News Article
November 26, 2014

Dreaming a Nation - discussion for Barbados Independence celebrations November 2014

BFUWI was delighted to co-sponsor an event at the Barbados High Commission celebrating the life and work of Sir Frederick Smith, Barbados' first Attorney-General.  There was a stimulating discussion about his new biography (co-written by his nephew Alan Smith) between Alan and Professor Richard Drayton of King's College, London on the creation of independent statehood for the island nation of Barbados.  Barbados became independent on 30 November 1966.

The British Foundation of the University of the West Indies (BFUWI) and the Barbados Association of Community Organisations are pleased to announce an exciting and important event on 25th November as part of the 2014 Barbadian Independence celebrations, a discussion  and introduction to  the book “Dreaming a Nation” , which charts the Barbados and Caribbean Independence journey.


Barbados celebrates its 48th anniversary of Independence in 2014.  It does so in challenging economic times.  Yet, the Barbados journey and story is a remarkable one which must be told as it has important lessons for all countries building a democratic tradition in the post-colonial, independence period.  That story has been captured in an upcoming set of memoirs and reflections, "Dreaming a Nation", co-authored by one of the country's founding statesmen and elders, Sir Frederick Smith, the country's first Attorney General and a founder member of the Democratic Labour Party which led Barbados to Independence.  Sir Frederick, who turned 90 earlier this year, co-authored the book with Alan Smith, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, a UWI Alumni, and a member of the Barbadian diaspora living in England.


It promises to be a special book. As the foreword notes:


“Autobiographies and memoirs are precious objects in any national culture.  Their importance lies in how they help us to see things which were typical of an age, as much as in recording an exceptional human life.  On both of these scores, Dreaming a Nation is a valuable addition to the civic memory of Barbados, where there is no tradition of statesmen or key citizens leaving accounts of their lives.  Even in the wider cricket-playing Caribbean, apart from Eric Williams's midlife memoir Inward Hunger (1969), and his political lieutenant Winston Mahabir's In and Out of Politics (1978), there have been few experiments in autobiography.  The late Sir Hugh Springer when pressed about writing his memoirs, responded 'Some men do, others write'.  We are lucky that Sir Frederick Gladstone Smith, with such an extraordinary personal story, and having played a leading role in national politics, teaching, and the law, has so generously shared this record of his journey. From it we catch glimpses of aspects of twentieth-century Barbadian private and public life which neither historians nor novelists have yet recorded”. 


.      See a video of the evening's events at



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