I can confidently say that I will never forget this trip to Barbados. As a first-year at Davidson, I am extremely lucky that I was able to experience Barbados with these incredible women. This trip wouldn’t have been possible without Dr. Dennie. It was clear the time and effort that went into putting together such an incredible itinerary. I would also like to thank Dr. Bowles and Jessica for also joining us on this trip. They were able to contribute their knowledge on history and archives.
Being in Barbados brought this class to another level. We were able to visualize the spaces that we talked about in our readings. Something I will never forget is the time we got to spend in the archives at the Barbados Museum and Historical Society. I remember flipping through a ledger that had all the slaves information on the Newton Plantation. It was very moving to see pages upon pages of names of the slaves on the Newton Plantation. We had been to the Newton Burial Ground the day before and there was no recognition of what was truly there. There were at least 550 slaves buried and the only indication that they were there were the humps on the ground. There was no sign to let people know about the site they were about to enter. We learned that people drove over the plantation and there was barely any upkeep of the site. Not only that, we found out that the Bajan government knew about this site but refused to do anything with the information. This brought us to think: Is it possible for Barbados to move on without acknowledging their past history of enslavement?
We also learned that many Bajans didn’t know about their history because history isn’t a part of compulsory education in Barbados. This made our class think about who has access to history and what history is told. There were some places that we visited where slavery was never mentioned and instead, erased just to make sure all tourists who came were comfortable. As a group of students who understood the history of Barbados, we struggled in these spaces. It was hard knowing that very few Bajans knew the truth of their own country’s history. On this trip, I saw firsthand that history could be told in a lot of different ways to a lot of different people.
I will forever be grateful that I was able to go on this trip with an amazing group of women. Everyday, we uplifted each other and supported one another. In spaces of violence and suffering, we found comfort in one another. We were able to honestly share our emotions with each other and that is something I will never forget. To be in a space that powerful was so special. This is a trip I will never forget.