Tag Archives: Black History

Bajan Ralph Straker passes in the UK – One of thousands recruited from the Caribbean by London Transport in the 1950s

Ralph Straker Barbados London Transit That’s Ralph on the left!  🙂

Left Barbados for London Transport in 1956

Many of those who came to Britain had expected to stay for a few years, but remained for most of their working lives. They often maintained strong links with home, as well as making new friends at work and in the community.

Ralph Straker, recruited as a bus conductor in 1956, agrees.

He said: ‘I have a house already waiting on me there.

‘But my wife isn’t quite ready yet.

‘She’s waiting on the grandchildren… I am waiting to put my foot on the sands and sip my rum punch.

‘I’m looking forward to the day when we can do that.’

… from a 2010 article in Transport for London (here)

Ralph Straker passed on Saturday October 12, 2013 at 77 years old – which is not that old in Bajan terms, but he’d been living in the UK since 1956 and that fast pace must take a few years off a person. But Ralph and his wifey Monica had been married for 54 years, had hundreds of friends and their children and extended family, so Ralph by all accounts led a good life. He was a verger at his church for 45 years and you can’t call a man like that anything but a bedrock of the community and a true leader by example.

Mr. Straker was one of thousands from the Caribbean recruited in the 1950s by London Transit to counter the exodus of Brits after the war to places far afield like South Africa, Australia, America, Canada and the orient. That adventure alone is worth a read.

Our prayers for the Straker family and friends.

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Was Black Freemason and Abolitionist Prince Hall born in Barbados?

Murder victim Fred Parris former Prince Hall Grand Master Freemason

An upsurge in search queries from New York about murder victim Fred Parris made us curious about the famous free black leader and abolitionist, Prince Hall.

Victim Fred Parris (photo left), the brother-in-law of Barbados Governor General Sir Clifford Husbands, was elected in 1995 as the 52nd Grand Master of the Prince Hall Masons of New York State. Mr. Parris was murdered Wednesday, December 8, 2010 while out for his morning walk and sea-bath at Brighton Beach. Police say that robbery was not the motive.

Prince Hall: Escaped Barbados slave, Boston slave or born free?

In researching the “Prince Hall Freemasons” that obtained a Warrant for Charter from the Grand Lodge of England in 1784 and formed African Lodge #459, we came across conflicting accounts of the birth place and origins of Mr. Prince Hall, one of the founders of Black Freemasonry in the United States. Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Culture & Race Issues, History, Human Rights, Slavery