The union, the city Labour establishment and the Bishop of Bristol, Oliver Stratford Tomkins, ignored Stephenson and tried to work with Bill Smith of the TGWU to resolve the dispute. It is true that London Transport employ a large coloured staff. But its most important campaign was the bus boycott. The Bristol Bus Boycott was a peaceful protest of 1963 against the discriminatory policies of the Bristol Omnibus Company. Four young West Indian men, Roy Hackett, Owen Henry, Audley Evans and Prince Brown, formed an action group, later to be called the West Indian Development Council. Pioneering, passionate and powerful, these women have helped change our city for the better. Guy Bailey, Bristol, 1963. Unite, the successor to the Transport and General Workers Union, issued an apology in February 2013. The boycott soon attracted national and international attention. Laurence Faircloth, the union’s South West secretary said of the union’s stance at the time, “It was completely unacceptable. The boycott drew national attention to racial discrimination in Britain, and the campaign was supported by national politicians, with interventions being made by church groups and the High Commissioner for Trinidad and Tobago. On 2 May local Labour Party Alderman Henry Hennessey spoke of the apparent collusion between bus company management and the TGWU over the colour bar. Andrew Hake, curator of the Bristol Industrial Mission, recalled that “The TGWU in the city had said that if one black man steps on the platform as a conductor, every wheel will stop.”, The bus workers’ concern, apart from racism, was that a new competitive source of labour could reduce their earnings. Many white Bristolians wrongly blamed the migrants for causing these poor conditions. There was a backlash by some white British which resulted in the Nottingham and Notting Hill race riots of 1958. He was denied an interview once the Company realised Bailey was in fact a Black Jamaican. The local branch of the TGWU refused to meet with a delegation from the West Indian Development Council, and an increasingly bitter war of words was fought out in the local media. Thank you for this. I still feel sad that over half a century on there are still those who do not understand that all human beings are equal. It marked a new chapter in the struggle for racial equality in Bristol and the UK. Some students and tutors from the University of Bristol staged a demonstration in the city centre in support. I think this is incorrect. Boycott What are the legacies of the Slave Trade? Explore Bristol through time: its places, its people and their stories. Learie Constantine continued with his support for the campaign, meeting with the Lord Mayor of Bristol and Frank Cousins, leader of the Transport and General Workers Union. As an exiled Bristolian, I am ashamed of the attitude of Bristol Omnibus Company in the 1960’s. The April 30 bus boycott garnered national support and disapproval. Stephenson was Bristol’s first Black youth officer. On 17 September, Raghbir Singh, a Sikh, became Bristol’s first non-white bus conductor. Most had arrived from the Caribbean after World War II. I can remember this too.being 3 years of age my mother used to take me down to the centre from our house opposite southmead hospital most days.one day we didn’t and the next and the next.I remember asking ‘ mummy why aren’t we going on the bus today” we’re not going on them until they employ black people on them’ or words to that effect…this was no metropolitan elite candyfloss but real sacrifice for good…while dad was at work as a teacher in henbury driving the only car mum was really marooned in southmead with a demanding 3 year old instead of shopping in the department stores of broadmead which she loved. Forgotten in the annals of civil rights history. The following day they claimed that none of the city’s West Indians were using the buses and that many white people supported themIn an editorial, the Bristol Evening Post pointed out that the TGWU opposed apartheid in South Africa and asked what trade union leaders were doing to counteract racism in their own ranks. They even have recruiting offices in Jamaica and they subsidise the fares to Britain of their new coloured employees. Wow! Mainland Britain faced a labour shortage and looked to its Caribbean colonies (including Jamaica and Barbados) to help fill the gap. © 2020 Bristol City Council. It was an historic victory. The boycott drew national attention to racial discrimination in Britain, and the campaign was supported by national politicians, with interventions being made by church groups and the High Commissioner for Trinidad and Tobago. We are delivering a more equal and fairer world of work. We’re gathering stories and showcasing voices that a shine light on this often hidden part of Bristol’s past. A small but growing stream of mainly young men came to Britain in the 1950s as British citizens. The second paragraph of the ‘Boycott’ section says that the action was announced on 29th April 1955 but should read 1963? The Bristol Bus Boycott was the country’s first black-led campaign against racial discrimination, and it was the beginning of the struggle for racial equality in the UK. In today’s world racism is always in the background – the eyes, cough, ‘smile’, intelligentsia summing up of this and that – “why can’t we all live together”…drivel. But it did help to pave the way for the UK’s crucial Race Relations Acts of 1965 and 1968. Racial discrimination was entirely legal in Britain right up to the late 1960s. The local newspapers were suddenly full of passionate letters both for and against the policy. The boycott against the Bristol Omnibus Company over its racist employment policy was the first black-led protest against racial discrimination in post-war Britain. We are particularly looking