Segregation in Grand Bahama
Fort Lauderdale News, Sunday 10 August 1969

Segregation in Grand Bahama

When I was a bit younger than I am now, say around fifteen years old I have always said to myself “thank God we don’t have problems with segregation in the Bahamas”. It had always been a relief to me because I could not ever imagine my people go through what I’ve seen on T.V or the American History I’ve been taught in high school. It was not until January 10th 2014, when they made Majority Rule Day a public holiday that I got an understanding that we (the Bahamas) were in a similar situation as the rest of the world. 

In the Bahamas Bahamians faced segregation during the early 1950s and 60s where they were not allowed to be decision makers in the country since they did not own much. A prime example of this was that you were only allowed to vote if you owned property and by extension those who owned more than one piece of property were allowed to vote as many times as the amount of property they owned.. Between 1956 to 1958 the island of Grand Bahama natives faced segregation when they were not allowed to live in the Freeport, Grand Bahama area. Access was given to those who worked in Freeport, but they were commissioned to be out by 6pm each evening. Segregation was ultimately brought to an end in Grand Bahama through the efforts of the former Prime Minister and Father of the Nation Sir Lynden Oscar Pindling and a forward-thinking taxi driver by the name of Dennis “Preacher” Hall. 

Hence, the Hawksbill Creek agreement came into being in 1955. Catering only to those of the White race, there was a definite “apartness” sanctioned against black Bahamians. The legal papers were drawn up by Sir Stafford, but the ultimate permission was given by Sir Roland and his UBP government. Championing the cause for the black Bahamians was Sir Lynden Oscar Pindling who came to Grand Bahama after there was an outcry headed by Dennis “Preacher” Hall. Mr. Hall was a local taxi driver working for the Union Cab, in 1955 when the Port Authority was born. An area of Grand Bahama Measuring 556.8 square km starting from West Warren J Levarity Highway which is by the entrance of Eight Mile Rock, east wood to the old Library near Freetown East, Grand Bahama was own by them. It also encompassed those areas to the south just outside the Lewis Yard, Hunters and Pinders Point settlements which was leased from the Government of the Bahamas to them for 99 years. 

It was because of this man and Sir Lynden Pindling that we can now drive up and down from Freeport to Eight Mile Rock everyday and any hours of the day or night without being penalised.

Mr. Dennis "Preacher" Hall, Sharing his story of battling segregation in Grand Bahama, February 2019 (Photo by author)
Dennis Preacher Hall and family
Mr. Dennis "Preacher" Hall and his Family in Eight Mile Rock, Grand Bahama, February 2019 (Photo by author)