Happy Birthday George Lamming

One of our most illustrious sons of the soil is celebrating his 94th birthday on this day. For avid readers and even for those who are not, In the Castle of my Skin is highly recommended by the blogmaster.

Unlike developed societies, Caribbean people are loath to give acclaim to home-grown literary talent.

We thank you for showing that a native of the soil, from humble origins, raised on a tiny island is capable of performing on the global stage with distinction.

Happy Birth Day Sir.

BORN

June 8, 1927 (age 94)

Carrington Village, Barbados

(Born on this day)

NOTABLE WORKS

“The Pleasures of Exile”

“Of Age and Innocence”

“Season of Adventure”

“Natives of My Person”

“The Emigrants”

“Water with Berries”

“In the Castle of My Skin”

Britannica

80 comments

  • https://barbadostoday.bb/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/George-Lamming-1-730×456.jpg
    Icon George Lamming marks 94th birthday
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    June 8, 2021

    Barbados’ most accomplished and acclaimed author Professor George Lamming celebrates his 94th birthday today, June 8.

    Poet, novelist, essay writer, orator, lecturer, teacher, editor and tireless activist for a new world-order, Lamming seemed to have entered the world of Caribbean letters as an elder statesman. Born on June 8, 1927 in Carrington Village, St Michael, he attended Roebuck’s Boys’ School from which he won a scholarship to Combermere.

    There, fostered by his teacher Frank Collymore, publisher of the literary journal BIM, who permitted Lamming to use his private library, Lamming developed a passion for reading and began his literary career as a poet.

    Recommended by Collymore, Lamming at the age of 19 gained a teaching position at El Collegio de Venezuela, a boarding school for boys in Port-of-Spain Trinidad, where between 1946 and 1950, Lamming taught English to young Hispanic students before migrating to England in 1950.

    Lamming encountered England as an already mature and profoundly organic intellectual, whose most vivid childhood memory was of the March 1937 Labour Riots in Barbados, and whose Trinidad experience had exposed him to that country’s poets – Cecil Herbert and Eric Roach – and young nationalistic intellectuals, in those early days of Universal Adult Suffrage, wildcat politics, emergent trade unionism and agitation for social and political reform.

    The depths of Lamming’s understanding of social, political and historical issues were soon revealed in his first four novels: In the Castle of My Skin, (1953), The Emigrants, (1954) Of Age and Innocence (1958) and Season of Adventure, (1960).

    In the Castle of My Skin he presented the plantation as economic, social and psychic structure, locating the Barbadian village in its erased history of feudal serfdom, and recognising the ambiguity of colonial education as an agency of both social emancipation and mental re-enslavement. Lamming’s novels and essays for three decades afterwards would mercilessly scrutinise the new class of intellectual proprietors and overseers produced by that education.

    As the idea of a West Indian Federation took shape in the mid-1950’s, Lamming in 1955 dreamed up the concept of the “New World of the Caribbean”.

    Together with Martin Carter, Wilson Harris, Arthur Seymour and other writers, he celebrated this concept of a new world in four epic radio programmes of readings, in which Caribbean journeys of discovery, migration, arrival, return and reconstruction were recognised as part of the same process of becoming.

    He then infused his next two novels with this spirit of regionalism, by creating in his imaginary nation of San Cristobal, a composite Caribbean state. In Season of Adventure, San Cristobal combines the cultural features of Trinidad, Haiti and Jamaica, while in Of Age and Innocence, San Cristobal is patterned on the histories and racially tinctured politics of Guyana and Trinidad, with their large African and Asian-ancestored populations.

    By means of these two novels Lamming held out to the Caribbean alternative possibilities of redemption and catastrophe, cultural fusion and ethnic fission.

    Lamming divined that true political liberation in fragmented, multiethnic colonies needed to be based on open dialogue, shared experience and communion both between and within ethnic groups; a communion itself that required trust, absolute candour and honesty between the leadership and populace on the one hand, and between the contesting communities in an ethnically diverse society.

    Being both realist and dreamer, Lamming recognised that these qualities of openness, trust and candour had never been permitted existence in a colonial situation, and showed how secrecy and mistrust could generate social and political catastrophe. Lamming has since then remained a resolute, eloquent and probably sad prophet against racism in Caribbean politics; a warner, even in the face of past disasters and present disintegration.

    Lamming has always written and spoken with a sense of mission. Speaking in 1970 on The Social Role of Writers he declared that: “The writer or artist is, in fact, a citizen and a worker; and his social role should be contained in the process of that work.

    “The novelist or poet in such a society would be performing a social role of the greatest importance by writing the novels and poems which he feels he has to write and which bear witness to the experiences of that society at any or all of its levels.

    “A social function has truly been fulfilled if such work helps to create an awareness of society which did not exist before; or to inform and enrich an awareness which was not yet deeply felt.”

    Speaking of his own sense of mission, Lamming defined himself in the same terms that he once used to define CLR James, as “a kind of evangelist. I’m a preacher of some kind. I am a man bringing a message . . . I don’t know what you would make of it.” The novel, the essay, the interview, the conversation, the lecture, the great oration — these are simply the different structures through which Lamming has brought his messages, be they affirmations or admonitions.

    He has delivered his messages all over the world: in Barbados, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, at the Universities of Texas at Austin, Pennsylvania, Miami where he has taught creative writing or attended conferences; in Australia, Denmark, Tanzania, the U.K., Canada, where he has been on lecture tours; in Cuba, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti.

    He has travelled to all parts of the globe, this youthful veteran voicing his messages with the same sense of mission he saw in CLR James; displaying “this intellectual energy… this enthusiasm… this extraordinary optimism about what you have here and what could be made of it.”

    (Caricom.org)

    Editor’s Note: This is an edited version of a citation for the Order of the Caribbean Community (Caricom) bestowed upon the literary luminary in 2008.

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  • Thanks Donna for reminding the blog of an important milestone belonging to a son of the soil.

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  • The Great George Lamming is one of the two most worthy Bajans to have ever lived. The second would no doubt to General Bussa.

    Lamming to his eternal credit is the only known Bajan who viscerally rebuffed the colonial government of Erskine Sandiford which proposed a knighthood.

    Lamming’s argument was, and is, that he had spent his entire life fighting against colonialism, neocolonialism, imperialism and capitalism making him ineligible for this tainted trinket.

    More telling were the events as dramatized by a vexed Lamming. Those unfamiliar would have presumed that Sandiford’s ill-advised actions amounted to an abuse of his mother.

    Lamming is the only benchmark by which we must be all judged.

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  • Ase.

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  • Happy Birthday Sir

    I am proud to say that an academic of your sort has attended my Primary School ….. Roebuck Boys Primary which was located in the heart of bridgetown ……

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  • Would the contents of these words spoken by Lamming hold any truth or can be applied to the lyrics ofTrojan Riddinn Mix video

    Xxxxx
    Speaking in 1970 on The Social Role of Writers he declared that: “The writer or artist is, in fact, a citizen and a worker; and his social role should be contained in the process of that work.

    “The novelist or poet in such a society would be performing a social role of the greatest importance by writing the novels and poems which he feels he has to write and which bear witness to the experiences of that society at any or all of its levels.

