25 August 2015

Charles Pinheiro and the Caribbean Diaspora

A diaspora is a spreading of an entire generation or population from its home into foreign lands. Many nations throughout history have experienced diaspora, including many of the Caribbean islands throughout the mid-to-late 1800s. In the generations following the fall of slavery, many African-Caribbean freedmen left the islands, in search of a new home.

Cities throughout Canada became attractive places for men and women alike from the Caribbean. Two of my ancestors, Charles Henry Pinheiro and Lester Edgar Ince, decided to settle in Halifax, Nova Scotia between 1875 and 1900. From what I can tell, neither of them ever returned to Barbados--but both of them surely left family members behind.

I made this video to honor them, to tell their stories. But I'm also hoping to connect with their relatives and descendants in Barbados, if any exist. 

Fun fact: I just realized that Lester Ince lived to see the day in 1966 when Barbados created this flag!

Pinheiro is a rare name to find in Barbados because it's a Portuguese name, likely dating back to the European Jews of that name who kept slaves. I'd be interested in connecting with anyone in Barbados, black or white, with that surname.

Lester Edgar Ince was born 5 August 1881 to Frederick and Mary Ince in Saint Peter, Barbados. He lived an incredibly long life in Canada, dying on 15 January 1974 in Montreal at the age of 92. If he had any siblings and they lived anywhere near that long, someone somewhere might remember him or his family. 

I would love to connect with anyone in Barbados with information about either of these two families. If you're in Barbados and interested in helping me find members of my family, please reach out and let me know!

09 August 2015


One of many toys I convinced my parents that my demise would be imminent if I continued living without it. I believe I had one in these exact shades of fuchsia and seafoam green.

Sky Dancers fly just for me!
With one overaggressive yank on a five-year old's equivalent of a lawnmower cord, I would send this thing flying with reckless abandon through the air. With every bit of childhood fantasy I could muster, it was not a doll, but ME flying higher and higher into the clouds. Reality, good sense, and my accountability to God were completely suspended until the exact moment she flew into the power lines, the neighbor's yard, or on top of the house. As far as I was concerned, no calamity on the world stage was more dire than my imperative need for her immediate rescue. I specifically remember my father climbing onto the roof to retrieve a Skydancer which had become a victim to my desire for vicarious flight, and my refusal to confront the consequences of my actions.

How many times did I endanger myself and those around me for the joy of playing with this one toy? I couldn't begin to tell you, and the five-year old in me continues not to care. But it required every ounce of adulthood I possess not to take this thing outside, from a junk shop in the mountains of Idaho, and send it on one last flight--beyond not only the grasp of human reach and reason, but of time.