July 12, 2022
Russell Levi Pearman
Furniture Craftsman, Realtor, Antiques Dealer, Parliamentarian
1908 - 1994
In 1938, Russell Levi Pearman became the first black person to travel by air from Bermuda, but he made his mark in countless other ways. He was a furniture craftsman, antiques dealer and auctioneer, who ran his business on Court Street.
He was a Member of Colonial Parliament (MCP) from 1948 to 1958, representing Smith’s, and was a vocal critic of segregation. When he was re-elected to Parliament in 1953, he was one of a record number of black candidates elected to the 36-seat House up to that point. Shortly after the new Parliament convened, he proposed a commission to address racial inequality. The 1953 Interracial Committee was the first of its kind and resulted in black nurses being allowed to work at King Edward VII Memorial Hospital. In the 1960s, he became one of the first black members of the United Bermuda Party.
A keen sportsman, he played Eastern Counties cricket for Flatts Victoria Club, and was an influential member of Blue Waters Anglers Club. It was through his efforts that the club was able to acquire its waterfront property on East Broadway in 1964.