YP Letters: Reminder of shameful days before Race Relations Act

Barbara Castle, speaking in 1970.
Barbara Castle, speaking in 1970.
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From: John Appleyard, Firthcliffe Parade, Liversedge.

AFTER the Second World War, citizens of the Commonwealth were invited to come and work in the UK to put Britain back on its feet.

For many, it seemed an opportunity of a new life, but 
for some they came across a colour bar for jobs and 
housing.

The Race Discrimination Act of 1965 only applied to public places such as pubs and hotels, it didn’t apply in the workplace.

As part of its Black History Month, BBC Radio Four dedicated a programme to Asquith Xavier who came 
to the UK from the West Indies and worked as a train guard, 
but when he sought a transfer 
to Euston railway station 
in 1966, he found that not 
only management, but the National Union of Railwaymen operated a colour bar.

In 1968 Labour’s Barbara Castle introduced the Race Relations Act which made 
it illegal to discriminate in 
the workplace and, thankfully, we have become a much 
more tolerant society.

When racism rears its 
ugly head, we should 
condemn it.