[Guyana Genealogical and Biographical Society] Tenth Annual Assembly of Negro Progress Convention 1931
NPC in 10th Annual Assembly -Rev. Stuart-Medas Delivers Convention Address – Tribute to Late J. D. Ainsworth
Georgetown: Saturday, August 1
To-day - Emancipation Day - was fitting commemorated with the usual Annual Assembly in the Town Hall of the NPC, a local organization founded by the Hon. E. F. Fredericks, L.L.B., M.E.C., and his co-worker Dr. T.T. Nichols, B.A., M.D., C.M., with branches scattered through out the colony. The Assembly marked the tenth annual session of the Convention which was opened by the Hon. E. F. Fredericks, President, at the Business Session at 10.30 AM when two candidates who have been selected by the convention for a two-year studentship at Tuskegee Institute, U.S. A., were presented and the Rev. W. F. Fraser delivered an address on “the Progressive Attitude”.
At 2.30PM the women’s meeting followed presided over by Mr. J. H. Bristol, a Vice- President of the Convention, at which Mrs. J. Dingwall delivered an address on “Women and Social Progress”, and Misses Vesta Lowe and Amy Nicholson gave symposium on “Our Women and Guiana’s Progress”.
In the evening, Dr. T.T. Nichols, Vice- President of the Convention, presided over a public meeting at which the Rev. S. B. Stuart-Medas, B.D., delivered the Convention address “the logical Basis of Life”
At each session the proceedings were enlivened with a concert program
Of the branches of the organization than in the formation of new one and the only new branch formed for the year was one at Belladrum where in answer to an instant demand on the part of the good people of that district a large branch was ushered into the life of the organization in June last. The Georgetown or parent Association with the 500 members under the presidency of Mr. G. H. A. Bunyan continues to be a source of great inspiration to the Executive on the occasion of its monthly meetings at the Y.W.M.I.A. Hall but it is hoped that the Negro public of the city will continue to align themselves with this association. Our convention consists of 19 branches, 8 on the Corentyne Coast, Berbice; 5 on the West Coast of Berbice; 1 on the East Bank of Berbice; 2 on the East Coast of Demerara; 1 on the West Bank of Demerara; 1 in Essequebo and 1 in Georgetown.
Conscious of the fact that the future of a race belongs to the children convention has been able during the year to start a Juvenile Section now numbering 56 and working side by side with its other activities; and at Smith Memorial Schoolroom meetings are now held on Friday afternoons. The section has its own officers, and under the presidency of Master Robert Hart and the Secretaryship of Master Ivan Payne, myself superintending an insight is being gleaned of the child mind on racial problems and how the boys and girls who will follow in our wake propose to grapple with the problem which we shall have to leave behind. The education of the Negro shall be his greatest salvation and it is hoped during the New Year that an effort will be made to inculcate in the youths the spirit of thrift in the formation of a Penny Bank. Centenary of Negro Emancipation lest we forget, let me remind you, not of the centenary of the political union of our counties into the colony of British Guiana but of the Centenary of Negro Emancipation Which we hoped to celebrate in 1938. in connection with the fund started some time ago in order to be able befittingly to commemorate this great event and which previously stood at $1,203 through the effort of the president in the inauguration of Cup Day which it is hoped will be an annual feature of the Convention, another sum has been added. The results of this attempt, however, have not yet been definitely ascertained. Through the financial stress of Colonial in common with world conditions it has not been possible to augment this fund any further but an earnest appeal is now made to all members of our race whenever the opportunity occurs to make contributions to this fund.
Elevation of the President
While I make this apology you will excuse me I hope for referring to a matter which has been of universe gratification to the entire Colony and to our race group in particular. It is not often men life to reap the fruits of their own labours any preferment that is a reward for faithful and meritorious service to his fellow men is greatly to be rewarded. I refer of course to the coveted distinction of being elected by His Majesty the King to a seat on the Executive Council of British Guiana which honour as the first full blooded Negro of the Colony to be so elected fell in November last on our worthy President- Founder the Hon. E. F. Fredericks.