for adopters…, We are the public body that looks after England’s historic environment. The 1963 Bristol Bus Boycott led the Bristol Omnibus Company to change its racist policies that stopped black people from working on the buses. It may not have been so overt a part of everyday life here as it was in the USA, but that doesn’t mean that it didn’t exist in the UK. In common with other British cities, there was widespread racial discrimination in housing and employment at that time against “coloureds”. In response, Stephenson got the WIDC to call for a boycott of Bristol’s buses. As a result of this, the amount of white labour dwindles steadily on the London Underground. In addition, he went to the Bristol Omnibus Company’s parent, the Transport Holding Company, and persuaded them to send officials to talk with the union. Compiled by Dr Madge Dresser with contributions from Ros Martin and Sue Giles. The 60-day boycott of Bristol’s buses was supported by thousands of locals and eventually led to the company revoking its colour bar. When Stephenson told the company that Bailey was West Indian, the interview was cancelled. Can’t believe we didn’t learn about this in school smh. Even the Bishop of Bristol – who had never actively opposed racial discrimination on the buses – accused the WIDC of being too militant. When reporters questioned the bus company about the boycott, the general manager, Ian Patey, said: We can’t wait to see you once we’re able to reopen. A large number lived in the area around City Road in St Pauls. The Independent. Should we smash religion because it has a flawed history? They were heckled by angry busmen opposed to their protest. Bristol bus boycott: Meet the faces behind the UK's own 1963 civil rights movement. The world was changing fast following the Second World War. As spokesman, Stephenson brought the company’s racist policy to public attention. For many, it’s part of their very identity. The Bristol Bus Boycott. Support Yet the Bristol bus boycott’s crowning achievement arguably arrived two years later when Harold Wilson’s government passed the 1965 Race Relations Act, outlawing discrimination on the “grounds of colour, race, or ethnic or national origins”. it helped me with my homework! On 28 August 1963 Ian Patey announced that there would be no more discrimination in employing bus crews. This new West Indian Development Council (WIDC) soon joined forces with a young Paul Stephenson. Society at that time clearly held a different stance. Evidence suggests that the company may even have had a secret quota system still in operation. Ron Nethercott, South West Regional Secretary of the union, persuaded a local black TGWU member, Bill Smith, to sign a statement which called for quiet negotiation to solve the dispute. Prime Minister Harold Wilson, local Labour politician Tony Benn, and famous West Indian cricketer and diplomat Sir Learie Constantine all lent their support to the campaign. Constantine wrote letters to the bus company and Stephenson and spoke out against the colour bar to reporters when he attended the cricket match between the West Indies and Gloucestershire at the County Ground, which took place from the 4th to 7 May. At the time there were only about 3,000 black Bristolians. After Hong Kong: China sets sights on solving 'the Taiwan problem' The Guardian. Many have also left Bristol, crossing vast oceans to seek fortune and freedom in faraway lands. He stood with other civil rights leaders and marched through the city centre seeking to end discrimination in employment. There are many lessons to be learnt here. The Boycott has helped changed Bristol and the Britain forever. At a May Day rally, held on Sunday 6 May in Eastville, local Trades Council members publicly criticised the TGWU. And what does it mean to those whose lives it has shaped? But to those who led it, this was the UK’s own version of the civil rights movement that shook the American south. Though St Pauls was still mainly white, it was popularly seen as a ‘Black’ area. Dr Paul Stephenson organised the 1960s Bristol bus boycott which overturned a ban on people from ethnic minorities working on buses in the city. As a young social worker, in 1963 Stephenson led a boycott of the Bristol Omnibus Company, protesting against its refusal to employ Black or Asian drivers or conductors. They suffered discrimination in housing and employment, and some encountered violence from Teddy Boy gangs of white British youths. On this march Bristol University students and lecturers joined both Black and White Bristolians to support the campaign in a march which went down Park Street. I will not apologise because times were different. In April 1963, Guy walked into the offices of the state-owned Bristol … It was considered by … He said his hands were tied as his staff were not willing to work with ‘coloured labour’ except in the depots as maintenance workers. This is the old, stale, quiet, backroom, side of mouth to the masses racism that is really dangerous. Constantine was then serving as High Commissioner for Trinidad and Tobago. From artists to activists, from councillors to carnivalistas, these are names you need to know. My father was about then. On the same day Paul Stephenson had organised a demonstration march to St Mary Redcliffe church, but there was a poor turnout. We aim to ensure that every…, Community is a union for everyone. Tempers ran high and the union that represented the bus workers publicly clashed with Stephenson. He was born in Essex to a West African father and an English mother of mixed ancestry. Bailey and Hackett were also awarded OBEs. Share. When thinking about how he might expose the Bristol Omnibus Company’s discriminatory hiring practices on the buses, Stephenson recalled the 1955-1956 Montgomery, Alabama, bus boycott and how it successfully