Vanishing Stories

Here we are, in the age of the internet. The world’s knowledge is just a click away, in theory. But where are the stories of St. Martiners?

St. Martin is a people as much as it is a place. This island was home to people who created and preserved its culture, who helped their community every day and built the foundations of what is here today. These people were known and loved by all.

Many great St. Martiners live on in the memories of friends and family. They are remembered in the stories that are told about them. But how long will those stories survive?

Thankfully, the lives and achievements of some St. Martiners have been recorded in books and newspaper articles. But this information is not necessarily easy for all to access. When St. Martin students go online to research the history of their home, will they find cultural icons from the past? Will they learn their stories? Will they see their faces?

There are many people to celebrate: Juliette Mingau, Gaston Boasman, Laurelle “Yaya” Richards, Calypso Barbara, Cees van Dolderen, Yvette Hyman, José Lake, Sr, Inez Eliza Baly-Lewis, Cynric Griffith, Melford Hazel, Roland Bryson, Emilio Wilson, Neville Chester York and the list goes on. Some of these names may be familiar to most. Others may be icons in just part of the island. But few have a proper biography that records their life and works.

St. Martin is proud of its people. There are statues of St. Martiners all over the island. Streets and buildings are named after St. Martiners. But far too often, the stories of these people are out of reach. As time moves on, their stories are vanishing bit by bit from local memory. As photo albums are lost or destroyed, their faces disappear, too.

Do you know the story of a great St. Martiner? Do you have photos of local icons who have passed? Tell us by writing in to The Daily Herald or to [email protected].

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