September 10th and 21st, redux in print
The annual September Celebrations are officially behind us but today the National Institute of Culture and History, along with the Belize Archives and Records Service returned to the essence of what makes the month of September historically important to Belizeans. It’s a new publication fittingly called Revisiting the Tenth and Twenty-First, a retrospective detailing the Battle of St. George’s Caye, as well as the movement towards independence. While the launch of the book comes a few weeks later, the information contained within its pages remains very relevant since it highlights both events from the perspective of those involved in the movement. Director of the Belize Archives and Record Service, Dr. Herman Byrd explains the contents of the book.
Dr. Herman Byrd, Director, Belize Archives and Records Service
“What we wanted to do in this book is to feature some of the major documents that underlies the importance of these two events and so the booklet is divided into two sections. The first section deals with the Battle of St. George’s Caye and we have ten documents, most of them original records that are taken from the materials that we have at the Belize Archives in Belmopan and they cover the timeframe of before, during and after the battle. So we try to give you a set of documents that would give you a good overall view of the importance of this event in our history. For example, one of my favorite documents there is, as you may know, I’m sure you know from your teachers, that at the time of the Battle of St. George’s Caye, the inhabitants, the settlers had to make a big decision. They had to decide whether or not they would stay or whether or not they would leave. Whether or not they would evacuate the settlement or whether or not they would defend it okay. The second section of the book deals with the achievement of the main event that we celebrate on the twenty-first of September, of course our independence. We have nine documents that cover the period from 1949 to 1981. So as you know, the achievement of our independence was something that many people worked hard at for many, many years and what we wanted to do was to share with you some of the, it’s always better to hear something from somebody who was there alright, so we try very much to give you firsthand accounts, eyewitness accounts, the speeches of the individuals who were actually leading the movement to independence.”
A new exhibit was also launched at the Museum of Belize this morning to coincide with the introduction of the publication.