The Black led Bristol Bus Boycott utilised a variety of strategies to achieve victory in their 1963 campaign. They did not just encourage people to boycott the buses but made good use of the media, petitions and marches. On this march Bristol University students and lecturers joined both Black and White Bristolians to support the campaign in a march which went down Park Street.
In 1963 it was not illegal to discriminate against someone because of their race. From May to August of that year the Bristol Bus Boycott campaign successfully changed the Bristol Omnibus Company’s policy, not to employ Black workers on the buses. This campaign influenced the passing of the first Race Relations Act in Britain. Sir Learie Constantine, a famous Trinidadian cricketeer, was a keen supporter of the boycott as he himself had been the victim of racism when a London hotel refused to accomodate his family because of their colour. His high profile as a popular celebrity helped the campaign as he drew attention from the media. As the Trinidadian High Commissioner he also worked behind the scenes with the Jamaican High Commissioner, Lawrence Lindo to bring pressure on the Omnibus Company’s headquarters in London to reverse their racist policy.
Madge Dresser wrote the pamphlet ‘Black and White on the Buses’. She attended UCLA in the 1960s where Angela Davis was one of her tutors.
“I am the grandchild of immigrants and I heard some really interesting stories from my grandparents. And then also I went to school and I read American History; there was nothing much about people like me. When I went to the University of California, Los Angeles UCLA, I had some really inspirational teachers. I did one of the Black Studies courses in California and that was pretty inspirational looking at history which hadn’t been covered before.”