Michael Anthony Holding, former Jamaica and Windies fast bowler, now cricket commentator, has received the Freedom of the City of London in recognition of his “courageous stance against racism.”
The 66-year-old former pace bowler nicknamed “Whispering Death” due to his quiet approach to the bowling crease is also playing a new role and could easily be dubbed the “thundering voice” in the racism discussion space.
Holding spoke emotionally of the racism faced by his parents in the U.K. and his own experience while growing up and traveling the cricket circuit.
He stated that he was prompted to speak out against racism because of a black man killed in the U.S. by a white policeman.
“The killing of George Floyd changed everything,” he said.
Sharing in the honors with Holding is former England player Ebony Rainford-Brent. She is the first black woman to play for England and now, Director of Surrey Women’s Cricket.
Lord Mayor of the City of London, William Russell, said it is “entirely right to call out prejudice in all its forms.”
He also said, “Ebony and Michael have taken a courageous stand in speaking out against racism in this country and even, within their sport, in which they have both excelled.”
“The granting of the Freedom of the City of London, which it is my privilege to support wholeheartedly, recognizes how they have added their voices to the growing global movement to stamp out racism, and is given with our sincere gratitude,” Lord Mayor Russell said.
The Freedom of the City of London, which is believed to have begun in 1237, was used to enable recipients to carry out their trade. Today, people are nominated for, or apply for, the Freedom, because it offers them a link with the historic City of London and one of its ancient traditions.
The Freedom is also offered to individuals by the City of London Corporation to celebrate a significant achievement or pay tribute to their outstanding contribution to London life or public life.
Holding was part of the fearsome West Indian pace battery attack, together with Joel Garner, Andy Roberts, Sylvester Clarke, Colin Croft, Wayne Daniel, and the late Malcolm Marshall.
He took 249 Test wickets in 60 Tests, and in 102 one-day internationals, he took 142 wickets.
Holding broke the record for best bowling figures in a Test match by a West Indies bowler, 14 wickets for 149 runs (14/149). The record still stands.
Yvad Billings, Readers Bureau, Contributor
Edited by Jesus Chan
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