Taste of The Bahamas, A Smashing Success With Patrons at African American Research Library in Fort Lauderdale

Some three hundred patrons attended a special ‘”Taste of The Bahamas” Reception held this past Friday at the African American Research Library and Cultural Center in Fort Lauderdale.  The event, which showcased the diverse culture of The Bahamas, was part of the Broward County Library Destination Friday’s program and was facilitated by the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism (BMOT).

An art exhibition, that featured more than 100 personal artifacts, including awards from The Bahamas of the Late Esther Rolle, famed actress of Bahamian descent, was also on display at the Library.

Linville Johnson, Director of African-American market at BMOT said “the opportunity to promote The Bahamas’ destination and culture at the historic library was most appropriate and timely as it also showcased the many assets as well as differentiated the product offerings in The Bahamas from the other competing destinations”.

“Here we used the allure of our culture -  food, drink, music, story telling, Junkanoo workshop and live Junkanoo rush out” which no other destination can match”. 

“This event was a hit and it resonated very well with the many visitors and second and third generation Bahamians who now reside within the south Florida communities, and have planned “home reunions in The Bahamas in 2016,” he said.

Patrons feasted on succulent conch fritters, grouper fingers, fried chicken, guava duff and signature Bahamian drinks and danced the night away to Bahamian music.  The Bahamas Junkanoo Revue led a rush out into the 300-seat auditorium, for an educultural presentation, on the Bahamas’ culture and African-American Bahamian connection, which was presented by Arlene Nash-Ferguson, Director of Culture, for the BMOT.

“The Bahamas has always enjoyed a wonderful relationship with the African-American market, especially with the people in Florida, as many of its natives share a heritage affinity for The Bahamas, the birth place of some of their forefathers, who sought better financial opportunities and migrated to Florida, during the “contract days,” she said. 

While the late Esther Rolle was born in Pompano Beach, Florida, both her parents, mother Elizabeth Iris Rolle and father, Jonathan Rolle a farmer from Exuma who worked on the ‘contract’ were born in The Bahamas.

Actress Rolle, who attributed her success to the strong work ethics imparted by her father, was a former dancer and gospel singer and was best remembered as Florida Evans, a sharp but caring housekeeper, a character she played on the 1970’s comedy series, Maude and Good Times.  The Emmy Award winner died in November 1998.

Media Contact: D. Earnestine Moxyz | Bahamas Ministry of Tourism | (954) 236-9292 | emoxyz@bahamas.com


Photos:  Courtesy of Steve Vinik

From left to right are:  Linville Johnson, Elaina Norlin, Regional Library Manager, African American Research Library and Cultural Center and Arlene Nash-Ferguson