Born Tubal Uriah Butler on the 21st of January 1897 in St Georges Grenada , he has been described as a religious, upright, outspoken, activist by most accounts. By the age of 17, Butler enlisted in the British army during the first world war due to the fact that he could find no work after completing his primary school education. His parents could not provide the finances for Butler to further his education so the regiment became the only other option. Therefore at a young age Butler was exposed to the inequalities of the social system under the rule of the British imperialists. In 1918, Butler returned from service to the military and became very active in political pressure groups and workers unions, two of which he established himself ( The Grenada Representative Government Movement, and The Grenada Union of Returned Soldiers).
Butler migrated to Trinidad in 1921, employed as a pipe-fitter in the oilfields. His expertise in organization and political agitation quickly surfaced as he pitted against the ills of the British Crown Colony System and joined Captain Arthur Cipriani in his struggle to obtain constitutional reform, universal suffrage, and improved workers’ rights.
Major contributions attributed to Butler are the 1935 Hunger March, the 1937 Oilfield Riots, and the formation of Trade Union (Oilfield Workers Trade Union) and Political Parties (The Butler Party, Citizen’s Home Rule Party,) which lobbied for reform in political and social life of citizens of Trinidad and Tobago. Uriah Butler sensitized the ‘normal citizen to the harsh realities of the corrupt government system of colonial rule and thus ignited within citizens that desire for self-rule and independence from Britain.
Butler has been credited with being a pivotal actor in the realizing of Independence for Trinidad and Tobago in 1962. As such, in 1970 he had been awarded the Trinity Cross which is the country’s highest award in recognition of his contribution to independence.