Monthly Archives: May 2015

Cricket: a colour commentary

A “West Indian Apartheid” lingered in West Indian cricket until the latter years of the nineteen-fifties: of course the game was merely reflecting the state of play in colour-coded societies that stood blackness in the basement. This writer allows that the “gentleman’s game” was not alone in race/colour prejudices.

T20 World Cup Winner (2012)

T20 World Cup Winner (2012)

Young Derek Walcott (Nobel Prize winner in Literature 1992) saw the racism/colorism in Grenada during the three months he spend on the island, teaching Latin and English at the Grenada Boys’ Secondary School (GBSS).
Professor Simon Rotenberg [University of Chicago] saw it in the course of a 1952 visit to Grenada.
Enough. Back to the Oval
 A campaign to bring “democracy” to the game , and by extension the society,was led by CLR James (1901-1989), writing in the pages of the Nation, theoretical organ of the People’s National Movement (PNM) of Trinidad and Tobago.
The James-led  campaign was stoutly supported by Dr. Eric E.Williams (1911-1981), leader of the PNM; support came also from cricket great Learie Constantine (1901-1971), then  Chairman of the PNM.LiberationCricket
The campaign hit hard and the Cricket Board was forced to change its mind.
Change saw its first fruit in March 1960 in the appointment of Frank M.M. Worrell (1924-1967), captain of the team.
Worrell, later Sir Frank, became the first black to skipper the side for an entire Test series.
It should be noted that the Worrell campaign was hugely indebted to the work of N. N. “CrabNethersole (1903-1959), Rhodes Scholar, lawyer, economist and  Jamaica’s Minister of Finance from 1955 until his untimely death.
-Caldwell Taylor
Caldwell Taylor is  writer and cultural commentator . The former teacher and diplomat is a graduate of Windsor Law School .
1906 West Indies Team

1906 West Indies Team



I Come From The Nigger Yard – Poem by Martin Carter

I come from the nigger yard of yesterday
leaping from the oppressors’ hate
and the scorn of myself;
from the agony of the dark hut in the shadow
and the hurt of things;
from the long days of cruelty and the long nights of pain
down to the wide streets of to-morrow, of the next day
leaping I come, who cannot see will hear.

In the nigger yard I was naked like the new born
naked like a stone or a star.
It was a cradle of blind days rocking in time
torn like the skin from the back of a slave.
It was an aching floor on which I crept
on my hands and my knees
searching the dust for the trace of a root
or the mark of a leaf or the shape of a flower.

It was me always walking with bare feet
meeting strange faces like those in dreams or fever
when the whole world turns upside down
and no one knows which is the sky or the land
which heart is among the torn or the wounded
which face is his among the strange and the terrible
walking about, groaning between the wind.

And there was always sad music somewhere in the land
like a bugle and a drum between the houses
voices of women singing far away
pauses of silence, then a flood fo sound.
But these were things like ghosts or spirits of wind.
It was only a big world spinning outside
and men, born in agony, torn in torture, twisted and broken like a leaf,
and the uncomfortable morning, the beds of hunger stained and sordid
like the world, big and cruel, spinning outside.

Sitting sometimes in the twillight near the forest
where all the light is gone and every bird
I notice a tiny star neighbouring a leaf
a little dropp of light a piece of glass
straining over heaven tiny bright
like a spark seed in the destiny of gloom.
O it was the heart like this tiny star near to the sorrows
straining against the whole world and the long twilight
spark of man’s dream conquering the night
moving in darkness and fierce
till leaves of sunset change from green to blue
and shadows grow like giants everywhere.

So I was born again stubborn and fierce
screaming in a slum.
It was a city and a coffin space for home
a river running, prisons and hospitals
men drunk and dying, judges full of scorn
priets and parsons fooling gods with words
and me, like dog tangled in rags
spotted with sores powdered with dust
screaming with hunger, angry with life and men.

It was a child born from a mother full of her blood
weaving her features bleeding her life in clots.
It was pain lasting from hours to months and to years
weaving a pattern telling a tale leaving a mark
on the face and the brow
Until there came the iron days cast in a foundry
Where men make hammers things that cannot break
and anvils heavy hard and cold like ice.

And so again I become one of the ten thousands
one of the uncountable miseries owning the land.
When the moon rose up only the whores could dance
the brazen jazz of music throbbed and groaned
filling the night air full of rhythmic questions.
It was the husk and the seed challenging fire
birth and the grave challenging life.

Until to-day in the middle of the tumult
when the land changes and the world’s all convulsed
when different voices join to say the same
and different hearts beat out in unison
where the aching floor of where I live
the shifting earth is twisting into shape
I take again my nigger life, my scorn
and fling it in the face of those who hate me.
It is me the nigger boy turning to manhood
linking my fingers, welding my flesh to freedom.

I come from the nigger yard of yesterday
leaping from the oppessors’ hate
and the scorn of myself
I come to the world with scars upon my soul
wounds on my body, fury in my hands
I turn to the histories of men and the lives of peoples.
I examine the shower of sparks the wealth of the dreams.
I am pleased with the glories and sad with the sorrows
rich with the riches, poor with the loss.
From the nigger yard of yesterday I come with my burden.
To the world of to-morrow I turn with my strength.


