The first Friday in June is Sir Randol Fawkes Day in the Bahamas. This annual date was previously the date of Labour Day, however it was renamed in 2013 to celebrate the important contributions of Fawkes in the recent history of the Bahamas.
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Before 1967, a small, elite group of whites ruled Bahamas even though it was about five-sixths black.
Sir Randol Fawkes was an early Labour and Commerce Minister in Bahamas, the first representative to speak up for independence in the Bahamas’ colonial assembly, and the deciding vote that turned the assembly over to the “Black Majority Rule” in 1967.
It was largely through Fawkes’ efforts that Labour Day became a public holiday in Bahamas in 1961, so it is somewhat fitting that the holiday was renamed after him over 40 years later.
After Fawkes was knighted for his efforts towards independence, labour reforms, and more in 1977, he ever thereafter became known as “Sir” Randol Fawkes.
On Sir Randol Fawkes Day, the main event is a big street parade that combines members of all the islands’ labour unions, political factions, and other institutions. The parade is a symbol of unity and progress in Bahamas. When the parade ends at a local park, crowds gather to hear speeches from government and labour leaders.