    “A social function has truly been fulfilled if such work helps to create an awareness of society which did not exist before; or to inform and enrich an awareness which was not yet deeply felt.”

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  • William Skinner

    George Lamming has remained true to the revolutionary/ liberation cause.
    A true Comrade and Revolutionary.

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  • Pach

    General Bussa was an urban legend…………

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  • I read somewhere that George Lamming taught in England, but I don’t know how true this is, but for a man of his literary acclaimed, I do not think that he has gotten the national recognition that he rightfully deserves.

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  • Dompey

    People like Lamming don’t crave anybody’s recognition.

    They crave the fundamental transformation of our world in favour of the dispossessed, the downtrodden, the poor.

    Recognition, as an etymological, establishment, construct is precisely what he is against with every sinew of his being.

    Your “recognition” is central to the “virtue signaling” respectability ethos which gives a cultural meaninglessness to Barbados.

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  • If only…..

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  • @Pacha

    Given his achievements the blogmaster was surprised to learn he has been living in Barbados very much under the radar.

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  • David

    Yes, that is the nature of the man.
    Few know that although he was on the faculty of Brown University, one of the top four, socalled Ivey League, for years Lamming himself never reduced himself to even pursuing a first degree.

    He’s deh only Bajan this writer has known to tell a PM of Barbados to put a knighthood where the sun fails to shine.

    He’s the only genuine radical Barbados has known in this writer’s lifetime. All the the rest always find ways to compromise principles.

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  • Is this the type of personage we should be showcasing especially during this period? Perhaps not, defiance at the establishment should never be encouraged!

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  • D: “Given his achievements the blogmaster was surprised to learn he has been living in Barbados very much under the radar.”

    P: “He’s the only genuine radical Barbados has known in this writer’s lifetime. All the the rest always find ways to compromise principles.”

    why doesn’t Mr. Lamming post on BU, he seems to have no internet profile

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  • The man is 94 years old. He does not have to do anything more. He has over achieved. It should be up to his fellow countrymen to find ways to recognize him.

    Liked by 2 people

  • Why is it that the late St. Lucian literary writer, Derek Wolcott has gotten a lot more recognition in the Caribbean than George Lamming whom has received his national acclaimed before Wolcott?

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  • Derek Wolcott, as I have forgotten to mentioned, won the Nobel Prize in literature ………………………….

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  • William Skinner

    @ Pacha
    “He’s the only genuine radical Barbados has known in this writer’s lifetime. All the the rest always find ways to compromise principles.”
    Do you seriously believe that ? I am surprised that you consider him more radical than all the radicals we have known and were genuine. To say he is the only genuine one is a bit over the top.

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  • Skinner

    You may submit your list. Per usual you with exactitude will deny this writer poetic licence to stress a point of endearment.
    But gallop on!

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  • @ Dompey June 9, 2021 12:07 AM
    (Quote):
    I read somewhere that George Lamming taught in England, but I don’t know how true this is, but for a man of his literary acclaimed, I do not think that he has gotten the national recognition that he rightfully deserves. (Unquote)
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    There is a primary school (the old Carrington Village Primary) named after him.

    G L is not interested in colonial titles like knighthoods; otherwise he would be wearing one on his hypocritical sleeve like (Sir) Hilary Beckles.

    What about another literary icon Austin Tom Clarke now deceased?

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  • @Miller

    For upcoming Independence we can launch a limited line of the Tom Clarke shirtjac?

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  • William Skinner

    @ Pacha
    No argument sought/ needed. No exactitude offered or intended. I have no list. Just a bit surprised at the comment.
    Nothing further to say, Comrade.
    Peace

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  • @ David June 9, 2021 8:51 AM

    You are dating’ yourself there, blogmaster!

    What about outfitting the ‘working’ ladies many of whom are now the movers and shakers at the very top of the public sector workforce?

    Certainly not in shirt-jacs for “women” in the boardrooms or even paramilitary-looking fatigues for the de facto first female general of pending republic?

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  • David,

    I assume you were speaking tongue-in-cheek when you wondered if this is the kind of person we should be highlighting at present and stated that defiance of the establishment should not be encouraged at this time.

    There is never a bad time for the challenge of a thoughtful rebel with a good cause.

    And, I would submit that this time of upheavel is precisely the time to reimagine all systems and relationships – when we have hit rock bottom and only “business unusual” can build us back….. better, as is the current borrowed mantra.

    We are about to become a republic. Again an opportune time to challenge old colonial constructs, our relationship to our government, our Caricom neighbours and the wicked western world system especially.

    It is the thoughtless rebels of the west, those without a good cause, who have prolonged the current COVID crisis, a bunch of airheads led by the airhead of all airheads – Donald J. Trump.

    It is irrational rebellion not rational rebellion that causes problems. Rational rebellion solves them.

    And George Lamming is arguably the most rational rebel we have ever produced.

    Our political leaders, if they are at all serious about taking us forward, should seek his counsel or at the very least, his writings. We have already noted their lack of imagination to see beyond our current confines.

    We need to see the vision first because we all know that without it…. the people perish!

    We need Barbados to stretch itself truly…. just beyond the limited imagination of the colonial-minded.

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  • Sorry to hear of the passing of Clairmonte Taitt.

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  • Lamming ‘has claim to be a national hero’
    DISTINGUISHED Caribbean novelist Professor George Lamming could easily be a national hero of Barbados.
    So said Professor Richard Drayton, who was delivering online the 10th Annual George Lamming Distinguished Lecture, organised by the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill, on Tuesday.
    Drayton, professor of imperial and global history at King’s College in London, quoted Lamming as saying his generation’s experience was not one of physical cruelty. “Indeed, the colonial experience of my generation was almost without violence. No torture. No concentration camp. No mysterious disappearance of hostile natives.
    “No army encamped with orders to kill. The Caribbean endured a different kind of subjugation. It was the terror of the mind. A daily exercise in self-mutilation. Black versus black in a battle for self-improvement,” the lecturer said.
    Drayton added: “The battles which our creative artistes have fought, against that terror, against that silencing, against that fear, deserve to be recognised as kinds of heroism which are equal to the heroism of the batsmen at the crease, or the heroism of the trade unionist or the heroism of the political leader. These are battles which are fought and won on our behalf.
    “Lamming has as much of a claim to being a national hero of Barbados as anyone now alive,” the professor argued.
    In her opening remarks, retiring principal of the Cave Hill campus, Professor The Most Honourable Eudine Barriteau, described Lamming, 94, as a pre-eminent philosopher of the 20th century.
    She said he treated the Caribbean working class with the utmost respect and philosophical reverence.
    “Professor Lamming forces all those who seek to speak with or on behalf of the so-called ordinary women and men, to confront who we are and what we claim we want to achieve in the Caribbean. One cannot read Lamming and come away feeling smug and self-satisfied.
    “Lamming’s work makes it clear that unravelling what the Caribbean portend is an unfinished, yet emancipatory project. Unfinished because so much of it has been left undone; there is so much more to do,” said Barriteau. (HH)

    Source: Nation News

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  • We must do more than just articulate about the needs of the Ordinary man and woman, we must actively work to make sure that he or she transformed from being the Ordinary man and woman to the extraordinary man and woman. Bertrand Russell, philosophized about the Practical man and woman or the man and woman who has little or no regarded, for the development of the intellect because he or she is simply concerned with the basic necessities of life and as leaders we must discourage this kind of thinking because it works against the advancement of our human civilization.

