was aged about nine, perhaps ten - YEP that is me.
George would have been the same age, he would have been
after all we were in the same class.
I went home from school and told my
mother there was a black boy in the class, he was new to the
school having joined that day.
I do hope you are not teasing him,
Tease him ? No way ! We all
wanted to be George's friend, to be friends with someone who
was different - unique.
When Idi Amin threw the Asians out of
Uganda in the early seventies Milton Keynes Development
Corporation allocated a number of houses within the new city
for some to live in. Some students from the teacher training
college I was attending at the time moved in ahead of the
new residents to protect the properties from being trashed
by those who did not want these refugees with brown faces as
their next door neighbours.
We knew the threat but did not understand
it. We knew of the civil rights problems in America but we
did not understand them and did not wish to have them in our
I was working in a project that took me
to Detroit. With a friend I attended a meeting where we were
the only white faces in a room of more than one hundred. It
felt uncomfortable, I felt uneasy being in the minority.
I am going to confess to something, I am
not proud of this but tracing my family tree I find that
John Ashford was a slave owner on the Caribbean Island of
Antigua. When the law was changed to abolish slavery in the
British Empire he had to free his slaves. He was