Revealed: How Britons welcomed black soldiers during WWII, and fought alongside them against racist GIs

Posted in Articles, History, Media Archive, United Kingdom, United States on 2015-12-07 02:12Z by Steven

Revealed: How Britons welcomed black soldiers during WWII, and fought alongside them against racist GIs

The Telegraph

Patrick Sawer, Senior Reporter

This was no ordinary Saturday night punch-up outside a pub.

At the height of World War Two, with the country gripped in a life or death fight for freedom against fascism and dictatorship, dozens of local drinkers fought alongside black soldiers against white Military Police officers harassing them outside a Lancashire pub.

It was just one extraordinary example of the active support shown by ordinary Britons for the thousands of black American troops stationed amongst them during the war – in stark contrast to the vicious racist abuse they received from their fellow countrymen.

The Lancashire riot was just one of hundreds of cases of simple humanity displayed by ordinary Britons towards black soldiers.

Details of the riot are revealed in a new book exploring the experience of black GIs stationed in Britain during the war.

While white GIs sought to have them banned from pubs, clubs and cinemas and frequently subjected them to physical and verbal assault, many ordinary Britons welcomed the black troops into their homes – and on several occasions physically stood up to their tormentors.

The book, Forgotten: The Untold Story of D-Day’s Black Heroes, at Home and at War, also reveals how in June 1943 there was a public outcry when four black servicemen were refused service in a bar in Bath, for no reason other than the colour of their skin…

…While most people have heard of the GI babies the US troops left behind, few have considered that many of these children were of mixed-race, the offspring of affairs between local white women and the black soldiers they encountered.

Many of those “brown babies” only came to know their fathers in later years, with some of their descendants now embarking on a search for their American grandfathers.

Miss Hervieux said: “Given the racial tensions that exist in Britain today, as in other countries, it is hard to believe that the UK was once a relative racial paradise for African Americans. Britons were willing to open their hearts and minds to fellow human beings who were there to help them…

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Kelly Holmes is not fully British, says BNP MEP Andrew Brons

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United Kingdom, Women on 2012-08-29 01:14Z by Steven

Kelly Holmes is not fully British, says BNP MEP Andrew Brons

The Telegraph

Patrick Sawer

Andrew Brons, the BNP’s first MEP, sparked outrage on Saturday after he said double Olympic gold medal winner Dame Kelly Holmes cannot be regarded as fully British.

Mr Brons, who became the first member of the British National Party to be elected to the European Parliament, has said that the athlete’s mixed race heritage means she is “only partially from this country”.

The BNP – which bars blacks or Asians from joining – rejects the notion of a multicultural society and refuses to consider black and ethnic minorities to be British, even if they or their parents were born here.

But until now it has been careful not to single out noted ethnic minority celebrities for fear of provoking a public backlash.

His comments have provoked anger from politicians and sporting bodies.

Liberal Democrat MP Ed Davey said: “This type of comment reveals the ugly face of the BNP which they try to hide from voters yet is at the heart of their extremism.”…

…Mr Brons, who began his political life as a member of the neo-Nazi National Socialist Movement, said he rejected the notion that Black or Asian members of the community could be British, even if they were born here.
He said: “I don’t accept the term Black British or Asian British. Britons are the indigenous peoples of these isles.”
Asked about someone like Dame Kelly, who was born in Kent of a white English mother and Jamaican father, and served for several years in the Army before becoming one of this country’s most successful athletes, he said: “Kelly Holmes is only partially from this country, even if she is an integrated member of the community.”
Mr Brons, 61, went on to reject the idea that black footballers, such as Emile Heskey and Jermain Defoe, who represented England against Andorra last Wednesday, could be regarded as British.
He said: “They are British citizens – which is a legal concept – but not British by identity. That’s not a pejorative description, it is just stating a fact about their racial identity.”…

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