Humanities Moments

Items in the Virginia Geographic Alliance West Indies Teacher Institute Collection

Transformation of an Island
My source of inspiration came from a lecture on paintings and images of slave society presented at the Barbados National Museum. The painting by Issac Sailmaker entitled "Island of Barbados" visually depicts the transformation of the island's…

The Burden of Sugar
Visiting a sugar mill on the coast of Barbados, I wondered how far humans are willing to go for the everyday resources I take for granted. What are we willing to do to the environment or other human beings for sugar, salt, and electricity? In this…

George Washington and the Movement of Enslaved Persons to Barbados
Before travelling to the George Washington House in Bridgetown, Barbados, I thought what most Americans think about George Washington: he was a strong, moral, and noble leader who is the epitome of what it means to be a patriot and an American. While…

Water Is Life: Thousands Have Lived Without Love, Not One Without Water
I remember visiting the Washington House in Barbados this past summer on a Virginia Geographic Alliance travel grant and being marveled at the dripping stones on the residence. The use of the limestone vessels as filters was introduced by the…

Sargassam & Barbados
At the heart of humanities are humans. This moment encapsulates the unintended consequences of human interactions with our environment. The picture was taken at Bathsheba, Barbados that shows the impact of Sargassam seaweed on the island nation of…

Fish and Place in Barbados
This mid-20th century oil painting, titled “Fishermen Mending Nets” by the artist Charles Poyer, depicts an elderly man repairing fishing nets by hand with tools located in a basket. The young boy watches with intrigue and appears ready to learn. …

“Personal freedom was therefore not existent.”
The title of my moment comes from a quote on page 55 of Watson and Potter's book, Low-Cost Housing in Barbados: Evolution or Social Revolution?
My humanities moment occurred in the Bajan archives while being able to view the original document that…

The Pledge of Barbados
Standing on Chamberlain Bridge and looking at Independence Arch, I began reading the Barbadian Pledge. Instantly my brain goes to each school morning when students stand and say the U.S. Pledge of Allegiance. Both symbolize a promise of loyalty to…

The Emancipation Act of 1834 and our Shared Freedom Story
“To be honest, I’m glad my family didn’t go to America. We ended slavery 30 years earlier. What were YOU guys thinking?”

Our Bajan tour guide of St. Nicholas Abbey told us this as we walked through the sugarcane plantation house. She chuckled,…

The Liberation of Our Past
The Barbados Museum and Historical Society is located in a former military prison. Its original purpose of control through force and containment is clear and obvious when I entered the present-day museum. Cannons flank the entrance, a symbol of…

"An extraordinary emblematic flag"
I visited Barbados on a teacher professional development trip in 2018. My assigned research topic for the trip was Bussa’s 1816 slave rebellion. Within three days in April of that year, the rebellion had spread to most of the southern half of the…

Overlooked Histories
The image of this colorful sign is obviously meant to be “fun” and perhaps even funny. When I took this picture while traveling with fellow teachers and educators in Barbados, it honestly was because I thought the sign was kind of cute. But later on…

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