We interviewed Lord-Lieutenant Peaches Golding, OBE, to hear her reflections on the Black Lives Matter movement and how it has influenced her role and aspirations for the environmental movement. We were also pleased to welcome Roger Griffith, MBE, for a virtual presentation, where he gave us an overview of some of the key moments in Bristol’s Black history. He recounted the Bristol Bus Boycott of 1963 which was a pivotal moment in improving racial equality in Britain.
Some of the instigators of the Bristol Bus Boycott – Roy Hackett, Audley Evans, and Owen Henry – still feature prominently in Bristol’s landscape today, as part of a series of murals known as the Seven Saints of St Pauls. The art trail is the work of Michele Curtis, a Bristol-based artist, and celebrates the contributions of some key figures in Bristol’s history. Here, were share their stories, as a tribute to the positive impact they made.
Roy Hackett was born in Jamaica. He moved to the UK in 1952. After living in Liverpool and London, he moved to Bristol where he faced racism unlike that experienced in other parts of the UK.
In 1965, Roy Hackett, Owen Henry, and Clifford Drummond established the Commonwealth Co-ordinated Committee now known as the Bristol West Indian Parents & Friends Association, to challenge the racist policies of the Bristol City Council and other institutions in the city. Later, this committee joined forces with other groups that had similar aims. As a united front, they challenged the discriminatory hiring practices of the Bristol Omnibus Company and organised a bus boycott. Within six months, the colour bar was lifted and Bristol’s first non-White bus conductor was hired.
In addition to Roy’s work with the Bristol West Indian Parents & Friends Association, he served as chair of the management committee for the world-famous Bamboo Club which was owned by sailor and entrepreneur Tony Bullimore and his wife Lalel. The Bamboo Club welcomed people of all backgrounds and hosted bands like Bob Marley and the Wailers.
Roy continues to live in Bristol and is a well-respected, loved, and active member of the community.
Carmen Beckford MBE
Carmen Beckford was born in Jamaica. At 17, she travelled to the UK and trained to become a nurse. Her work as a midwife kept her busy, but social activism was also important to her. In 1965, she joined the Commonwealth Co-ordinated Committee and worked alongside the other Saints of St Pauls.
In addition to her work with the Commonwealth Co-ordinated Committee, Carmen was the first Race Relations Officer in Bristol. She aimed to integrate all ethnicities within the city and build young people’s self-esteem. Carmen established a West Indian dance team and held annual fundraising events that included dance ensembles from various cultural backgrounds.
For Carmen’s work and dedication, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II awarded her an MBE in 1982. She was the first Black woman in the South West to receive such an honour. Carmen passed away on 18 May 2016.
Audley Evans was born in Jamaica. When he and his wife Delores relocated to England and settled in Bristol, Audley became active in matters of civil rights. He was a member of the West Indian Development Committee, the Commonwealth Co-ordinated Committee, and the Bristol West Indian Parents & Friends Association.
Audley’s public engagement extended beyond service to the community. He was also a sports enthusiast and member of the Bristol West Indian cricket team.
With his fellow Saints of St Pauls, Audley organized and campaigned in the Bristol Bus Boycott. In 1967, he helped establish the St. Pauls’ Festival. Shortly after this first festival, Audley and his family left the UK.
The Evans family settled in Florida where Audley started a landscaping business. He helped many people in the community, especially Haitian and Cuban immigrants, by offering them jobs. Audley passed away on 6 August 1991.
Clifford Lesseps Drummond was born in Jamaica. He and his wife Mavis moved to the UK in 1954.
Clifford was very industrious. Even while in full-time employment, he started several businesses and was involved in multiple community organisations including the Commonwealth Co-ordinated Committee, the Bristol West Indian National Association and the Bristol West Indian Parents & Friends Association, all of which he co-founded.
In addition, Clifford assisted new immigrants from Asia and the Caribbean with the legal and bureaucratic mazes of the time. He also invited speakers to Bristol to talk about matters of health such as the then little-known sickle cell disease. Clifford passed away on 26 October 2002.
The Honourable Owen Henry
Owen Henry was born in Jamaica. He was dedicated to serving his community and fighting for equal rights, and co-founded the Commonwealth Co-ordinated Committee now known as the Bristol West Indian Parents & Friends Association.
Owen was a keen observer. When he noticed a problem, he sought resolution. To combat housing discrimination, he co-founded the United Housing Association now known as United Communities. Additionally, together with Clifford Drummond, he started the first Black-owned travel agency in Bristol. In 1963, Owen spearheaded the Bristol Bus Boycott and within six months, the Bristol Omnibus Company had lifted their colour bar.
Later, Owen became a member of the Voluntary Police Liaison Committee which was set up to improve relations between the police and the community following the 1980 St Pauls riot. He was also a member of the Bristol Racial Equality Council.
In 1979, the Jamaican Prime Minister Michael Manley awarded Owen the Order of Merit (OM). He passed away on 1December 1989.
Dolores Campbell was born in Jamaica. Equality, integration, and community were important to her. With fellow Saints of St Pauls, Dolores co-founded the St. Pauls’ Festival and the United Housing Association now known as United Communities.
Dolores was a member of numerous local and national committees that supported the well-being of the young and old alike. She was the official first lady of the Commonwealth Co-ordinated Committee which later became known as the Bristol West Indian Parents & Friends Association. She also served on the sick and visiting committee. In this role, Dolores visited community members in their homes and hospitals when they were unwell.
Dolores’s deep compassion for children led her to become a foster parent. Over an 18-year period, she fostered approximately 30 children. One of these children became a permanent member of her family. Dolores passed away on 25 August 2011.
Barbara Dettering was born in British Guyana. As a social worker, Barbara dedicated her professional life to assisting others. In her personal life, she did the same.
After 50 years of community service in Bristol, Barbara remains committed to being an agent of change. She is one of the longest-serving members of the Bristol West Indian Parents & Friends Association. Many years ago, the association became aware of elderly community members, especially those within care homes, feeling isolated. Shortly after, the association formed the sick and visiting committee. Barbara has devoted many years to this committee and remains a beacon of light to many.
Like her fellow Saints of St Pauls, Barbara does not limit her community engagement to one group or cause. Barbara plays a major role in the facilitation of the Malcolm X elders group held at the Malcolm X Community Centre in St Pauls. She also co-founded the United Housing Association now known as United Communities.
In addition to her community service, Barbara is a member of ACTA Community Theatre and has performed in many productions throughout the city.
Barbara continues to live in Bristol and is a well-respected, loved, and active member of the community.
About Michele Curtis
Michele is the founder and executive director of Iconic Black Britons CIC. The collective is on a mission to increase engagement in the arts, particularly for marginalised groups. It creates inclusive pathways for young people to respect and engage with the arts and their communities whilst being inspired by tangible role models.
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