Liberty Hall in Belize City, long ago
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Wednesday January 9, 2019

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Liberty Hall, headquarters of the United Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) in Belize. This building has been declared a historic monument. Photo by Christopher Nesbitt.
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Liberty Hall in Belize City, long ago

I remember when I was about six or seven years old going to the Liberty Hall with my mother to see religious slides and to sing hymns.

THERE WAS A TIME WHEN THE HISTORICAL LIBERTY HALL WAS LIVABLE AND USABLE, but many claimed that they would restore it - Still waiting.

I Iived right in front of this majestic building for 46 years. - This is where I first saw my beautiful girl friend and my future beloved wife . Now of 63 years married wife. This is where my lovely 4 girls and one boy saw the first days of their life. ( Their infancy )

This building marks an era when Belizeans of African decent were more united, under the banner of the U.N.I.A. (The United Negro Improvement Association).

This Building donated by Mr Isaah Morter, a wealthy Black Man, served Belizeans in many ways, It was the Home of the UNIA, the Black Cross Nurses, the Imperial Musical Band, a Boxing gym, a Wedding Hall, the Cradle of the UBAD, and the first Home of the Excelsior High School, Recreational Centre for the Development of African Belizeans.

The 10 Sept Parade use to always Pass Barrack Road. A few years ago a neighbor that lived next to Liberty Hall and a SHYSTER Attorney tried to hijacked Liberty Hall and convert it into his own Personal Property for little or nothing.

Liberty Hall was a donation by a Belizean, exporter of Coconuts, Mr Isaah Morter.

This Belizean Benefactor, was among the few Belizean Natives, who have donated a Building for the benefit of Belizeans. Mr Robert Turton also donated the Jubilee Library Building on North Front Street and the Red Cross building by St Mary's.

Liberty Hall was donated for the U.N.I.A. ( United Negro Improvement Association.

The Black Cross Nurses Association of Belize, had their Center there.

It was also used by Musical Bands, Dances, Weddings, and Boxing.

Eventually, the Excelsior High School, was founded there. I lived across this Hall, on Barrack Road, for over 45 years.

A few weeks ago, I passed there. and it pained my heart to see the ABANDONMENT of this HISTORICAL BUILDING.

I have heard many stories before, that this group, this Minister, This Group from the Diaspora, this Church will renovate this building. BUT IT REMAINS STANDING UNTIL NO MORE.

Attempts were made to do something, by genuine persons, but ETHNICITY GOT IN THEIR WAY.


Liberty Hall Community Center in Belize City

The Belize City branch of the United Negro Improvement Association had been opened in 1920 in the wake of the riot of 1919 which had protested the treatment of the British Honduras servicemen during the First World War.

An excellent article in Amandala, originally published in in 1994 and republished in 2008 on the history of UNIA and Garveyism in Belize can be found here.

Photograph courtesy Hector Silva

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