She was only four when she asked her family if she could dance in the parades, inspired by her uncle, Ivern Bosfield, who helped convince the government to bring the festival back after it was banned in the 1940s to the aftermath of a riot.
“It wasn’t something the ‘right’ people were doing back then,” she said. “There was a social stigma attached to it and especially when it came to women. But my family thought it was cute that I took after him. And they allowed me to do that, and the rest. as they say is history. “
She converted her childhood home in downtown Nassau to the Educulture Junkanoo Museum that teaches visitors about the festival and its roots. To walk in the museum, it is to follow the history of Junkanoo, in particular the evolution of its costumes.
“In the old days, costumes were made from native materials. Sponge, leaves, feathers, palm branches. Anything we could find,” she said. “Eventually, paper became the main medium for costumes, which for me is very important because Africans were not allowed to learn to read and write.”
The history of Junkanoo is deeply linked to the history of the country’s slavery. Although the origins of its name are disputed, the days of celebration of Boxing Day and New Year’s Day correspond to the only days that slaves were given a break from their forced labor.
According to Ferguson, what they did those days was an act of resistance.