Pearl, our first Trini beauty
It is wonderful that you (Trinbagonians) remember the beautiful ladies who made Trinbagonians proud.
When I read these tributes, I think of Pearl Marshall-Beard. I know it's been a long time, but this woman stood alone, at a time when it was really difficult to be a black woman in the world. Even T&T with its so-called equality. Determined to tell the system — home and abroad, I am black and I am beautiful, and no one is going to make me feel less than I am.
I have never seen that beautiful face on a T&T stamp — much less her name on a plane — offering gratitude to Pearl for her historical venture and sacrifice for her country, Trinidad and Tobago. No service or assistance they (government and others) asked of her— to my knowledge. Did she ever refuse? Marshall was always ready to serve her country! Even during the war!
And, if you think Janelle "Penny'' Commissiong had to deal with some measure of racism, Marshall got the whole rod. But she kept on!
Take a look at her life, dig into your archives, starting with the Carnival Queen competition, (the first black woman to enter...talk about pressure!). You may agree that Marshall deserves to be remembered in the on-going tributes given by Trinbagonians, as one of those who paved the way to a better society for all.
I will always think of Pearl Marshall-Beard as the first Trini beauty...who remained a beautiful black woman, to the end.
Editor's note: Pearl Marshall-Beard was Trinidad and Tobago's first black flight attendant. She was hired in 1956, when BWIA, was a subsidiary of BOAC.
In 1957, Marshall became the first black flight attendant ever to land on American soil. She died in 2006.