Widely considered the greatest Guyanese poet, Martin Wylde Carter was born in Georgetown, Guyana on June 7, 1927 and died on December 13, 1997. Mr. Carter was also a political activist and is one of the most important poets to have emerged from the Caribbean region.


Workers’ Lament – Mighty Composer

Workers’ Lament Mighty Composer [Fred Mitchell], (circa 1970)

Mighty Composer

Mighty Composer

 [See Video below] 

Oh how my heart goes out to my people
Ah mean the poor and the working class
Who got to work everyday for little or no pay
Until judgment come to pass
They got to make up their minds for pressure
Till the day they going to their graves
Because the rich and powerful master
Keeping them hand to mouth like slaves
So they got to keep on working hard
And sweating till they smelling bad
While they praying for the day to done
Ah fuss they tired, oh meh lard
For they got to make enough money
To feed they-self and they family
So can they eat food to be strong enough
To come and work hard, hard, hard.
Life is pleasant for who got money
And enjoying all luxuries
But if you poor and got to work daily
Well, every day life is misery
Whether you sick, you tired, or hungry
Day after day you must make believe
In the hardship and pain and sweat in the heat
As you fighting to make ends meet
You got to keep on working hard
Sweating till you smelling bad
And in the evening when the sun goes down
Ah fuss you tired, oh meh lad
But you got to make some overtime
Because you really need the extra dime
So you could buy food to be strong enough
To come and work hard, hard, hard
Why should my people reach old age?
Ah say why should they reach that stage?
They body break up, they back get bosey
But they still trying to earn a wage
All they years and youth gone in labor
And what they own they could hardly see
But they got the skill and experience of work
While the big boys got the money 
They got to keep on working hard
And sweating till they smelling bad
And when the sun is sinking in the west
They going home to rest, oh yes
But they coming back the following day
Because they really, really need the pay
So they could buy food to be strong enough
To come and work hard, hard, hard.
No happy life for my people
No big yacht to tour the world
Is only tools and the call of the whistle
From the time they young till they old
And the big boss giving the orders
With no love nor sympathy
Saying that is all you must expect in life from now till eternity
You got to keep, on working hard
And sweating till you smelling bad
No rest until the day you die
Don’t bother to cry
Ah tell you why
You got make enough money
To feed yourself and your family
So they could eat  food so they could be strong enough
To come and work hard, hard, hard.

On the 132nd Anniversary of Pioneering Black Radical Hubert Henry Harrison’s Birth

As we continue in the spirit of International Workers Day, Big Drum Nation highlights Caribbean and Latin American labor heroes and heroines. 

Hubert Henry Harrison (April 27, 1883 – December 17, 1927)

An immigrant from St. Croix, Danish West Indies at the age of 17, Hubert Henry Harrison (April 27, 1883 – December 17, 1927) was regarded by the famous historian J.A. Rogers as “the foremost Afro-American intellect of his time” and by John G. Jackson of American Atheists  as “The Black Socrates.  This great labor giant, although unheard of in American history books, was also a member of Marcus Garvey’s inner circle and close adviser.

On the 132nd Anniversary of Pioneering Black Radical Hubert Henry Harrison’s Birth

by Jeffrey B. Perry


Hubert H. Harrison (1883-1927) is a true giant of Black, Caribbean, Diasporic African, and U.S. radical history. He was a brilliant writer, orator, educator, critic, and political activist who was described by the historian Joel A. Rogers, in World’s Great Men of Color, as “the foremost Afro-American intellect of his time” and by A. Philip Randolph as “the father of Harlem Radicalism.”

Harrison was born to an immigrant mother from Barbados and a formerly enslaved Crucian father on Estate Concordia in St. Croix, Danish West Indies (now U.S. Virgin Islands), on April 27, 1883. On St. Croix he lived amongst immigrant and native-born working people, learned customs rooted in African communal systems, and grew with an affinity for the poor and with the belief that he was equal to any other. He also learned of the Crucian people’s rich history of direct-action mass struggle including the 1848 enslaved-led emancipation victory; the 1878 island-wide “Great Fireburn” rebellion in which women played prominent roles; and the October 1879 general strike.

After arriving in New York as a seventeen-year-old orphan in 1900 Harrison made his mark over the next twenty-seven years by struggling against class and racial oppression and by helping to create a remarkably rich and vibrant intellectual life among those he affectionately referred to as “the common people.” He played unique, signal roles in the development of what were, up to that time, the largest class radical movement (socialism) and the largest race radical movement (the “New Negro Movement”/Garvey movement) in U.S. history. His ideas on the centrality of the struggle against white supremacy anticipated the profound transformative power of the Civil Rights/Black Liberation struggles of the 1960s. His talks before large crowds at Wall and Broad Streets (on Socialism) and in Harlem after the 1917 pogrom against the East St. Louis African-American community (East St. Louis is less than 12 miles from Ferguson) were precursors to recent “Occupy” and “Black Lives Matter” movements.

Read entire article here