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  • Note: though we have a tendency to admire those whom have made important contributions in the various areas of life, I often encourage the young people that I’ve met to be the very best of themselves. You want to be the best version of you!

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  • Bertram Russell was also an unrepentant anarchist.

    Maybe these two should be synthesized.

    Cherrypicking one saying from here and there, from anybody, will never be representative of an entire life’s work.

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  • William Skinner

    @ all:

    “Lamming’s work makes it clear that unravelling what the Caribbean portend is an unfinished, yet emancipatory project. Unfinished because so much of it has been left undone; there is so much more to do,” said Barriteau. (HH)

    At least Lamming gets it!

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  • Today the west indies were bowled out for 96 on the first day of the initial test in Saint Lucia.

    More troubling is the immaturity ot the line up forced into battle.

    The arc of cricket underdevelopment as metaphor for the opposite of emancipation contradicts implied meanings.

    At the centre of this backwardness are Black lackeys in Cricket West Indies who are committed to being led by Whiteness.

    Our cricket has been purposefully laid low by an elitist mindset which could never escape a predilection that displays of power by Blacks over Whites, and other, on the international stage are inconsistent with their world views of subservience.

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  • Many years ago I had the honor of meeting and sharing a meal with Mr. Lamming. I was awed. A scholar and a gentleman. A supremely confident man. Not one to want or need a British knighthood. I wash him many more years of good health.

    I’ve read some of his works, but shamefully not all. I must do better.

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  • Cuhdear Bajan,

    I am ashamed also. Read some but not all. Strange how I have not seen them at my branch library.

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  • Cuhdear Bajan

    Mr. Lamming, taught in England and I would assume at a time when your academic pedigree made little difference, if the Castle of your skin were Black, so I am quite sure the distinguished gentleman harbour some resentment from those experiences in England.

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  • Cuhdear Bajan

    Sir. Arthur Lewis, had a similar experienced when he taught at Stanford University in the 1960s! He related the experienced in one of his books, in which he stated that his academic pedigree, did not save him from the awful experienced of geographical racism.

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  • Lamming deserves Nobel Prize in literature

    June 8 marked the birthday of our celebrated novelist George Lamming. Happy 94th birthday to the patriarch of Barbadian creative writers, George William Lamming.
    I will not follow the usual pattern of rehearsing for readers the facts of Lamming’s epic journey since leaving Combermere School at age 18, his long sojourn in Britain, his triumphant breakthrough as a writer with the publication of In The Castle Of My Skin in 1953, his writing of four other novels since then or his myriad other literary triumphs.
    Rather, we are using this space in your newspaper to alert Barbadians to the fact that although Lamming has put Barbados firmly on the map in the world of literature, he has not been accorded the “gold medal” of imaginative writing – namely the Nobel Prize for literature.
    Lamming is the last remaining member of that famous coterie of brilliant Caribbean writers which includes Nicholas Guillen, Kamau Brathwaite, Alejandro Carpentier, Derek Walcott and Vidia S. Naipaul.
    He has produced more material than all of them except Naipaul but he has never been as honoured as they. Yet he has been poet, novelist, essayist, orator, editor and educator.
    His has been one of the most important Caribbean voices of the 20th century and his 75-year career has been spent exploring – both in personal experience and in fiction – the tensions between the idealistic colonised individual and the harsh world of the imperialist “Mother Country”.
    Eloquent voice
    He has also used his eloquent and persistent voice to defend this region’s political
    and cultural sovereignty against the forces of recolonisation.
    All this is known and acknowledged by those of us who have followed his career, but we need to do something about his status.
    We hereby urge the Minister of State in the Ministry of Culture John King to agitate in the correct circles for Lamming to be accorded his due accolade. Perhaps we the ordinary citizens should sign a petition and let Minister King send it off to the Nobel Committee in Sweden.
    Some people might argue that Lamming’s output in terms of novels is “limited” since he has published only four such works, but a perusal of the list of Nobel Prize winners for literature will reveal that at least ten other writers have written as many books as he has done. They include Albert Camus (two), Wole Soyinka (two), Aleksander Solzhenitsyn (three), Toni Morrison (four), Heinrich Boll (six), Selma Lagerlof (six) and Pablo Neruda, three books of poetry.
    Let us start the movement to bring to George Lamming the supreme honour he deserves before he loses either his brilliant intellect or, indeed, his life.
    – Trevor G. Marshall

    SOURCE: NATION NEWS

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  • This article by Trevor Marshall exposes the vicious respectability ethos so dominant in Barbados even amongst those on the socalled left.

    For example, Marshall obviously could not have considered that the man from whom these Nobel Prizes were named and funded made his money by selling dynamite to several sides during World War One, was a fervent European colonialist.

    More recently this prize has been most often awarded to people who support imperialism’s projects in our world. The Saint Lucian, Arthur Lewis, “earned” his by entraping African countries into economic policies which caused them to lose billions to European banks.

    And we could go on and on about every award to sellouts in the South, across the board!

    Even the casual observer could discern from the distribution patterns of these socalled prizes that political and other agendas are at play. In fact, the Nobel is not dissimilar to a knighthood or the award of the ownership of major league sports teams, which within the American context stand in for knighthoods.

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  • fortyacresandamule

    I am ashamed to say I thought Mr Lamming had joined the ancestors. Castle Of My Skin is the only work of his I have read to date, another embarrassment on my part. I have some catching up to do. Respect and happy birthday to you Mr Lamming .

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  • fortyacresandamule

    Black people are only nominated for the nobel peace award. Because we are the weakest people on this planet, naturally we are seen as the peacemaker.

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  • What IS it with people and these bogus awards?

    His works speaks for itself. Let his own people recognise him by embracing his work and learning from it!

    Liked by 1 person

  • Looks like the Walter Rodney narrative is finally being officially corrected in Guyana as per his family’s request!

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  • David

    There is a political project being planned in Guyana by the Hindu-fascist PPP .of Jagdeo, aimed at covering up its racist conduct.

    The PPP wants to dismiss 300 workers from the water authority,, the overwhelming majority of whom are Black.. They seek to replace them with Indians as they have a history of doing and have done since de rasssoul assholes in Caricom interfered in the elections to favour them.

    To cover their apartheid policies the PPP is raising the spectre of Rodney as a distraction as they seek to combat complains about their behaviours, as made to the United Nations.

    The argument to be made by the PPP is that the UN complaints are invalid because Walter Rodney, an Afro-Guyanese, is being lifted up. However, Black people in Guyana never had much love for Walter Rodney. They generally thought that he was an asshole, puffed up with a sense that he was the brightest man in the world.

    Wrong on both counts.

    As a youngster Walter Rodney was second to none in this writer”s estimation. However, his family is in no position to ask the PPP government of Guyana to rewrite the clear and true history of the circumstances surrounding his death.

