Keeping History Alive: Cleveland Eneas III Talks About Bain Town


In this exclusive interview, we sit down with Cleveland Eneas III to delve into the rich history and cultural significance of his grandfather's renowned book, Bain Town. As the grandson of Dr. Cleveland Eneas Sr., Cleveland Eneas III shares personal insights and reflections on how this seminal work has impacted the Bahamian community and preserved the heritage of one of Nassau's most storied neighborhoods. Join us as we explore the legacy of Bain Town through the eyes of its proud descendant.

1. What are your earliest memories of your grandfather, Dr. Cleveland Eneas Sr.?

There are many memories, but my earliest memories are sitting at the dinner table with he and my grandmother.

Those were always special moments where I could be a fly on the wall and 'listen to big people talk':)
2. How old were you when you first read “Bain Town”?

I think I was about 10-12 years old. My grandfather gave me like $5 for completing the read:)
3. How has your appreciation for the book developed over time?

Every time I read the book I learn something new and connect new dots, because I always have new questions that the book answers.
4. In your opinion, how has the book contributed to our understanding of Bahamian history and culture?

I think it keeps us connected to our African heritage and reminds us of what a community looked like, then as opposed to now.
5. Can you share any personal stories or anecdotes about Dr. Cleveland Eneas Sr. that highlight his personality and character?

My grandfather was an even tempered person. He worked hard and played hard.

Some of my favorite memories are of him taking me to buy my school books each year. He always encouraged me and told me how great I was and would be.

One story that comes to mind is a story of he and one of his classmates from University seeing each other after a long time.

My grandfather and he "talked more foolishness" than I had ever experienced before from him lol.

It let me know that it was more than OK to "talk fool" from time to time, because when my grandfather was working he was very focused, but always found the humor in everything and always cared for the well-being of his people.
6. How did your family preserve and honor the legacy of "Bain Town" and its impact on Bahamian culture and history?

When I was a early teen my grandfather told me as we were passing each other on a stairway in his house "you have to finish my writings".

When he passed away I knew I had to put his book Bain Town back in print along with his other books, which I am in the process of doing now.

But the way we preserve and honor the legacy is by keeping the book in print and also sending it to African and Caribbean countries by way of the dignitaries, professors, and people we meet, so that the story is known by our people globally.
7. Have you seen any specific ways in which "Bain Town" has influenced the community or the broader society in The Bahamas?

It's hard to quantify specific ways, but I must say that the book is used as a reference point in many conversations and even dissertations as the story of the Bahamas is told.

The influence, I feel, is more subconscious as I look at the community and country today, though there are people in Bain Town like the 'Eneas Street' community that go above and beyond to keep the community of Bain Town alive and well by way of the many festivals and events they have all year round, Bridgette Seymour and others are huge participants in this effort.

Rev. Dr. C.B. Moss is also a remnant of this legacy's influence in that he keeps the memory of the old Bain Town alive through his church, Mt. Olive Baptist, along with his civic duties; all things well known in Bain Town.

These examples stand out the most even though there are others.
8. Are there any aspects of your grandfather’s life or work that you feel are not well-known but should be?

I think his work as a family man, even though documented, could never truly be appreciated.

The effort he and my grandmother, Muriel Eneas, put into raising three awesome children, outside of their official accomplishments as physicians etc. cannot be expressed enough as my Aunt Dr. Agreta Eneas-Carey and late Father and Uncle, Dr. Cleveland W. Eneas Jr and Dr. Judson Eneas respectively were and are simply AWESOME people.

Just to be around them was and is JOY!

The love and happiness that exudes from my Aunt Agreta was only magnified when she was with her brothers.

Their ability to live life through constant adversity is a SKILL my grandparents passed on to them that cannot be expressed enough.

My grandfather led his family like his father before him, like his father before him etc etc. all the way back to Nigeria and before.

The ability to raise a family with his wife is my grandfather's greatest skill and accomplishment, because while he could not pass on his degrees and civic accomplishments to my siblings, cousins and I, THIS skill was placed firmly into our grasp as we raise our families and make our impact on the wider community to extend this great Yoruba legacy that we received from our grandfather.
9. What do you hope future generations will learn or take away from reading "Bain Town"?

I pray that future generations will learn the importance of seeking out their ancestry and recording it for future generations.

This is a tool that ultimately rids us of self-doubt and empowers us to once again harnest our true genetic power so that we may once again control our destiny as a people.
10. Are there any other works or projects by Dr. Cleveland Eneas Sr. that you think people should be aware of?


"Let The Church Roll On"

Will be back in print by the end of the year!
It gives so much context and history of not only the church in The Bahamas, but also general political and civic history as well.
I'm looking forward to seeing it on the shelves of Black Food for the holidays!
11. How do you feel about the ongoing interest and restocking of "Bain Town" at bookstores like Black Food Bookstore & Culture Shop?

I'm always excited to know that my grandfather's book Bain Town is in demand.

It let's me know that the spirit of the Bain Town community is still alive and well and that it's influence is still helping to shape the Bahamas we know today.
12. Are there any other outlets where people can purchase the book?

The books have sold so quickly that another print is scheduled in the fall.

At present I have been keeping up with orders and look to have them in more stores at the end of the year.

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