This month Dynamic Print wanted to highlight some shocking but sadly true facts for Octobers Black History month.
West Indian Soldiers in 1st World War
After being enslaved for 5 centuries, West Indians were asked to support Britain in the 1st world war. There was a shared belief that they would be allowed a better life situation.
The contributions of the 15,204 men who served in the British West Indies Regiment have been forgotten in the UK’s remembrance of the Great War.
They weren’t allowed to fight alongside white soldiers and faced racism from their comrades and enemy soldiers alike. They carried out dangerous jobs such as loading ammunition, laying telephone wires, and digging trenches.
There is evidence that some also saw combat.
Caribbean Soliders in World War II
In spite of racism, black people from across the British Empire came forward to help fight during World War 11. Many volunteered to be civilian defence workers, such as firewatchers, air-raid wardens, firemen, stretcher-bearers first aid workers and mobile canteen personnel. It is estimated that 10,000 men and women from the Caribbean come to the UK to help with the war effort.
The Commonwealth Immigrants Act in 1962
In 1962 the Conservative government acted on the growing issue of racism by creating the Commonwealth Immigrants Act, which restricted the immigration rights commonwealth citizens had been granted in the 1948 British Nationality Act,
In 1964, the Conservatives party’s slogan during their general election was “if you want a nigger for a neighbour, vote Labour.”
The Bristol Bus Boycott – in 1963
In 1963, members of the black community supported by many of their white neighbours refused to use the Bristol Bus service until the service stopped hiring people based on their colour.
After 4 months, the bus company relented. The Victory proved a milestone, overturning the ban on ethnic minorities working on Bristols buses and marking a significant step towards the UK’s first laws against racial discrimination.
The 1980’s Decade of Firsts
In 1981, Moira Stuart became the 1st Black woman newsreader on TV.
In 1986 saw the incitement to the Racial Hatred Act, which made an offence to use threatening or insulting words or behaviour with the intent to stir up racial hatred in the street or public speech.
In 1987, Black History Month was made a fixture in the UK.
In 1988, Naomi Campbell became the 1st Black model to appear on the cover of French Vogue, Later she appeared on the cover of American Vogue, which marked the 1st time a black model graced the front of the September magazine ( the years most important issue )