    The truth is settled knowledge. Rodney was trying to overthrow the government of Forbes Burnham and was plotting with a military man who was making a bomb with shrapnel intended to wreak substantial collateral damage.

    Having arranged to test the bomb against the outer wall of the central prison complex it ended up in his, Rodney’s, lap and detonated, seemingly prematurely or at the betrayal of the military Confederates in this coup. Burnham had nothing to do with these events but currently this schema by the PPP could also cause a fissure within the opposition APNU coalition which comprises Burnham’s party and Rodney’s party.

    About this plot to overthrow Burnham, Dr. David Hinds, a WPA member of Rodney’s party, at the time, spent years in jail and has since confirmed these events. Another senior member, of the WPA, we seem to remember his name as Roopnarine, we think, wrote a book detailing events much as we’ve tried to broadly outline.

    This writer accepts the mantel of lacking hope in anything officialdom says to us. Doubled with experience of evaluating such plots, our central position is always to assume that everything is a fecking lie until proven otherwise.

    David, your Caricom leaders, and the Caribbean, have no ideas about the demons they have let loose in Guyana. We trust that should the worse happen those same interfering misleaders will be military targets.

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  • @Pacha

    A harsh commentary. Will highlight it separately. Did a google of this Roopnarine, he seems to be a significant gatekeeper of information in the matter raised by you.

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  • Thought there was a trick somewhere. Was not sure about the circumstances of Rodney’s death though.

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  • @fortyacresandamule June 11, 2021 5:01 PM “Black people are only nominated for the nobel peace award. Because we are the weakest people on this planet, naturally we are seen as the peacemaker.”

    This is not factual. Since professors of literature and of linguistics at universities and university colleges can nominate for the Nobel Prize in Literature it seems to me that one or more of the many universities at which Lamming has taught ought to nominate him. UWI I think as his home university should start the ball rolling by obtaining a nomination form this September from the Nobel Committee and submitting the nomination to reach the Nobel Committee no later than January 31, 2022. If UWI’s Literature Department has not before nominated Lamming then we should agitate for UWI to do so. The Nobel Prize does not come by magic, somebody has to do the boring administrative work, obtaining the nomination form, completing it, submitting it, I would bet anything that if he were nominated the nomination would be successful.

    https://www.nobelprize.org/nomination/literature/
    The right to submit proposals for the award of a Nobel Prize in Literature shall, by statute, be enjoyed by:
    1. Members of the Swedish Academy and of other academies, institutions and societies which are similar to it in construction and purpose;
    2. Professors of literature and of linguistics at universities and university colleges;
    3. Previous Nobel Laureates in Literature;
    4. Presidents of those societies of authors that are representative of the literary production in their respective countries.

    He entered academia in 1967 as a writer-in-residence and lecturer in the Creative Arts Centre and Department of Education at the University of the West Indies, Kingston (1967–68). Since then, he has been a visiting professor in the United States at the University of Texas at Austin, the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Connecticut, Brown University, Cornell University, and Duke University…Lamming also directed the University of Miami’s Summer Institute for Caribbean Creative Writing
    Source: Wikipedia

    Mr. Lamming was 1998-1999 Visiting Professor of Creative Writing in the City University of New York (CCNY) English Department and Fulbright Scholar in Residence at the Institute for Research on the African Diaspora in the Americas and the Caribbean (IRADAC)
    Source: Cohen Library. City University of New York

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  • @Donna June 11, 2021 7:07 PM “What IS it with people and these bogus awards? His works speaks for itself. Let his own people recognise him by embracing his work and learning from it!”

    Even while “yes” his work speaks for itself AND for us, I don’t consider the Nobel Literature prize bogus; besides Lamming deserves the prize, including the gold medal, the diploma, and US$1,145,000. The Nobel brings highly deserving international attention to the writer, it expands the reach of the writer’s voice to millions. Lamming’s voice deserves to be heard by these millions. The prize will boost sales of the writer’s work, and US$1,145,000 is nothing to sneeze at. Mr. Lamming may have children, grandchildren and great grandchildren who can to can continue to financially benefit from his lifetime of excellent work. Call it reparations if you wish.

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  • William Skinner

    @ all
    The greatest example of Lamming’s intellect is that according to @Pacha , he did not subject himself to even getting a first degree.
    It’s also interesting that Trevor Marshall, who for close to fifty or more years as a historian , has never gotten the respect he deserves because in some peoples eyes, he is no Sir. Hilary Beckles, who until quite recently has been the darling of the entire country.
    Indeed , I have no doubt that Lamming has been a victim of the same intellectual snobbery from which Marshall has suffered.
    And there are other reasons why Lamming would have told them to take the knighthood and stuff it where monkey stuff the nuts.
    Lamming knew what they thought of him outside of his literary genius.
    Interesting thing is that Beckles went after the mutual and ended up in the board room.
    Marshall has been exposing white Barbados long before anybody knew Beckles . The last time I saw Trevor, he was harvesting his own vegetables on open day at some plantation.
    In short this society has little time for the Marshalls and Lammings.
    Snobbery as an export product would easily solve all our Forex problems.
    Peace.

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  • William Skinner

    You have finally gotten to the point where is was no longer possible to not regurgitate these long-held and unsophisticated views about Trevor Marshall.

    This from a man who a few days ago had no list. But all you really wanted to do was to achieve your political objective of not accepting the bait this writer laid. Turns. out you did have a list. A list of one.. Marshall was to be celebrated on Lamming’s birthday but shame prevented that.

    Even after all these years you are yet not able to understanding the differences in standards between a professional social scientist and an amateur. And when you lack that understanding you lack everything.

    To make the man-in-the-street leap into ignorance and equalize a Trevor Marshall with George Lamming entirely based on the absence of an advanced academic accreditation by either is not dissimilar to comparing Gearbox with Einstein. Lamming being Einstein, of course.

    And yes. While this writer was never tethered to credentialism, when it comes to a body of work both Lamming and Beckles exist in an entirely difference space to Marshall the amateur. Even to consider all three as equals requires a leap of faith, is entirely based on your personal familial politics not science.

    Everybody here has ideas about the professional levels of both Beckles and Lamming. Maybe you will enlighten us about those of Marshall, at the same or higher level.

    You may have the final word.

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  • Cuhdear Bajan,

    I like my reparations with a tag marked reparations.

    One would hope that his descendants are well placed to take care of themselves.

    If George Lamming needs money, we in the Caribbean should not wait for the world to do what we should do ourselves.

    I doubt that the Nobel prize would make us in the Caribbean more aware of his work or make us read it.

    From what I understand of his work it is designed for us, the people of the Caribbean to read it with a view to reimagining and re-inventing ourselves and our relationships.

    We seem to have done a bad job of reading and therefore have no chance of digesting.

    I have retrieved from my bookshelf the only George Lamming book I ever saw in a bookstore or library in Barbados and have committed to reread it…slowly. I found it hard reading last time and I am certain I missed something of import.

    After I finish that I will seek out his other books and read or reread them.

    That is what we owe him. Then, after we have transformed our thinking, we would be qualified to take him out into the world again to show him off to those who need convincing.

