Anthony Rawley. If you look up the definition of the word overachiever, you’d see the perfect description of Anthony Rowley. A man who’s made his way to America at the age of 10, traveling from New York, Maryland, and now to South Carolina. Rawley always knew as a child that he wanted to leave the islands and settle in the United States. So, when he finally got the opportunity to live out his dream, he went in full throttle.
When Rawley was a child, he knew that Saint Michaels, Barbados was not where he wanted to reside. Yes, he loved his hometown, but he always knew that there was something better and bigger for him elsewhere. “Ever since he was about 10 years old, Anthony would always tell me, ‘Aunt Cinthia, I want to move to America,’” said Rawley’s aunt Cinthia Rawley. “I want to know what it’s like to live there.” Rawley always had an infatuation with America from what he saw on television and the music he heard growing up. So, when he found out he wasn’t the only one from his family who had plans on moving to the states, he realized his dream was finally about to come true.
Rawley remembers clearly the day he first came to America with his family. He wasn’t much of a fan of America, as he recalls, because it wasn’t the easiest place to adjust to. “Everything was new; the pace was a little more faster, the availability of things to eat, drink and do was much more,” said Rawley. “I didn’t know what to expect when I came here, but having family made it easier.” Getting adjusted to the culture in America wasn’t something Rawley took much interest in, and the people here didn’t make that journey a more pleasant one either. “I thought I was smarter than them,” he said. And he thought he was friendlier.
“And I was braver than them, because I found out that a lot of American people never even flew in a plane.” Rawley felt like a lot of Americans were taking the advantages and opportunities that they had for granted, by not exploring the world and seeing how beautiful it was outside of their own state. It took him time to get used to the people here and their ways, but eventually after a few years, he would later begin to figure them out.
“Now, I no longer feel like I’m braver or smarter than them. What I’ve come to terms with and what I recognize now is that, they recognize me for who I am,” said Rawley.
When asked Tyria Brown, a friend of Rawley, what it’s like knowing him since she met him here in South Carolina, she said, he has been a pleasure to get to know. “Anthony was someone I’ve always admired as a human being,” said Brown. I just look at him and see how far he’s come, from the stories he’s told me. He’s a very determined individual who’s all about his money and trying to become a better person than he was yesterday. Every time I see him, he has a smile on his face and he’s talking about trying to better himself. There’s never a dull moment with him.” University of South Carolina senior student Xavier Mills felt the same. “I met Mr. Anthony my first year here at USC, and he’s always been a kind and hardworking guy, from what I’ve known,” said Mills. He would buy me food when I didn’t have the money and he was always that guy there for me whenever I needed someone to talk to. The best advice he ever gave me was, ‘You’re living, you’re healthy, you have life. Don’t ever let anyone steal your joy. Create your joy and experience it in its entirety.’ And that was always something that stuck with me.”
Even though Rawley’s goal was always to be super happy and positive about life, the adjustment of everything in America took a toll on him. But not because he missed home and wanted to go back, but because it was so out of the ordinary for him. He just needed time. It came from growing up in Barbados where the people were complete opposites in the way they carried themselves and the prices of goods were extremely different from what they were in America. It was definitely a battle that had its pros and cons, for sure. “The cost of living in the islands was too high, so when my parents chose to move to America for a better life, I was happy to make those changes,” said Rawley.
Even though America and Barbados have their differences as countries, Rawley couldn’t help but notice the similarities in them as well. “The composition of the people in America and the people back home in my country is that, y’all call America a melting pot, but… Barbados is a bigger melting pot than y’all,” said Rawley. “And we live more together with different nationalities and different types of people. We live with Chinese people, the Indian people, the Hispanics, and we’re more accepting of them because they are who we are. We have two parties in American government, it’s like Democrat and Republican, just like here. But the Republicans are made up of Indians, Chinese, and all those types of people. So, they have a say in government also, a bigger say than in America.
As Rawley looks up in the sky and smile while admitting how much he loves it here in America and has no desire to go back to Barbados, he says, “In conclusion, I can say that the west indies and Caribbean people are more inclusive, because we were founded and independent from the English, which America was. But we’re more accepting of other nationalities.”