Dermot Davis

Excerpt describing racism on the buses in the 1950's
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MS: So you were there twenty eight years, this is a very interesting question regarding a working spirit – obviously when you first came, in the time you came it was still what felt racism – after the twenty years – had it improved – the relationship between the black, white…

 

DD: Well years after we came here and  there was, they don’t want our – London Transport – they couldn’t do any better. But this bring in the coloured people to do the job, so there it was and it was then nearly all black people than white, so in that way we all accumulate and work, we go parties…

 

MS: But there was some discrimination became illegal didn’t it? There was some legislation…

 

DD: Yeah I think so yeah.

 

MS: The Race Discrimination Act. When was that because that was coming in that it was illegal to discriminate because of race or religion wasn’t it?

 

DD: I don’t remember the year that was….

 

MS: So you didn’t notice anything – it was just you happened to notice you had more – you said coloured – people, that’s how it became easier, but you never noticed bosses treating, becoming much more open, it was just by chance more and more black people were working together, that was your looking back. You wouldn’t say the management became more – how was the management after twenty eight years towards white and black…

 

DD: Well what really happened is during the twenty eight years there was a lot of difference. There was all the difference because things had changed completely during the years, everything was – from the time we started to when we finished here it wasn’t one good thing all that time. Things had changed – I would say well…some families…got together to bought their own houses. They bought their own houses and then – you’re my friend and she’s my friend and we talk to one another and you got rooms in the house and that is how most of us get along. So we didn’t stay in one place all the time.

 

MS: But then, I’m still now – looking back at the buses – the London Transport – after twenty years – you say there was a lot more mixing – how was the London Transport towards their mixed racial group – were they more respectful – had you noticed a change?

 

DD: Well to tell the truth they couldn’t do much about that. They were more interested in getting the job done. [laughs] They were more interested in getting the job done! They didn’t have to worry about the staff.

 

MS: Ok. So looking back, this is just clarifying it, looking back from when you first came on the buses, and you had to fit in to the culture – there was no one to back you up, you just had to fit in and face racial abuse – after twenty eight years were you still getting abuse on the buses?

 

DD: Well no I only had abuse on the buses in my first few years. But - between the first few years until I finished, things went smoothly because you had so everybody become very friendly. It’s only when we first came here, things were rough.