    It appears that this was his reason for writing – for US, not for some reward or token of appreciation or recognition from others in the world but for US to put to good use in our navigation of the world.

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  • William Skinner

    @ Donna
    The world knows of George Lamming. It is we who don’t. Lamming has been a world literary figure ever since he wrote that classic novel: In the Castle of My Skin.
    We have no interest in educating Black children. I have made the point over and over that we spend so much time on the clowns dominating world politics that we forget Eric Williams and others of the region;we forget the work of CLR James. Look how we ignored Kamau Brathwaite and refused to bring home his library thirty years before he died.
    Caribbean Reasonings- The George Lamming Reader: The Aesthetics of Decolonisation. is worth obtaining.
    I think it came out about ten or more years ago.

    Like

  • William Skinnet

    @ Pacha
    You have to be on comedy pills. You can lay all the traps you like. I left high school at least fifty years or more ago.
    I merely said that Marshall in many ways suffers from the malaise of intellectual snobbery. I have no damn list.
    You are looking for an argument . Wrong tree this time. The same standards you get here and denounce you use when convenient. You don’t have the ability to determine who is an amateur or professional historian. What standards are you using? The frigging “ peers”
    You have written my final word. I don’t go around judging a body of work only on a piece of paper that says: doctorate.
    Imagine you calling a citizen who has taught thousands of children about their true history. A man who has dedicated his life to exposing myths and enlightening a society starved of true historians an “ amateur “
    Let me ask you something @ Pacha: Are you a professional professor on globalization? Did you write your doctoral thesis on Globalization? Did you sit before your “peers” ? But you come here pontificating on that subject every other day. Should we dismiss you as an amateur?
    Ease off the damn comedy polls , Comrade!
    Peace

    Like

  • William Skinner

    @ et al
    BTW : Lamming has received and accepted several awards from throughout the literary world.

    Liked by 1 person

  • William Skinner

    @ Pacha
    “Everybody here has ideas about the professional levels of both Beckles and Lamming. Maybe you will enlighten us about those of Marshall, at the same or higher level.”
    In my book Marshall’s contribution to this country is no lower or higher than yours, Lamming or Beckles.
    They are productive citizens in their chosen fields of endeavor. You are slowly but surely exposing how you think. You must write as you think. Not try to camouflage in order to prove some intellectual gotcha high school point.
    BTW it is absolutely amazing that you’re such a big Lamming fan when almost all your offerings are in direct opposition to what Lamming says and writes.
    Very interesting ………..,,,,

    Like

  • Icon Lamming ‘will be missed’

    George Lamming, one of the region’s most respected poets and authors, died yesterday just four days before his 95th birthday.
    In paying tribute, Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley said: “Sadly, it seems now that almost weekly we are forced to say goodbye to one of our national icons. Today, it is our internationally recognised and respected novelist, essayist and poet George Lamming, who without doubt stood for decades at the apex of our island’s pantheon of writers. Indeed, George Lamming must be considered one of the most famous writers this region has produced”.
    Noting that Lamming “has left us all too soon”, the Prime Minister added that only yesterday she had discussed with Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, Senator Dr Shantal Munro-Knight, her desire to have arrangements made to visit him on Wednesday to celebrate his birthday with him.
    “Unfortunately, we will now have to switch to a national celebration via an official funeral for a man who has given so much to his country, his people, his region and the world,” she said.
    Mottley said Lamming was the quintessential Bajan, born in as traditional a district as you can get – Carrington Village, on the outskirts of Bridgetown. She said his education was as authentically Bajan as one could possibly acquire – Roebuck Boys’ School and Combermere.
    World scholar
    “Perhaps even more critical to the literary giant he grew into was the fortune he had of being schooled at the feet of yet another Barbadian great, Frank Collymore. But as Bajan as he was, he still distinguished himself as a world scholar, teaching first at a boarding school in Trinidad, before emigrating to England, where he became a broadcaster with the BBC’s Colonial Service. This was followed by positions that included, writer-in-residence and lecturer in the creative arts at the Mona Campus of the University of the West Indies, Visiting Professor at the University of Texas, the University of Pennsylvania and Brown University, and a lecturer in Denmark, Tanzania and Australia.”
    She added that while he had written several novels and received many accolades, none of his works touched the Barbadian psyche like his first —
    In The Castle of My Skin,
    written back in 1953, but which today ought still to be required reading for every Caribbean boy and girl.
    ‘He will be missed’
    “Barbados will miss George Lamming – his voice, his pen and, of course, his signature hairstyle – but I pray that the consciousness of who we are that he preached in all that he wrote will never fade from our thoughts” she said.
    President of the Democratic Labour Party, Dr Ronnie Yearwood, also paid tribute, saying “Lamming’s words and work were to embody and define a nation, and to shape many of us in personal ways. Work and words like his helped many Barbadians to understand their identity, their strength, as a people, as part of a new Caribbean civilisation”.
    “He may no longer be with us but his work is, which means his message to his nation and the world and his reflections on self and country are still with us.”
    Lamming received the 1998 Langston Hughes Festival Award for his “distinguished contributions to arts and letters”. In September 2014 the Cleveland Foundation, the world’s first community philanthropic institution, presented the author with the Anisfield-Wolf Lifetime Achievement Award for literature at a function in Cleveland, Ohio.
    The George Lamming Primary School in Flint Hall, St Michael, and The George Lamming Pedagogical Centre at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill, are named after the distinguished scholar.
    (BA/PR)

