The following story of how Shirley Howard, the first Bahá’í in St Vincent , was taken from an interview of her by Pat Paccassi in 1987.
PP: Shirley, let’s start on some basics here. How did you become a Bahá’í?
SH: Well, it was in 1963. I traveled to Grenada to meet my mother and brother who was there for some time. When I got to Grenada I met my mother attending some meeting, and she said they were Bahá’í meetings. She became a Bahá’í in Grenada.
PP: In what year?
SH: I’m not certain what year she became a Bahá’í, but I attended these meetings with her and there I met Winston Evans, who I understood, was the pioneer in Grenada for that time. They kept meetings every Thursday, and I went to one of those meetings and I began to read the books and said the prayers. Winston Evans kept telling me, “Shirley, I want to do something for you before you get back to St. Vincent. I kept on wondering what is this something? Then I was about to leave Grenada, and I attended Naw-Rúz. It was in 1964. Naw Ruz was held – As a matter of fact, Mr. Evans was staying in Dorothy Baker’s house at Grand Anse Beach. At Naw-Rúz 1964 I became a Bahá’í. I then left Grenada after that to come back to St. Vincent. Winston Evans left Grenada two days after that back to the U.S.A.
I came to St. Vincent and had a prayer book with me from Winston Evans. I shared this with close neighbours, relatives and friends.
Then I got a letter from – it was then the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States asking me to be a pioneer to St. Vincent. I then wrote back and said that I was a Vincentian and I was just returning home from Grenada.
Then a few people became interested – George Howard, for one, and a few other names. I wrote to them and they sent me some copies of prayer books, which I distributed. I had in my possession then The Divine Art of Living and Paris Talks, a prayer book and Thief in the Night given to me by Winston Evans. These four copies – the only things I had in my possession – I shared with the friends.
George Howard then became a Bahá’í. They sent us prayer books and then they sent us other books.