The Majority Rule Heritage Trail

Ramble curated by: Jessica Dawson & Tracey Thompson

The year 1967 strikes a high note in the life of the Bahamian people. Fairer franchise and electoral arrangements gave ordinary citizens new room for political expression. A sidelined racial majority, helped by that fresh dispensation, came to political power. Observers who respect the struggle that was entailed and the sacrifices that were made in order to bring about change have called for the story of this popular mobilization to be shared more fully. At the University of The Bahamas this virtual Majority Rule Heritage Trail takes a first step towards answering that call for information and education. The trail points to some of the places and objects that mattered in the fight to broaden avenues of opportunity and brings forward voices that help us to grasp the roles played by spaces and things. The numbers that accompany each place or object suggest a recommended walking trail which would take participants from Parliament Square and conclude at the Reinhard Hotel on Baillou Hill Road, just over a one-mile walk. Clicking on the marker icons that are present within the map reveals the correlated number along the trail. Students who follow the trail will find narrative that helps them with research projects and examination preparation. For Bahamians of all ages, audio recordings allow places thought to be dreary or familiar to exhibit themselves in a fresh or richer light. Image and story and voice all enable tourists, whether actual or digital, to start to experience local history. In time the trail will feature many more sites and lend access to many more voices. For now, in this fiftieth anniversary year of Majority Rule, welcome to the House of Assembly and to its Speaker’s Mace, to Bethel Baptist Church, to the Southern Recreation Grounds, to the Carlton House, to the Reinhard Hotel, and to their array of accompanying voices!

Locations for Ramble

April 27, 1965 sealed a place in history for the Mace of the Bahamas’s House of Assembly. On that day Lynden Pindling, Leader of the Opposition in that parliamentary chamber, tossed the object from an upper window into the street below in a bid to…

During the Middle Ages, clergy wielded the mace offensively to conquer their enemies without shedding blood. In what would become a memorable year in the evolution of the Bahamas’s House of Assembly, Lynden Pindling would untether the institution’s…

Today a barren parking lot rests on East Street in downtown Nassau, across from an historic police station and a short walk from the parliament building.  In that parking lot once stood, half a century ago, a vibrant hotel: the Carlton House. At the…

On Meeting Street in an area of New Providence known as Delancy Town sits a striking white edifice, its façade complete with stained glass imagery depicting the ascension of Christ and a steeple pointing towards the heavens. Arcades span the…

No social movement or set of political ideas could lay sole claim to the grassy expanse of the Southern Recreation Grounds. At mid-century, community leaders and politicians filled that open canvas – commonly called “Gov’ment Ground” – with calls for…

Bahamian history seeps from every inch of the four-storey Reinhard Hotel that occupies the corner of Baillou Hill Road and Tin Shop Corner. Initially designed and constructed by Dr. Claudius Roland Walker and Mrs. Mabel Walker in the 1930s, the hotel…