GROW PURPOSE Profile: Rhoda Green

Rhoda Green is the founder and visionary of the Barbados and Carolina Legacy Foundation. She has been instrumental in building on the connections of shared heritage and creating relationships and opportunities that have benefited both the island of Barbados and the state of South Carolina.

She has had a tremendous effect on my own career path. When I first came to Charleston, SC over 20 years ago, I knew very little about it. Then I saw an add in the Charleston City Paper about the Barbados Carolina Connection event. I had only been in the city for a few days. My family is from the Caribbean. My mother was born and raised in Barbados. My grandfather, TT Lewis, was an influential Barbadian politician. As a champion for education and the working classes, he helped the island gain a 99% literacy and helped to found the how the government. He had died before I was born. A book had just come out about his life called “White Rebel: The Life and Times of TT Lewis” by Gary Lewis (a distant cousin). When I met with the visitors from Barbados at the event in the Charleston Gaillard auditorium after only being in town for a few days, I became an instant celebrity as “TT Lewis’s Grandson”. I learned a lot about my grandfather from people who had known him that were visiting Charleston. I also learned about the the shared heritage between the Carolinas and Barbados. I was introduced to Rhoda, who was very kind and welcoming me to the city.

This event inspired me to study more about the history of Charleston and the Caribbean. The more I learned, the more intrigued I became. The knowledge led me to uncover many little known stories and connections and gave me a better understanding of the United States, the South, and the island. I combined this knowledge with my studies of local flora and fauna at the Cape Romain Wildlife Refuge and became heavily involved in education and tourism founding organizations, taking part in conservation efforts, and building on what I learned.

Through the time, Rhoda and I have become close friends. It has been her, single-minded passion to keep the story alive that has led to the creation of the BCLF website and events that have taken place over the years. She is the honorary consulate for Barbados and has helped with the Twinning of Speightstown with Charleston. She continues to work to build on the legacy. We in Charleston and Barbados have a lot to thank Rhoda for. She will no doubt, continue to be an advocate for the heritage tourism and building the relationship. We members of the diaspora, will be there with her.

 – Ian

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