Bermuda Day Grand Marshal 2019 – Bermudian Excellence
This past February the Bermuda Union of Teachers (BUT) celebrated its 100th Anniversary. Since its inception the organisation has advocated for better working conditions and greater access to resources in order to ensure the future success of the Island’s children. One of the organisation’s most outspoken leaders was former President Dr. Eva Hodgson. The educator, author and activist is best known for her anti-racism campaigning, which has won her both criticism and praise, perhaps in equal measure.
Born into a family that put down roots in Crawl, Hamilton Parish more than two centuries ago, Dr Hodgson was the second eldest of six children. She graduated from The Berkeley Institute and received a Government scholarship to attend Queen’s University in Ontario, where she obtained her undergraduate degree. Committed to academic excellence, Dr. Hodgson went on to earn a Diploma in Education and Honours Degree in Geography at London University. The time she spent in the U.K. heightened her awareness of racial injustice in Bermuda. Upon returning to the Island in 1959, she began writing letters to the editor of the Bermuda Recorder; and wrote prolifically for years thereafter.
In 1965, while teaching at The Berkeley, she became the first president of the Amalgamated Bermuda Union of Teachers (BUT), the BUT celebrates their 100th year anniversary in 2019 The union sponsored her seminal book Second Class Citizens, First Class Men, which focused on the social and political changes that occurred in Bermuda between 1953 and 1963.
In 1967, Dr. Hodgson moved to New York to study at Columbia University, where she received two Masters degrees, before embarking on studies for a Ph.D. in African history and black American history, which she obtained in 1980. She returned to Bermuda to serve as a guidance counsellor at Robert Crawford School and in 1983 was appointed coordinator of Oral History and Cultural Preservation in Education in the Ministry of Education, a post she held until 1990. As a result of her work with the BUT, she won the Russell Award for contributing to world peace from the World Confederation of the Organization of the Teaching Profession. She was also awarded a grant from Columbia to conduct field research in Liberia – during which time she visited several other West African countries.
In 1992, Dr. Hodgson co-founded the National Association of Reconciliation, which remained an entity for 15 years. She has credited the association with helping to put the issue of race on the national agenda. Awarded the Queen’s Certificate, Badge of Honour and an OBE, she is an honorary member of Citizens Uprooting Racism (CURB).
Note: Dr. Hodgson passed in 2020.