|Bertha Alexandrina Higgins, MBE
Former Member of the West Indies Federal Parliament
Bertha Alexandrina Higgins was an Antiguan artist, musician, politician and a former Senator in the West Indies Federation.
Early life and education
Bertha Alexandrina Henry was born in Antigua on 29 October 1889 to Roland Edward Henry and Julia Florence Henry. She was educated at the Coke Memorial College in Antigua and then attended the Durhadden School in Antigua where she specialized in the Study of Art.
She was appointed as the second principal and Art teacher at the Moravian Female Teachers Training College at Spring Gardens. In the field of Education she taught Music and Art at the Antigua Girls' High School. One of her greatest achievements towards this goal was the formation of the Antigua Art Group.
Bertha Higgins was a talented artist and musician. She was the moving spirit behind the formation of the Antigua Artists Society in the 1940’s and when the rest of Antiguan society black and white turned up their noses at the pungent odour of the raucous, unruly mob that brought the bedlam sounds of “rhythmic confusion” to the centre of commerce – Market Street; she welcomed Hells Gate Steel Band into her living room.
In 1958, Mrs. Higgins was appointed a Senator in the Parliament of the Federal Government, She was Antigua and Barbuda’s first and only female member of our Federal Parliament which was located in Trinidad.
Honours and awards
In 1960, Mrs. Higgins was honoured as a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE).
Mrs. Higgins was the window of Robert E. Higgins, who she married in St. Croix, USVI in 1921. Bertha and her two sisters, Miss Lil Henry and Miss Ella Henry all taught music at their home on St. Mary’s Street.
She was a member of the Moravian Church.
Higgins died on 17 July 1966, aged 76.
|Sen. Bertha Higgins of Antigua and Barbuda (right) and Sen. Margurite Wyke of Trinidad and Tobago (lef) observing the ornamental mace of the West Indies Federal Parliamnet (1958). [Ebony, June 1960]