Memoirs of a Black Englishman

About this Book

Memoirs of a Black Englishman is the life story of Paul Stephenson OBE, one of the leading black civil rights activists of his generation.

Paul’s unique story

Born in 1937 shortly before the outbreak of World War Two he spent much of his early childhood being brought up by white English families as an evacuee because his mother had joined the war effort, as a member of the Women’s Royal Army Corps. Paul’s mother and grandmother were both British-born, making him at least a third-generation black Englishman.

Paul seemed destined for a career in the RAF, but left to become a youth worker in Bristol.

Paul and the Bristol Bus Boycott

It was in Bristol in 1963 that Paul and the black community took on the Bristol Omnibus Company which was refusing to employ black drivers and conductors. With the support of Jamaican High Commissioner Sir Learie Constantine, local MP Tony Benn, Labour Party leader Harold Wilson and others, the Bristol Bus Boycott forced the Company to change its racist policy.

The Bristol Bus Boycott was the start of a lifetime dedicated to challenging prejudice at all levels in society and to improving opportunities for young black people particularly through sport, music and education. Paul has worked closely with many black role models to achieve this aim, including Muhammad Ali, who he persuaded to turn up unannounced at a South London Secondary School to attend assembly.

Paul Stephenson OBE

Paul Stephenson OBE was a member of the Commission for Racial Equality, the Sports Council, the Press Council and other statutory bodies and pressure groups and has received numerous awards for his work including one from the United Nations. He became the first black person to be given the Freedom of the City of Bristol in December 2008 and he was awarded an OBE by the Queen in 2009.

Lilleith Morrison MSc

Lilleith Morrison came to England from Jamaica as a child in 1955 and achieved a BEd at Cambridge University in 1971. She arrived in Bristol in 1981 and pioneered the teaching of Black History in Further Education and voluntary projects. She has also worked with parents and their children, in schools; served as Project Officer for Bristol Black Archives Partnership; has a Social Science MSc in Media, Culture and Conflict a diploma in Creative Writing for Performance.

Memoirs of a Black Englishman - Learning Materials

For Teachers and Schools, please see the Learning Materials that have been developed for use with this biography.

Karl Ritchie Collection at BRO

ON THIS LINK —> Bristol Record Office holding of Photographs from Karl Ritchie. Karl Ritchie (centre) in 1980s, with Paul Stephenson (left) and friend.

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BBB '63 - the Story

The Mayor’s Race

These are video clips from the conversation – with Paul Stephenson, Marvin Rees and Clayton Planter at Ujima Radio in 2012.

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BBB '63 - the Story

Madge Dresser Archive

  Dr Madge DresserBA (California), MSc (LSE), MSc (Bristol), PgDip, Radio, Film and Television (Bristol), DPhil (UWE),  FRHistS. Dr Madge Dresser was a Reader in

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