inflicted economic pressure on the city and brought national attention to … They did not use the word uppity, as they might have in the USA, but the message is the same: protest, of course, that is your right, but not like that…. The campaign’s success did not mean that racial tensions, institutional racism and inequality ended on the buses or elsewhere in Bristol. Should we despise Germany and Japan for world wars. One of their foremost grievances was the colour bar operated by the Bristol Omnibus Company, which had been a nationalised company owned by the British government since 1950, and operated through the Transport Holding Company. That’s three…, The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) prosecutes criminal cases that have been investigated by the police and other investigative…, Clifford Chance offers you the opportunity to join a global law firm with one of the most pre-eminent…, We are a thriving, multi-campus coastal university delivering innovative career-focused courses at undergraduate and postgraduate degree level and…, Busy Bees Early Years Training Academy is a national training provider specialising in providing high quality training across…, Adoption Is now the right time for you to adopt with Southwark? Had a big effect on me.until the UK can do this without apportioning blame for historic wrongs on current generations it will remain in a bad space. I deplore the fact that there was institutionalised racism and am amazed at how the perpetrators got away with it. The Montgomery bus boycott was a political and a social protest campaign against the policy of racial segregation on the public transit system of Montgomery, Alabama.It was a seminal event in the civil rights movement in the United States. Nethercott launched an attack on Stephenson in the Daily Herald newspaper, calling him dishonest and irresponsible. Bristol University students who supported the boycott were harassed and attacked in public. So proud of these people from my local big city that I even wrote a song about it. It was in April 1963 that Mr Hackett, now 92, led the Bristol bus boycott. The Bristol Omnibus Company was privately-owned and its workers belonged to the Transport and General Worker’s Union. We must all be judged by what comes next, not by what history we have. The flow of people joining and leaving Bristol has helped make our city what it is. This is british and Bristolian history and an event to be memorialised. Inspired by the Montgomery Bus Boycott, a group of West Indians in Bristol, England, organized a boycott of the Bristol Omnibus Company for its refusal to employ Black drivers for its buses. The boycott lasted for … Image: HMT EMPIRE WINDRUSH © IWM (FL 9448). With pressure growing on the Bristol Omnibus Company, it was finally forced to end its ‘colour bar’ in August 1963. This really helped with my homework and helped me generate improve on starting interesting conversations with my Dad, The secret of success is to work harder than others every day, can someone explain what were the consequences of this, struggling with my homework ;/, It is telling that the Bristol Council of Churches complained about “…a small group of West Indians professing to be representative”. What’s on at Bristol Museum & Art Gallery, Winter lecture: colour in science and art, Home Educator webinar: Anglo-Saxons & Bristol, Archaeology online: the Neanderthal archaeology of La Cotte de St Brelade and the La Manche region, Wildlife Photographer of the Year: a virtual tour with chair of the jury Roz Kidman-Cox, A small but growing stream of mainly young men came to Britain in the 1950s as British citizens, Black and White on the Buses (PDF 18.5MB), Download the 2013 version of Black and White on the Buses (PDF 3MB), 19 Black Bristol women who've made a difference, Black and British: A Forgotten History by David Olusoga, Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History, Find a fuller story of the Bristol Bus Boycott by Dr Madge Dresser – download. ‘Windrush’ is a term used to describe the mass migration of people invited from the Caribbean colonies into Great Britain, just after the Second World War. In line with Government guidance, all our venues are now closed and all future bookings have been cancelled. Otherwise thank you for an enlightened article. Sky video. sttudy and knowledgе. I agree, we should learn more about discrimination in our own country. I didn’t learn anything at school about black history either. We explored race relations in Bristol around the time of the boycott, and why its legacy continues to resonate so strongly today. Led by youth worker Paul Stephenson and the West Indian Development Council, the boycott of the company’s buses by Bristolians lasted for four months until the company backed down and overturned the colour bar. The decendents of the Mongols, have they got to pay for their atrocities? Huгrah! The company went along with the resolution and national union officers turned a blind eye to it. Experience 400 years of history in Bristol’s secret treasure. He argued the quality of Bristol’s Black workers was too low for the front-line jobs of drivers and conductors. Stephenson later successfully sued for libel. – https://open.spotify.com/album/6EBC2Hm9HU3ZBH3bR4j08Q. Explore your history through 800 years of documents, letters, diaries, photos and film. thank you for this. Tony Benn, Fenner Brockway and former cricketer Learie Constantine also condemned the bus company. It marked a new chapter in the struggle for racial equality in Bristol and the UK. A month after the company conceded, it hired Sikh graduate Raghbir Singh as Bristol’s first bus conductor of colour. He put forward a well-qualified and well-spoken young man named Guy Bailey for a vacancy as a bus conductor.
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