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Memoirs of a Black Englishman: Paul Stephenson OBE

Memoirs of a Black Englishman: Paul Stephenson OBE (Paperback)

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In his foreword to Memories of a Black Englishman Tony Benn writes: "Paul Stephenson's life, as readers of this book will see, offers living proof that history is made by the people who make the effort. "It also shows that the initial hostility that they provoke is replaced by respect and good will if the effort continues for long enough. "Paul Stephenson's life confirms that expectation and I strongly recommend his book." Paul Stephenson enlisted the support of Tony Benn (then a Labour MP in Bristol) to take on the Bristol Bus Company in 1963 who were refusing to employ black drivers. The Bristol Bus Boycott was a success and marked the start of a lifetime of campaigning by Stephenson. He was regarded as a trouble maker as he challenged racist practices in all aspects of life and strove to bring together black and white communities across the world. His work has been hugely influential and has resulted in him being honored with an OBE and being given the Freedom of the City of Bristol where he lives with his wife Joyce.

BiographyBiography: generalAutobiography: generalPhilosophy, Psychology & Social SciencesSocial groupsEthnic studiesBlack & Asian studies Publisher: Tangent Books Publication Date: 10/03/2011 ISBN-13: 9781906477394  Details: Type: Paperback Format: Books
Availability: To Order. Estimated despatch in 1-3 weeks.  

In 2008 Paul Stephenson was given the Freedom of the City of Bristol in recognition of the work he has done there to bring the black and white communities together. It was an honour that he richly deserved because his campaign for a boycott of the buses in Bristol in 1963 against racial discrimination opened up the question of Bristol's role in the slave trade which the city had never really been ready to accept. The refusal of the Bristol Bus Company to employ black drivers was an issue that had been ignored and it was Paul who brought it into the public domain by discovering there was a vacancy for a bus driver and putting in the name of a black man, who was then told there was no vacancy. Instead of accepting it, Paul decided to make an issue of the matter and he organised a boycott of Bristol buses based on his knowledge of similar boycotts that had occurred in the United States as an early example of their campaign for racial equality. Born in 1937 Paul was English and black, joined the RAF and when he was demobilized, his first job was as a youth worker in Bristol which led him into his campaign against discrimination on the buses. Later he went to America and on to Jamaica and when he returned to Britain he married Joyce who was a Jamaican living in Bristol. Later he was appointed as a community relations officer and served in that capacity in Coventry and from there to become a national youth officer for the National Community Relations Council in London where he won the support of Muhammad Ali for his plan to promote sports development among the ethnic minority. His life, as readers of this book will see, offers living proof that history is made by the people who make the effort.

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