During the Lockdown, I have been working on the school archives, which are housed in a specially adapted room underneath the bell tower. This week, I came across the article below in a school magazine dated 30 March 1930 and given the current situation, thought you might be interested to read it. Please be aware that at the time this article was written the term “coloured” was widely used to refer to any person who was not white. Today it may be viewed as offensive.
The article is a report of a conference held by a British Civil Rights campaigners which was attended by a group of CSG students. One of the key speakers was Harold Moody, a black London doctor who was to establish one of the first British anti-racist organisations, The League of Coloured Peoples, the following year. Dr Moody clearly gave the students a lot to think about.
Impressions of the Colour Bar Conference
Before we went to the conference some of us had never realised that there were so many restrictions on coloured people in England.
The first speaker was Mr Marley, M P for North St Pancras. He said that he had written to several hotels and they would not admit coloured people. He thought it was a very sad state of affairs to exist in England, and he would do his best to bring up the question in the House of Commons.
Dr Moody, of Jamaican birth, showed us very clearly the attitude shown towards coloured people who wish to become nurses or doctors. Coloured students are admitted into preliminary training schools and colleges, but they are barred from entering leading hospitals to get their final training and have to go out of England to acquire this. Dr Moody gave examples of students he had known who had been treated in this manner, and urged that if the English people could remove the colour prejudice, they would have the eternal gratitude of the whole world. His speech made us realise the difficulties that confront coloured people in England. Some students find difficulty in gaining entrance to Oxford or Cambridge.
We were so interested that we did not notice how quickly the time had passed, and 4.45pm came all too soon. The conference certainly made us realise how serious is this question, and I am sure that if more people heard the point of view of the coloured people themselves, they would want to help them.