    Source: Nation

    Liked by 1 person

  • Icon leaves ‘extraordinary’ contribution behind
    Tribute by CARICOM Secretary-General Dr Carla Barnett THE CARIBBEAN COMMUNITY (CARICOM) joins with the people of Barbados in mourning the passing of the Honourable George Lamming OCC.
    Poet, novelist, essay writer, orator, lecturer, teacher, editor and tireless activist, George Lamming was more than a literary icon. He was an authentic Caribbean voice. In conferring the Community’s highest award, Order of the Caribbean Community (OCC), on Lamming in 2008, his citation noted that CARICOM was honouring “55 years of extraordinary engagement with the responsibility of illuminating Caribbean identities, healing the wounds of erasure and fragmentation, envisioning possibilities, transcending inherited limitations”, and applauded his “intellectual energy, constancy of vision, and an unswerving dedication to the ideals of freedom and sovereignty.”
    Considerable skill
    Those words fully encapsulated his extraordinary contribution to the region he loved unreservedly and to which he dedicated his considerable skill. Our Community is richer for his interventions and poorer for his loss. George Lamming has left a treasure trove of works which remain relevant and reflect the Caribbean condition.
    I extend deepest condolences to the family of Lamming and the Government and people of Barbados on the death of this true Caribbean icon.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Farewell to a ‘brilliant scholar’
    Tribute to literary giant George Lamming by Caribbean journalist Rickey Singh
    IT IS WITH deep sadness that I learned of the passing of my dear friend and brother, the esteemed author and social commentator George Lamming. His extensive body of work reflects a deep and personal understanding of the complex historical, cultural and political landscape of the region.
    His was a powerful Caribbean voice – one that is urgently required even now, as CARICOM hovers over important decisions to be made on the 2022 Summit of the Americas. He was well known as an outstanding and a fearless voice against external pressures aimed at undermining national and regional unity and political sovereignty. There is no doubt that he would have advised Caribbean governments to absent themselves from this gathering.
    George was a man of tremendous courage, singular in his undaunted pursuit of truth and justice. My family must forever be grateful to him when in 1983, he assembled and led students on a peaceful march to protest the revocation of my work permit because of my criticism of the illfated Grenada invasion. He never shied away, nor was he ever ambivalent when it came to urging the CARICOM governments never to waver when the moment arose to be firm in their solidarity on commonly held values, or their right to regional unity and relationship.George’s influence on academia and political thought has been profound. It was my good fortune to listen to him deliver various public lectures across the campuses of the University of the West Indies. Particularly memorable, was an event at the Cave Hill campus in 2004, where in his unique baritone, for a
    breathtaking two hours, he masterfully weaved together a review of four decades of his literary work.
    George commanded respect for his unflinching forthrightness whenever the occasion arose, of speaking truth to power – especially when it came to the preservation and dignity of the call to leadership of the CARICOM member states.
    There was also a gentleness and humility to George that was rarely seen save for those intimate with him. On occasions, I witnessed his quiet and respectful acquiescence to his mother’s playful chiding. He loved her dearly. He was and will always be remembered by me as a journalist who had the privilege of having a close and special friendship with such a brilliant scholar, and a great man.
    May God grant you peace, dear George. Farewell from all the family.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Poet, ‘an outstanding son of the soil’
    Tribute by former Chief Information Officers of the Barbados Government Information Service, Peter Greene and Margaret Hope IT IS WITH MUCH sadness and a deep sense of grief that we learnt of the passing of an outstanding son of the soil, novelist, literary icon and personal friend, the Honourable George Lamming, OCC (Order of the Caribbean Community).
    He passed away quietly at the age of 94. He would have reached his 95th birthday this Wednesday.
    George has had a varied and distinguished career over many decades.
    Born in Carrington Village in 1927, he attended Combermere School on a scholarship. On leaving sixth form, he taught English Literature from 1946 to 1950 at a boarding school for boys in Port of Spain, Trinidad.
    Afterwards, he emigrated to Britain where he worked at the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) for many years. His writings were also published in the Barbadian magazine Bim, edited by his former school teacher and mentor, Frank Collymore.
    The BBC’s Caribbean Voices radio series broadcast his poems and short prose regularly. George himself read poems on Caribbean Voices. Some of his poems were also read by his young protégé, Derek Walcott.
    Deep thinker
    George Lamming was an erudite essayist and poet and an important figure in Caribbean literature and social commentary. He first won critical acclaim with his première novel, In The Castle Of My Skin.
    Later, he authored several other notable narratives, including The Pleasures Of Exile, The Emigrants, Of Age And Innocence, Natives Of My Person, Season Of Adventure, Coming, Coming Home, and his last one 12 years ago, Sovereignty Of The Imagination.
    The illustrious Caribbean writer and deep thinker was one of the region’s finest intellects and was sought after in academia.
    He held several tertiary teaching posts over the years, including that as a distinguished visiting professor at Duke University and a visiting professor in Africana Studies at Brown University, the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Texas, the UWI, and in Cuba.
    He also lectured extensively worldwide, particularly in the UK, the USA, Africa and the Caribbean.
    George will be missed. Rest in peace, brother, and rise in paradise.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Lamming’s words inspired us all
    Tribute by St Lucia Prime Minister Philip J. Pierre
    I WANT TO OFFER my sincere condolences to the family of the late George Lamming and our brothers and sisters in Barbados.
    George Lamming was a Caribbean literary giant and an internationally respected novelist. Lamming’s incisive writings, his poems, essays and 1953 novel,. . . In The Castle Of My Skin, resonate perpetually among Caribbean people, readers and authors alike.
    The pages of his novels reflect the unspoken realities and shared experiences that confronted Caribbean people in search of identity and progress.
    I’ve always admired George Lamming’s unbending love for and belief in our people. He challenged us to take control of our own destiny and reminded us that we are the authors of our own stories.
    “The architecture of our future is not only unfinished; the scaffolding has hardly gone up.”
    I trust these words will also inspire you to believe in yourselves.

    Liked by 1 person

  • RIP to a true Bajan and Caribbean giant.

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  • de pedantic Dribbler

    Amen. He will rise continually in the glory of his achievements!

    An interesting tidbit is Lamming’s secondary school sojourn to 6th form as noted above. It would be interesting to review the achievements of his contemporaries of the day. Several made Barbados proud in academia and beyond – it seems from various news items seen over the years – but undoubtedly George Lamming was the primus among them all!

    RIP!

    Liked by 1 person

  • @Dee Word

    Do we have authors of recent vintage who in your opinion has the potential to rival Lamming?

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  • de pedantic Dribbler

    That’s almost a trick question @David … George Lamming has such a tremendous, extensive body of work (published and otherwise) that it’s quite difficult to identify any one Bajan to rival his stature… almost like saying are there any Bajans to rival Sir Garry’s prowess!

    In short, yes there are some very talented Bajan writers (as they are cricketers of high repute) but to name one who can RIVAL (comparatively so at Lamming’s early stage career , of course) I am unable to answer that! …. As none have come close to matching our cricketing national hero.

    Some people are cross generational, exceptionally talented of a genius often unmatched to others … in a small nation such as ours can such genius replicate twice or thrice in 100 years, I would wonder!

    Lata.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Lamming a ‘phenomenal philosopher’

    Tribute to literary giant George Lamming by Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, Vice-Chancellor of The University of the West Indies.
    PROFESSOR GEORGE LAMMING, Caribbean and global literary luminary, philosopher king of postcolonialism, and social justice activist, transitioned in his native Barbados – the castle of his skin – on Saturday, June 4, 2022, at age 94.
    The news punctured the peace of mind of the academic community at The UWI, where he was professor in residence at the Cave Hill Campus.
    It was there in his office at the George Lamming Pedagogical Centre, that we last met and occupied ourselves for a few hours with one of Miles Davis’ last statements: that time is never enough to exhaust the ever giving, producing, creative imagination of the dedicated intellect.
    George was a phenomenal philosopher who erupted in the literary world early in life with the publication in 1953 of a classic novel of anti-colonial consciousness – In The Castle Of My Skin – written during his 23rd year of life. From his Bridgetown village, he traversed the intellectual universe and provided it with a pedagogy of liberation that underpinned Pan-Africanism, socialism, and a 20th century humanism that included feminism, dialectical materialism, and the Caribbean cultural revolution.
    His embrace of Cuban socialism became a template for his support of Maurice Bishop and Walter Rodney in their quests to detach the neocolonial region from the scaffold of rejected imperialism.
    As a craftsman of literary forms, his citizenship within The UWI community was celebrated as an expression of Caribbean civilisation at its finest.
    He was a brother within the hood, and a comrade in the intellectual struggle to win our freedom with dignity and self-determination. A fierce but gentle and subtle debater and conversationalist, our hero was all too human in his love of humour and the culture of laughter.
    Always with a twinkle in his eyes, he communicated a deep compassion for sincere friendship and solidarity with those in the struggle.
    His special love of The UWI for its mandate and role as a regional freedom vehicle drove him to offer constant critical insights into its contradictory omens and at times its torn and tortured realities and identities.
    He was in this sense the quintessential Caribbean progressive intellectual who transcended theory and grounded his existential engagements within the masses at the grass roots. He was a soldier of the Caribbean soul, forever building solidarities wherever liberation circumstances were erupting.
    Within this context, our crusading citizen would expect us to soldier on in his physical absence without fear or doubt about the future. For decades he illuminated the progressive paths with his papers and speeches.
    We know he will be there at the rendezvous of the Caribbean victory. His life was dedicated to no other cause. He knew no other world. Until then, I simply say, “Bye George”, from all of us at your University of the West Indies.

