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Boston's Trinidad style Carnival: Founded 1973 by Ken Bonaparte Mitchell 1942-2008

Carnival Dates

Kiddies Carnival
Sunday, August 18, 2013
King & Queen Show
Thursday, August 22, 2013
Jouvert Cruise
Friday, August 23, 2013
Jouvert / Parade
Saturday, August 24, 2013
Ali's Roti, 1188 Blue Hill Ave, Mattapan, MA ~ 617.298.9850

Founder: Boston Carnival Village Online - Mr. Michael C. Smith

Michael founded Leonard Communication several years ago when he published "Caribbean Voice Magazine". In addition to his interest in publishing, he is an avid photographer. Michael has been photographing Boston's Trinidad Style Carnival for over 15 years.  He has also photographed interesting sites around New England as well as locations across the USA.  Michael enjoys many hours listening to music. He is currently working on his second photography exhibition -- "Steelpan University".

Michael was invited to join the Caribbean American Carnival Association in 1997, and served two years as as recording secretary and helped with the annual operations for the next eight years. Upon leaving the organization, he organized and conducted the first survey on Boston Carnival in 2005 and published the results (Boston Carnival: Photographic Essay and Survey). Additionally,  he also did the first photography exhibition on Boston Carnival entitled "Streets of Color"; and was instrumental in organizing the first "behind the scenes" interview with WCVB TV Channel 5 Newscaster, Pam Cross. Michael was featured on Urban Update on WHDH TV Channel 7- Host: Alberto Vasallo III where he and other guests spoke about Boston's Trinidad Style carnival and the need for support and sponsors. He was also a guest on City Line with Karen Holmes Ward WCVB TV5 , Boston

Today,  Michael continues to promote Boston Carnival and seeks sponsors for the bandleaders, he also the publisher of  Boston Carnival Village magazine and author/webmaster of this website. Michael graduated in 1983 from Northeastern University in Boston with a Bachelor of Science degree in Electronic Engineering.

Boston Carnival Time Line:

Boston’s Trinidad Style carnival is celebrated in August, the weekend before Labor Day, and starts on Martin Luther King Boulevard in Roxbury, MA and travels about 1.2 miles to Franklin Park in Dorchester, MA. Judging of the bands typically takes place in front of the Franklin Park Zoo; the Village market place is located here.

boston carnival founders


• The parade left City Hall at 10:00am and headed down Tremont Street to Park Street about one mile. August, 1973
• Red Joe from “21 Steel band” participated in the first carnival.
• 40 American students from a modeling agency located on Boylston & Tremont Streets participated in the first band. It was called “African Fantasy”. Costumes were designed and assembled by Ken Bonaparte Mitchell.

When members of the Caribbean community saw that the carnival parade took place the following year, 1974, these people got involved:
• Carlton King - aka Trojan horse
• Kevin Griffith – Silver stars Steel Orchestra
• Frank Najim – DJ

In 1975, involvement grew and included individuals, such as Ansyl Niles (Trinidad) aka Mice and other Steel bands.

In 1976, some changes were made to the celebration-- they moved the parade from City Hall Plaza to Franklin Park and changed the Association’s name from "Trinidad and Tobago Carnival Development Committee" to the "Caribbean American Carnival Day Association". The renaming was done to include all people of the Caribbean. A new charter was also signed by Jerry Harewood (Barbados), Frank Thomas (St. Lucia) and Ken Bonaparte Mitchell (President). Fritz Felix (Haiti) who was also recruited in 1976 was very instrumental in the plans for continuation of the Carnival.

In 1977 or 1978 Ken Bonaparte Mitchell ran for State Representative Mass General Court district 15 Dorchester and turned over the operational aspects of Carnival to both Edward Harry and Sebastian Joseph.

Source: Ken Bonaparte Mitchell founder Boston Carnival 1942 - 2008

President Island of Origin Term
Ken Bonaparte Mitchell (1942 - 2008) Trinidad 1973 - 1977 (5 years) Founder
Sebastian Joseph (1921 - 2010) Trinidad 1978 - 1990 (13 years)
Shirley Shillingford Jamaica 1991 - 1993 (3 years)
Clive Trail Jamaica 1994 (1 year)
Shirley Shillingford Jamaica 1995 - 2013 (18 years)

Source: Leonard Communication © 2000 Michael C. Smith