Fellow columnist Orville Taylor ought to be commended for writing on a subject related to the office of national hero in 'Were all our heroes really heroic?' (Sunday Gleaner, October 14, 2012) in which he questioned whether most of our national heroes were fit and proper to assume that status.
However, Taylor's thesis suggests that the criterion for being made a national hero should be that one would gain little or no benefit from one's agitation.
"Heroes make self-sacrifices for others to gain, with little or nothing in it for them." This could be problematic. It would exclude persons such as Nelson Mandela, South Africa freedom fighter, Martin Luther King, US civil-rights leader, and Mahatma Gandhi, Indian non-violent activist. All three would have benefited from their movements.
In fact, Taylor's only hero George William Gordon would not even make the cut based on that criterion.
Taylor still insists on refusing to recognise the pivotal role that the Native Baptists played in Gordon's election to the House of Assembly.
However, a nuh me sey suh, but Gordon gave credit to them.
Gad Heuman, British historian, in his book Killing Time, said Gordon lost the 1862 elections for St Thomas. However, Gordon won the subsequent election in 1864 with the help of Paul Bogle as his campaign manager.
Interestingly, if my memory serves me right, the number of persons who voted in that election was 104.
Taylor questions Sam Sharpe being a national hero. He said, "The question would be, was Sharpe's uprising an attempt to secure his freedom or that of others ... ? How different was his riot from that of prisoners with life sentences who lead violent outbreaks."
Taylor, known for his jokes, is taking a joke too far. Sharpe was a believer in the equality of all human beings, a value not common then among the Europeans, not even the missionaries. The Anti-Slavery Society which was formed in 1823 did not oppose slavery based on equality of all races, but rather on the harsh treatment of the enslaved.
Sharpe's position was visionary when he said, "The whites had no more right to hold black people in slavery than the black people had to make white people slaves." Therefore, his position would prevent Africans from enslaving Europeans, which showed that his movement was not selfish but would benefit others not of his race.
Truly, Sharpe is fit and proper to be a national hero.
The Rev Devon Dick is an author and pastor of Boulevard Baptist Church. Email feedback to email@example.com.