    Source: Nation

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  • ‘Tireless champion’ of the people
    Tribute by the family of Walter Rodney, the late Guyanese historian, political activist and academic. BARBADIAN LITERARY GIANT par excellence, Professor George Lamming, has transitioned. If you have not read his works, take the time to do so – you will be better for it.
    His acclaimed works include In the Castle of My Skin, The Emigrants, Of Age And Innocence, Season Of Adventure, Water With Berries, Natives Of My Person, and The Pleasures Of Exile.
    George Lamming was a poet, novelist, essayist, orator, lecturer, teacher, editor, social commentator and tireless activist, for which he received numerous awards, accolades, and distinctions.
    He received a citation for the Order of the Caribbean Community in 2008. The George Lamming Primary School, located at Flint Hall, St Michael, named in his honour, opened on September 2, 2008.
    The George Lamming Pedagogical Centre at the University of the West Indies Cave Hill Campus Department of Creative and Performing Arts, was named in his honour in 2009.
    Lamming was a close friend of Walter Rodney and remained a dear friend of the Rodney family. He delivered Walter Rodney’s eulogy. He wrote the foreword to A History Of The Guyanese Working People, 1881-1905. More recently, in 2014, Lamming was chief judge of the inaugural Walter Rodney Creative Writing Awards.
    During one trip to Barbados, we all met at a hotel and, in addition to Rodney’s grandkids, we had a friend with us. The Rodney grandkids were all about Uncle George, not truly recognising his magnitude. It was not lost on their nine-yearold friend, who attended the St George Primary School in Barbados.
    She was overwhelmed. She said she could not believe she was sitting in the same room and on the same couch and talking to George Lamming, the “great George Lamming”.
    Her voice was quintessentially Bajan, and the expression on her face. That moment has always remained imprinted on our minds.
    So, yes, a state funeral is apropos for this national hero. More so, his voice, his name, and his words should always leave us awestruck.


    Source: Nation

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  • Legacy of powerful messages
    Tribute by St Michael South Central MP Marsha Caddle.
    CARRINGTON VILLAGE has always been immensely proud that George Lamming was a son of this community, and those who now attend the primary school named for him are reminded, and I believe understand, the legacy of the man, his work, and his contribution to helping generations of young people in Barbados and across the world understand their history and their power.
    The village in In The Castle Of My Skin is Carrington Village, is every Barbadian village in which young people must every day come to know their worth, develop their consciousness and learn an independence that would not just serve them, but would help them to serve their communities.
    This work, and several others of George Lamming’s, helped raise many generations. And it was in The West Indian People Of 1966 that we find one of his most inspiring challenges and calls to action to us as Caribbean people:
    “The architecture of our future is not only unfinished; the scaffolding has hardly gone up.”
    As a teacher, broadcaster, and internationally acclaimed writer, he represented not only the voice of our consciousness and ongoing fight for justice but the very best our region could grow and gift to the world.
    On behalf of Carrington Village and the wider community of his birth, I send my deepest sympathy to the Lamming family, and wish our brother a safe journey to the ancestors.


    Source: Nation

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  • Wow. Apart from Dribbler, Pacha and the Blogmaster hardly a mention on BU of the great man’s passing. Quite a surprise to me.

    Not many have excelled at their craft as he has, far less one coming from Bim.

    Why do you think that is David? An inability to salute greatness? Or genuine lack of interest?

    Or are they waiting for you to post a tribute blog?

    Like

  • @Dullard

    Probably a bit of all that you mentioned. The majority of commenters on BU prefer to be uni focused.

    Like

  • Sad.
    But salute to you giving it some attention.

    Like

  • To be fair the traditional media has been ‘bigging’ up.

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  • May Lamming’s legacy live on
    “There is something fundamentally wrong with a society that is not aware of, and I’m thinking particularly of Barbados, the central importance of art in the shaping of human lives.
    Any society that is not aware of that is a barbarous society. And we have a society that is not aware of that at all.”
    – George Lamming
    George Lamming, one of the most insightful thinkers that Barbados, the Caribbean, and possibly the world has ever produced, has passed on. A state funeral for George Lamming is appropriate and well deserved.
    However, as was the case for the late Kamau Brathwaite, symbolic honouring is good, but, it is not enough. True national honour for giants like them comes when the nation, the policy makers, the academics, the media and the people on the street, are familiar with their ideas and take their insights seriously.
    As the Government prepares to give Lamming a hero’s send-off, a question from Bob Marley comes to mind. “How long will they kill our prophets while we stand aside and look?” The sobering answer is that, “They don’t have to kill our prophets anymore, Bob. We ignore them and what they have to say while they are alive, and celebrate them once they die.”
    How is it that you can go through 12 years of public school in Barbados, without being introduced to or schooled in the philosophy of Lamming? It may be because Lamming was an independent, original and, in many ways, radical thinker. This kind of thinker is a threat to those whose goal is to preserve the status-quo. This kind of thinker is a problem for an educational system and society that promotes derivative, conservative and conformist ways of thinking and being. In an old interview with a British reporter, a young Lamming expressed a concern which he said haunted Caribbean writers like him who migrated to Britain. On the question of his generation of self-exiled writers returning to the region, Lamming said, “The question that haunts the West Indian writer is, what exactly is he going back to? He has left a place which he considers a spiritual desert.
    And he is not at all sure, he has no evidence, that it has changed very much.” This is Lamming speaking as a young man. He looked to be in his thirties in the video clip.
    Years later, a much older Lamming, well into his senior years, expressed the similar view that, “There is something fundamentally wrong with a society that is not aware of, and I’m thinking particularly of Barbados, the central importance of art in the shaping of human lives.
    It appears Lamming still hadn’t found evidence of change. Barbados has yet to appreciate the true importance of the arts, and also culture.
    Lamming’s lament above points to the fact that we have so far failed to harness the power of the arts and culture as shapers of human life. We mostly show interest in the arts and culture to the extent that they can be exploited for commercial and economic benefits. We abandon citizens, to be shaped by imported arts and cultures which are designed to stimulate the lowest common denominators of human nature. We neglect our own artists who are left to hustle to make a way for themselves. Then we act surprised at a seemingly rising tide of barbarism in society.
    Noted Caribbean scholar, Dr Keith Nurse, argues that culture is the fourth pillar of a country’s sustainable development, alongside the social, economic and environmental pillars. With national discourse on development almost always focused on the economic pillar, is it any wonder that the country seems to be on shaky legs? Too many still do not understand that culture underpins and sets a foundation for any development. This lack of understanding is a long-standing problem, one which Lamming spoke of decades ago.
    It is my hope that beyond paying lip service to persons like Lamming, that we also engage seriously with their thoughts, even and especially when they hold an honest but unflattering mirror up to our society, as Lamming so often did. By being honest about who we are, we increase our chances of transforming and becoming who we want to be. May the legacy of Lamming live on in our willingness to read, understand, appreciate and operationalise his insights. Let’s start by proactively using the arts to shape human life for the better.