Thanks to the untiring zeal of Dr. Nichols Vice-President and co-founder of the organization, Convention has been able this year to award two Tuskegee Studentships tenable for two years at the Tuskegee Institute, Alabama, USA at a cost of one thousand dollars. These Studentship which have been awarded on both a written and oral examination have been this year won by Miss Vesta Lowe of Manchester Branch, Corentyne and Mr. J. A. Kidney of Wakenaam. The fund stands today at $856.35, a deficit of $48.65 but through the kindly offices of His Excellency Sir Edward Denham, a device has been struck by which this gap would be bridged. In this connection of the
Tuskegee Studentship deputations led by Dr. Nichols have on the 11th and 18th July waited on Major the Hon. W. Brain Gray, MA., Director of Education and His Excellency the Governor, respectively from both of whom many concessions were asked and their favourable consideration received. It is hoped that these students will leave the Colony on the 10th of August and in the name of the Convention I take this opportunity of exhorting them always to lift high the banner of our work, marching with Convention ever onwards and upwards and adding letter and greater laurels to their names. This effort the child of Dr. Nichols’ own christening is an earnest attempt on the part of our organization to ameliorate the economic life of the people of our race and the whole colony incidentally.
The Watch Committee
The 30 ladies who make up this committee at the head of which is Mrs. C. Worrell continue to be one of the most valuable assets of the organization, without whose unflinching service it would hardly have been possible for Convention to achieve all that it has during the past year. It is to the credit of Mrs. A. Eytle, one of the members of the committee, that Convention was able, through the institution of Handkerchief Day, to realize no less a sum than $70.
This is a very painful part of my report recording this year as in my duty to do the sad and lamentable demise of James Donald Ainsworth who ever since the inception of Convention has been a stalwart and zealous member of our executive and who year in and year out has stood on this platform proffering suggestions for the promotion of this work. As we pass on let us all pray that the earth may lie lightly over him. Let me also record the pang Convention feels in the death of Mr. James A. Pollard, ex-detective Sgt-Major of the British Guiana Police Force who has been a true and sincere friend to the work of the Convention.
Convention wishes to place on record its sincerest and highest appreciation of the kind consideration it has all during the year received from both His Excellency Sir Edward Denham, K. C. M. G., and Major the Hon. W. Bain Gray, M. A., Director of Education whenever their help was sought. It is a perennial happiness to record our grateful thanks to the Hon. S. H. Bayley, Managing Director of the Colonial Transport and Harbours Department who in every way has shown a practical sympathy with the work.
It will be greatly amiss were I to omit how deeply thankful the executive feels to the Mayor and Town Council of the City of Georgetown for the free use of the Town Hall on all occasions. With a brief fortnight’s stay in the Colony, Madame Alyce Fraser has not only made her name a household word, only with her tangible appreciation of our work has written it indelibly on our records. This apart, Convention wishes to thank her for the good work she is doing on behalf of her race in foreign parts. To the Rev. W. Hawley Bryant of Smith’s Church, Georgetown opportunity is here sought of expressing thanks for the use of the schoolroom for the Juvenile Section. For her kind service to the convention I also wish to express our gratitude to Miss Amy Lawrence. We owe thanks also to Ferdinand Christopher Archer of the New Negro Development Association for the timely donation of $30.00 to our Tuskegee Fund. To the Rev. S. C. Churchstone-Lord of New Nickerie, who came down here to deliver the Convention Address at our last assembly Convention wishes to record its sincere thanks. Last but by no means least, I know you will bear with me while I express how deeply grateful.
While I express how deeply grateful Convention feels to all sections of the local press which have shown so much good-will to and have so considerably helped on the work.
It is with great regret that I have to announce at this juncture the continued and serious illness of Mr. Z. O. Gill, the young and enthusiastic member of our committee whose service and help during the year past has been of great value to Convention. We wish him speedy recovery to a life of continued usefulness and service.
In conclusion, we have sincerely to thank almighty God who these 10 years past has piloted the work of Convention; and as we to-day negotiate another milestone on the road of Time, we pray again that that same Providence will continue to lead and to protect our race in general and our leaders in particular, in whose hands he has entrusted so great a destiny. Finally, I would like if I were able this morning, to send a heart message into every Negro home in this country, exhorting one and all to rally round the banner of the N.P.C. for if ever there was a time when it was absolutely necessary for us all to come together, for the good of ourselves and that of our race, that time was the present, and it was only by putting down our petty jealousies and personalities and uniting together that we could hope to be steered into that state of prosperity and happiness in which the great Providence intended us to live.
