The Grenada Revolution Online

McGodden Kerensky "Cacademo" Grant
[1917-1982]

<McGodden Kerensky 'Cacademo' Grant
Photo, Fedon Publishers

McGodden Kerensky "Cacademo" Grant was born 16 July 1917 in Gouyave, the son of Charles Augustus Grant who started the first Working Men and Women's Association with T. Albert Marryshow.

Grant attended the St. John's Primary School and later the Grammar School in St. George's for 3 years. There, according to Brathwaite, "he became a keen sportsman and excelled in the field of football and cricket. He emerged as the 'outstanding back' on the Gouyave football team for years, and was considered a good 'opening bowler' in cricket." While at the Grammar School, Grant lived on Tyrrel Street with T. Albert Marryshow, in the Marryshow House that exists to this day.

Known as a dynamic and witty public speaker and a person who knew his history, Grant began his experience conveying his ideas through words and debate through the St. John's Literary League.

In 1931 at the age of 14, young Grant urged his friends in the Literary League to join the Working Men and Women's Association. His persuasiveness stood him in good stead during the organizing years to come.

Grant relates, in the Fedon publication "In the Spirit of Butler," this interesting story:

My father was responsible for the first big strike in our country, on the Brothers' Estate. The people struck there because they were in disagreement with the management, who had stopped giving them gardens. But when Marryshow came in on the side of the workers, he won them the right to buy government lands for their gardens in Plaisance and Mount Nesbit, for three dollars an acre. Marryshow also worked for the people in town, organising the building of workers' houses opposite his own house in Tyrrel Street, which was called 'The Rosary', and also down near the Carenage, next to where the Empire Theatre is now. They had to pay three dollars a month for twelve years, and after that the houses would be theirs.

After leaving school and with an unsuccessful attempt at an agricultural post with the government, Grant managed the acres leased by his father. Like others of his generation, Grant left Grenada in 1941 for Trinidad. He was 24 years old.

It was in Trinidad, while working in plumbing on the oilfields in La Brea that Grant came in contact with labor leader of the Oilfields Workers Trade Union, none other than Tubal Uriah "Buzz" Butler. Butler was in prison on Five Islands when Grant arrived, but he and his fellows from the oilfields and Fyzabad community got busy with agitating for Butler's release which occurred in 1946.

Grant returned to Grenada in 1960 upon the death of his mother. He decided to remain and live a life close to the ground, close to the lives of other agricultural workers. He worked on the Lorretto and Belvidere estates. He wanted to be a worker, not an owner.

His first 'Bombshell Speech' - as is the term - was in 1973 at a NJM meeting in Concord. Because of the story Grant told within the speech, this oratory became known as the "Root of the Picket" speech.

'Demo', as he was known by then, became National Chairman of the New JEWEL Movement (NJM) Council of Delegates, conducted meetings and organized for others to join the NJM. He worked from house to house; the Gairyite areas of Birchgrove, St. Patrick's, St. Mark's and the West Coast. Many of those gatherings brought conflict with Gairy's forces.

During the time of the People's Revolutionary Government (PRG), Grant was in his early 60s. He worked with the militia and continued his schedule of meeting attendance. 'Demo' told his witty story of the "Red Ant in Reagan's Eye," to admiring audiences.

According to the Grenada Newsletter, 'Demo' was official platform chairman during the tragic Bomb Blast:

"He began his address and was speaking for just over 11 minutes when, at 3:05 p.m., the bomb exploded - est. 1,000 persons in pavillion building."

This was the Butler-Strachan rally 19 June 1980 at Queen's Park where three girls were killed and over 100 people injured. Major Events

At the age of sixty-six, on 16 December 1982, McGodden Kerensky "Cacademo" Grant died, to be buried at a well-attended ceremony of friends and family. Prime Minister Maurice Bishop laid a wreath on his grave.

     

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