Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Bahamas Historical Society -- January Meetings

The Bahamas Historical Society has an exciting line-up of meetings and speakers for the new year. Please join us for the following presentations:

1. Thursday, January 15th, 2009 – Ward Minnis: “National Identity, Tourism and the Fergusons of Farm Road, 1970-74.”

When majority rule came to the Bahamas in 1967 the black population was in an exuberant mood. Despite their newfound pride though, blacks were still working to serve whites because of the country's economic dependence on the tourism industry. Reports of tourist harassment were soon on the increase and the new government worried that low levels of tourist satisfaction would have dire economic circumstances.

Enter "the Fergusons of Farm Road." This radio soap-opera was designed to educate Bahamians on the importance of tourism to the economy and to thus encourage them to improve their attitudes towards white vacationers. The show started in 1970 and became immensely popular. Thus the show exists on the cross-roads between tourism, economic policy, national identity and cultural production, and as such is worthy of study. The show sheds light on the tensions existing in Bahamian society in this crucial phase of its history. Tensions between the government and the governed, between blacks and whites, and between the tourist and the native, issues of gender, race and the potential for black leadership are all there in the surviving episode scripts. The show also raises questions about the media as a form of social control.

2. Thursday, January 22nd, 2009 – Dr. Munir Rashad, Secretary of Jamaat-ul-Islaam of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas: “The History of Islaam in the Bahamas.”

By inviting Dr. Rashad to talk about the history of Islam in the Bahamas, we hope to illustrate that Bahamian history and culture is indeed rich and multi-facetted. May this be the first in a series of lectures to include groups that are often “overlooked” in the Bahamian mainstream.

3. Thursday, January 29th, 2009 – Dr. Peter T. Dalleo: “‘That Boasted Land of Negro Liberty’: Afro-Bahamian Sailors and the Union Navy During the U.S. Civil War.”

Dr. Dalleo has identified 62 sailors about whom he will present a group profile that includes their place of birth, occupation prior to enlistment, age at enlistment and where enlisted, names and types of vessels on which they served. He has chosen a few of them to highlight as examples of types of actions in which they were involved and an assessment of their contribution to the war effort. He will also speculate about the reasons that they enlisted in the Union Navy.

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