Israel Daniel Lovell, the revered Barbadian Pan Africanist who came to notable prominence during the 1930s liberation movement, deserves to be made a National Hero.
General Secretary for the Caribbean Movement for Peace and Integration, David Denny repeated that call on Monday, the Day of National Significance, during a ceremony to commemorate the contributions of Lovell, Clement Payne and other noted revolutionaries of the 1937 Rebellion in Barbados.
Pointing out that Lovell argued fervently against race and class discrimination that eventually led up to the riots, Lovell said: “I believe that Israel Lovell should be made a National Hero because Israel Lovell played a leading role during the 1930s period, he helped to create the conditions for the labour movement for political parties, and then he ended up suffering for his contributions.
“Israel Lovell came out of a period that is very important for us, and the Caribbean Movement for Peace and Integration recommends to the Ministry of Culture, through the Permeant Secretary, that Israel Lovell should be made a National Hero. We also recommend that Nanny Grigg should be made a National Hero,” added Denny at the ceremony held at Lovell’s tombstone at the St George Parish Church.
History lecturer at the University of the West Indies, Dr Rodney Worrell who also spoke during the morning’s commemorations, said that while Lovell became a fearless leader of the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) Barbados chapter, with support from persons such as Payne, Charles Duncan O’Neal and others who fought for better socio-economic conditions for Barbadians, they were ostracized by much of the ruling class for their efforts. However, he said, they persevered.
“When you understand the intellectual prowess of persons like Lovell and those individuals, they had a perspective of a better Barbados, and they had a perspective of a better world, and they had a perspective with a global dimension, because while they were discussing the terrible conditions facing the working class people – low wages, long hours of work, no trade unions, etcetera – they were also tapping in on the Italian invasion of Ethiopia as well. They recognized that black people all over the world were being taken [advantage] of in the 1920s and 1930s.
“They were harassed by the feared Barbados police, they were harassed by their employers who would turn up at meetings with the prospect of losing their jobs, but these faithful men and women had a conception of a different world, had a conception of a better world, and they were prepared to lay life and limb on the line.”