Barbados: King Dyal – the activist remembered

From the Barbados Advocate . . .

“You don’t know I was the man responsible for the riots? The 1937 riots, I was solely responsible for it,” said Redvers Dundonald ‘King’ Dyal.
Many know of his colourful suits and air of supremacy but few know of the role that King Dyal played in bringing about social change in Barbados.
From research, it was found that on numerous occasions King Dyal told his story of how he educated the masses, empowering them with his speech, propelling them to act to facilitate a change in the segregated and oppressed Barbados.
King Dyal said he was approached and invited to be a platform speaker along with persons like Clement Payne during the period of unrest. He said in a recorded interview, “The title of the speech was ‘Love ye one another’. The only thing Black people have never done is like one another. That is the failure of Blacks. They do not like themselves.”
So he spoke motivational words to the vast crowd of persons gathered at Tweedside Road, the Thursday night before the riots commenced.
He said, “They heard I was the speaker and they came to hear me speak. And I said there is no other God but the God of love that exists within the hearts of mankind. I also said that if a man loves God and does not live to the standard of what He says there is no God in his living.
“When the thing came to a real point, all the papers said that I had preached sedition and that I had said there is no God. I had 17 charges against me. More than all the other politicians who spoke at the various meetings.”
A few nights after his speech had created a buzz, King Dyal said that he had to address a crowd of anxious listeners at Lower Green apologetically saying, “I have been instructed by the Inspector General of Police not to speak at tonight’s meeting. […] That angered the crowd and the crowd of a few hundred left the meeting and went up the Wharf, down the Pierhead, straight up Bay Street where it was alleged that the Government had Clement Payne.”
Dyal was not pro Black he admitted, rather he asserted, “I was just black and had a liking for both Black and White.”
Many may not believe or have ever found a way to justify and credit Dyal with his believed significant role in bringing about change but he never held any expectations of the Barbadian society. The misunderstood man, understood the people.
“The Black people won’t do nothing for me. If people don’t like you, they don’t like you,” said King Dyal, one of the most colourful characters in Barbados’ history and possibly an activist of greatest significance.

For the original report go to

Painting of King Dyal by Aubrey Cummings from

3 thoughts on “Barbados: King Dyal – the activist remembered

  1. I remembered KING DYAL as a boy growing up in chapman lane, he used to play dominoes under the light next to my home. I found him to be a very honest, and up-standing gentleman, proud of what he stood for, and of himself. He was a non-violent, knowledgable, and very colorful man. Although he was heckle, and made fun of, by some ignorant folks, he never seem to held a grudge, or show any fear in expressing his views. In my opinion King Dyal was a hero in every sense of the word.

    Malcolm Austin

  2. I have always wondered how a man who worked for one day in his life managed to travel widely and eat well. A pity he did not leave a book on the subject.

  3. Since last year, I began to do some research on this amazing man King Dyal…I realize their is so much history about him, it is truly sad his true story was never told…for years, I thought he was just a character who owned a number of colourful suits…and made appearances at cricket. He is definitely a Hero.

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