Fifty years ago this month a few committed activists from Bristol's 3,000-strong black community launched a remarkable and ultimately successful campaign. As in the rest of post-war Britain, housing was difficult to find. A "colour bar" existed in many places with signs in windows proclaiming "No Blacks or Irish". Young black men on a night out would run the gauntlet of "Teddy boys".
White women who befriended black men would often be shunned by their white friends, and even be labelled as prostitutes. The depth of this racism was a product of Britain's imperial past, whereby black and Asian people would be considered as uncivilised children, and portrayed as near savages in general public discourse. As in some other cities, such as Coventry and West Bromwich, the colour bar in Bristol extended to employment on the buses.