressive Labour Party leader credited for leading the party to their first near victory; Frederick “Penny” Bean, the first black Bermudian to become the Commissioner of Police; Roosevelt Brown (Pauulu Kamarakafego), a civil-rights leader and parliamentarian known for his expertise in ecological engineering; and Gina Swainson, who won Miss World in 1979.

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Published Feb 28, 2020 at 8:00 am (Updated Feb 28, 2020 at 12:11 am)

Paget Primary celebrates black Bermudian icons

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