    Adrian Green is a communications specialist. Email: Adriangreen14 @gmail.com

    Source: Nation

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  • A suitable memorial for George Lamming

    FIFTEEN YEARS AGO – May 2007 – when George William Lamming was approaching 80 years old, a small group of cultural nationalists, namely Margaret Williams, her husband Theo, Angela Sealy, Morris Greenidge and this writer submitted to the Ministry of Culture a suggested list of ten tangible tributes to the man whose towering intellect had put Barbados on the world’s literary map ever since the publication of his first novel In The Castle Of My Skin (1953).
    We recommended, inter alia, that George be offered a knighthood (Margaret Williams stated matter-of-factly “he will not accept one”) and that the new school which was being built to combine Carrington’s Primary and Erdiston Primary be named “The George Lamming Primary”.
    We are pleased and proud to remind Bajans that he has been immortalised in the school at the top of Bridge Road.
    This writer hereby submits to the Government of Barbados the recommendation that a permanent and highly visible memorial be established as a fitting tribute to our foremost poet and novelist.
    Our suggestion is that the house-spot in Alkins Road, Carrington Village, be purchased by Government and that the white-painted “flat-top” chattel house with black trimmings which now rests on it be taken over and turned into a literary museum, complete with a bust of the late Lamming inside and with his library, a diorama of his life and his voice captured reading his poetry and explaining his novels. Also, photos of his mother, Loretta Lamming, and George through the years, especially in the chattel house in which he was born, can be highlighted.
    It must be noted that Shakespeare’s house at Stratford-on-Avon; Derek Walcott’s house in Castries, St Lucia; the homes of Mark Twain, Walt Whitman and most of the Nobel
    Literary Laureates in the world have been preserved as heritage museums and shrines.
    This writer has had the distinct honour and pleasure of conducting tours of the Alkins Road, Carrington Village site for students of English literature of the Barbados Community College and would be only too willing to continue in such capacity.
    With respect, this writer also suggests to Government that Alkins Road could be renamed “George Lamming Drive” in the same way that Westbury New Road has been renamed “Rihanna Drive”, unless there is some overriding reason to retain the name “Alkins”.

    – TREVOR G. MARSHALL

    Source: Nation

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  • ‘Lamming’s Caribbean voice, vision must live on’
    The following article was written by P. J. Patterson, former Prime Minister of Jamaica Statesman in Residence, The P. J. Patterson Centre for Africa-Caribbean Advocacy.
    The entire Caribbean has been jolted by a loss of volcanic enormitude with the muting of one of its most powerful voices: the death of novelist, poet, storyteller and political advocate George Lamming.
    True to form, George seemed to have written his final earthly statement by quietly passing from this world and missing the national, regional and international celebration of his life, by timing his death for three days before he reached his 95th year, as if that would have been too much for him.
    It is difficult to explain and perhaps impossible for the generation of today to understand why for those of us who were students in the decades of the 50s George Lamming is such an epic and venerable figure. For us. the publication of In The Castle Of My Skin is indelibly etched alongside Roger Bannister’s running of the first sub fouminute mile and Yuri Gagarin’s first Sputnik voyage. These were life-changing experiences, we will never forget.
    As pupils in the most outstanding grammar schools throughout the region, we had mastered the literature of England – its prose, poetry, drama and novels. So, too, for the language specialists of Spanish and French, who were well read in the masterpieces of France and Spain. Those who pursued the honours degree in literature were taught Anglo-Saxon at UCWI, and Medieval English.
    Creative output
    But there was no space for the creative output of our Caribbean writers. Dialect and creole were completely out of the question.
    In the quest for self discovery those scholars gifted with an inquisitive mind yearned for the indigenous writings about our African ancestry and Caribbean heritage. In The Castle Of My Skin was the welcome fountain for which we yearned. We devoured the enticing feast – from cover to cover – and delved deeply into the legacy and atrocities of racism and oppression it exposed.
    There soon followed a steady flow by other distinguished West Indian authors – but it was George Lamming who opened the tap. He is the dominant a pioneer who, in a wide range of literary gems thereafter, has emerged as an indomitable revolutionary legend.
    George was a Caribbean man to the core. His mentor and friend Frank Collymore had lit a Caribbean fire in him that drove him to reach out to artistes across the Caribbean. He revealed in his transcendental writings, in his powerful readings on the BBC, as a teacher in the West Indies and later in the United States, Europe, Australia and Africa, the essence of the Caribbean and the similarities he found with the continent of Africa.
    Few writers and intellectuals have been as preoccupied or as successful as Lamming was, with exploring and interrogating the survival of Africa and the indomitable African spirit within the diaspora, despite many centuries of attempted deculturation and indoctrination.
    While he made a name with his first novel, his most outstanding philosophical contributions were comparable with those of the giants of his time like Leopold Senghor, Aimé Césaire, CLR James and Frantz Fanon.
    His thundering voice, whenever he spoke to audiences of learning, touched the hearts of the African and Caribbean diaspora in our struggle for freedom, equity and justice.
    His many books are all superb chroniclings of Caribbean-ness, the journey of exile, the search for Caribbean identity and the building of a Caribbean civilisation. The Guyana and Bajan issues of
    New World Quarterly which he selected and edited, are masterpieces in their own right.
    Lamming had a visceral connection to the working class of the Caribbean and passionately supported trade union activism. Their struggles and triumphs were not simply material for theoretical philosophising, but the subject of realistic grounding and daily experiences which centred his ideology and world outlook.
    I, too, was privileged in his later years to benefit from the quiet tête-á- tête in which he shared his vision for the Caribbean civilisation: the concept of the archipelago and the surrounding mainland nations of Belize, Guyana and Suriname being one people. The Master called him home when he could no longer speak with clarity and authority.
    Conceptual framework
    Lamming helped to lay the conceptual framework for Caribbean and African decolonisation and independence. He was a colossus of his time, whose work and work will last well beyond the years he shared with us.
    The P. J. Patterson Centre for Africa-Caribbean Advocacy wishes to extend sincere condolences to his family and to his wide circle of friends and colleagues in the literary world, academia, politics and the trade union movement.
    The words of his friend and colleague Martin Carter are most apt for the occasion: “Now, from the mourning vanguard moving on, dear comrade, I salute you and I say death will not find us thinking that we die.” George Lamming’s pen is now at rest, but his writings and constant message of confidence in our own strengths and capacity to realise our own destiny will remain immortal. He was a trailblazer who has charted the path for this generation and others yet unborn. We must not let his legacy die. His voice and vision must live on during the ages ahead.

    Source: Nation

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