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Nicholas King

Bring on the Blacks

Desmond Ward

Bring on the Blacks

New title

£9.99

ISBN 9781781325933

Published Apr 2017

Paperback
216 x 140mm (240 pages)

Down in the dismal underground canteen the crews would line up for their cooked meals, have a bit of repartee with the kitchen staff and then find a seat. Mostly the men ate in silence, glancing at any copies of the Daily Mirror or The Sketch which had been left lying around, and only occasionally entering into prolonged conversation with their colleagues. Half a shift – which was often more than four hours – with the travelling public was quite enough to knock a man’s brain off the rails and it could take food and a bit of silence to get it back on track.Only after an interval down in the canteen would the real conversation start to flow. On one occasion Dabber was saying, “Yeah, whatever you think, those blacks suffered a lot in the past, whipped and chained up and all that. They were taken away from their homes and families and made into slaves. And in this city here, Bristol, a lot of the slave traders came from here.”

In 1963 the Bristol Omnibus Company is operating a colour bar and refusing to hire any black or Asian drivers or conductors. Black people organise a boycott of the buses and many white people try to help them. Bristol University students organise marches and speeches in support, but the campaign soon becomes bitter, with people of colour facing aggression and insults.

Dabber, a young white conductor, gives what support he can. His girlfriend, Melody, joins Bristol women as they continue the long struggle to achieve equality. But bus crews have their own problems to deal with as the stresses of the job take their toll. Will the bus company ever bring on the blacks?

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