July 12, 2022
Wesley LeRoy Tucker, CBE
Businessman; Parliamentarian who fought for voting rights
1907 - 1963
W. L. Tucker was hailed as the ‘Father of the Franchise Bill’ for the part he played in the long struggle to win full voting rights for all Bermudians.
W. L. Tucker, a prominent businessman, was a Member of Parliament, the first black member of the Executive Council and the first black president of the Bermuda Employers Council.
In 1958, he brought a bill to Parliament that sought to give adults who were not property owners the right to vote. Appointed chairman of a parliamentary committee, W.L.Tucker led the bill through Parliament over four difficult years and as his health declined.
The bill, which became law in December 1962, fell short of what Tucker and his fellow black parliamentarians wanted, but it led to all adults over age 25 getting full voting rights, ahead of a May 1963 election.
In June 1963, one month after that historic election, he became the first black Bermudian awarded an CBE. In August of that year, he died at age 56.