Tuskegee Students Fund
Dr. Nichols intimated that the Tuskegee Students Fund had reached a total of $856.35 of which $13.25 was voluntarily subscribed in the hall and that a sum of $143.65 was still needed to secure the sum of $1,000.00 required. He then read the following statement in connexion with the fund: previously collected $708.07. To date – His Excellency the Governor $10, Major the Hon. W. Brain Gray $5, Madame Alyce Fraser's Recital $50; 68; Pires and Silva Bros. $10; Wieting and Richter, Ltd. $10; G. R. Hutchison, Ltd. $5; Stabroek Butchery per Mr. A. B. Cromwell $5; M. Gonsalves $5; B.G.Timber Corp. per Mrs. Willems $3; Wakenaam Branch $3.60; Mr. S. J. Holder $3; Hon. ARF Webber $2; Congratulations $2; Mr. J. Bristol $2; Teekah and Co. $2; Mr. Marshall $2; Jasmine and Gomes per Mr. De Ryck $2; Mr. Daniels (Stabroek Market) $2; Rev. W. A. Deane $1; Mr. N. Layne $1; Virtue and Co. $1; Mr. Arno $1; Mr. J. Craigwell $1; Miss D. H. Moore 25; Mr. H. Matthews 50; Mr. E. A. Borman $1; Mr. and Mrs. London Williams $3; M. Hackett $2; Mr. E. A. Duncan $1; A. P. Dublin $1; Mr. C. B. Benjamin $1; Miss M. Williams $1; Mrs. T. Brereton $2; Miss Caroline Millington 25; J. Fraser $1; C. A. Petrie $5; Total $856.35
Presentation of Students
Presenting Miss Vesta Hyacinth Winifred Lowe of Corentyne and Mr. James Lynton Kidney of Wakenaam, the two successful students for a two years’ course at Tuskegee Normal and industrial institute of USA., to the audience Dr. Nichols gave the history of the project and stated that they would be prized students at the Institute as they would be having Government protection and status while there through the kindness of the local Government who had also shown their appreciation by granting Miss Lowe who was a student-teacher at Kildonan School release from her contract and her salary to the end of December. They had to enter the Institute on September 5, and would leave the colony on August 10. On their arrival at New York they would be met by the Assistant Attorney General of the state of New York, Mr. Dyett, brother of the Rev. A. E. Dyett, Dr. Savory of this colony, Mr. Daniel Yearwood, Secretary of the BG Benevolent Association of New York City and Madame Olive Whyte Norman.
Advice to students
Addressing the students, Dr. Nichols said: “You go to the institute not only to map out a path of greatness and usefulness for yourselves, but to uphold the standard of Convention and the greatness of your race. Vast opportunities await you there, and I sincerely trust that Almighty God will imbue you with wisdom and strength so that you may avail yourselves of those opportunities. (Applause)
Mr. W. B. Knox read a poem of his own composition entitled “In commemoration of the Tenth Anniversary, NPC.” Which was highly appreciated and for which he was warmly applauded.
The Libyan high school choir next rendered a chorus “Hail Africa” after which the President delivered his address (to be published)
Master E. Price played a violin solo and the collection was thereafter taken.
The late Mr. J. D. Ainsworth
A note of sadness was here struck in the happy proceedings when the President requested the gathering to stand in silent reverence for two minutes as a tribute to the memory of the late Mr. J. D. Ainsworth, after which he said; “In loving memory of our departed co-worker, J. D. Ainsworth.” And read a telegram from Victoria, East Coast, stating “Wreath laid grave, Ainsworth.”
It may be explained that a short service was held at Mr. Ainsworth graveside at Victoria by Mr. G. Rutherford, the sender of the telegram, simultaneously with the opening of Convention that morning, and a wreath laid on behalf of Convention with the inscription as read by the President. Rev. W. F. Fraser delivered an address on the Progressive Attitude. The Libyan High School Choir sang” Carry the sunshine with you” and Master A. Daniels followed with a recitation entitled “the Negro on Education”.
Officers Re-elected En Bloc
The president here vacated the chair (which was occupied by Mr. Spencer) for the purpose of the election of officers. The following officers were re-elected en bloc: President –Hon. E. F. Fredericks, L.L.B., M.E.C.,
Vice – Presidents - Dr. T.T. Nichols, M.D., C.M., Messrs. J. H. Bristol, J. R. W. Straughn and Mrs. V. Millar.
Secretary: Mrs. H. Joseph
Assistant Secretary –Mrs. K. Holder
Field Secretaries: Messrs. PJ Galloway (Corentyne), J. W. Cummings and S. Hardcourt (West Coast Berbice)
Vote of Thanks to Hon. S. H. Bayley
On the motion of Dr. Nichols seconded by the Rev. J. F. Griffith, a vote of thanks was accorded the Hon. S. H. Bayley, General Director, Transport and Harbours Department, for special traveling facilities granted to members of the Convention and for the gift of a bouquet.
The morning session was then closed with the singing of the hymn “Blest Be The Tie That Binds”.
Source: The Daily Chronicle, Sunday, August 2, 1931: page 3 and 7.
Posted by M'lilwana to Guyana Genealogical and Biographical Society at 7/28/2006 07:39:00 AM