Bermuda slave ship story re-told
Feb 11, 2010
Exactly 175 years back, a ship named Enterprize and carrying 78 American slaves reached Bermuda that resulted in the freedom of the slaves. On Feb 10th 2010, after 175 years, the story was re-enacted in Bermuda in a stormy weather that was quite similar to when the real thing happened.
The ship Enterprize was originally bound for South Carolina from Alexandria, Virginia.
It was carrying some cargo and transporting 78 American slaves. But as the fate would have it, the ship got into a severe ocean storm and had to divert to Bermuda for repairs. This was on 11th Feb, 1835.
But by that time and only about six months back on August 1, 1834, Bermuda had already granted freedom to its own slaves - a day known as the Emancipation Day in Bermuda. This prompted the Governor of Bermuda to offer the same gesture and freedom to the slaves of the ship Enterprize. Out of 78 of them, 72 chose freedom.
Many Bermudians today relate their ancestry to the freed slaves.
The reenactment was organized by Hamilton Corporation and the Bermuda Government at Barr's Bay
amidst strong stormy winds.
Out of four actors, one played the role of the Captain of the Ship, one as Bermuda's Pilot, one as the collector of customs, and another as the president of Young Men's Friendly Institution that fought for the freedom of the slaves.
The re-enactment represented view points from both sides, as the Captain of the ship said: "78 slaves are property of persons in America", the President of Young men's Friendly Institution tells him "Captain Smith, I hope one day you will be able to understand, people are not property."
The re-enactment later continued in Supreme Court
, with 78 schoolchildren from Warwick Academy, Mount Saint Agnes and the Berkeley Institute each holding a placard naming one of the slaves from the Enterprize
. The courtroom session represented the hearing of February 1835 in front of the Chief Justice.
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