Black History Month: The British men who made history in Britain

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Sir Learie Constantine (1901-1971)

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Born in Trinidad, Learie Constantine would go on to become England’s first black peer because of the work that he did for politics and racial equality.

This means he was allowed to sit in the House of Lords and take part in important political debates.

He was also a well-known cricket player.

He settled in Britain in a town in Lancashire called Nelson after he played cricket there for the West Indies in 1928. It caused a bit of a stir, as people were not used to seeing black people around.

“School children came out in their droves to see him because the only black face they’d seen before was a coal miner,” explained the Mayor of Pendle, Councillor Tony Beckett. “But he endeared himself to them and would come out and play cricket with the kids in the street.”

Paul Stephenson (1937-today)

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Paul Stephenson was born in England and went to a school where he was the only black child.

Even though it does not feel like that long ago, at that time he was a child, being black and being English were sometimes seen as two very different things.

This is what inspired him to go on to dedicate his life to stopping racial discrimination and bringing black and white communities together.

He became Bristol’s first black social worker, which improved the relationship between black and white people in the city.

He spent his life leading important campaigns that made big changes in how black people were treated, and it is said that his work played a part in Britain’s first Race Relations Act in 1965.

This was an important law that took steps to give equal rights to black people.

Sir Trevor MacDonald (1939-today)

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You may have seen his face on the television before, as Sir Trevor MacDonald is one the most well-known presenters on TV in Britain.

He was born in Trinidad where he worked in the media, but came over to Britain in the late 1960s to work for the BBC in London.

He later moved to a different organisation called ITN and went on to become one of the most successful journalists in the country.

In 1999, he received a knighthood from the Queen for his work.

Lennox Lewis (1965-today)

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In the world of sport, Lennox Lewis is one of the most successful British sportsmen of all time and his name is known all over the world.

He was a boxer who won 41 of his 44 professional fights, which is a pretty amazing record.

He announced his retirement from the sport in 2004, after his final fight on 21 June 2003 against the Ukrainian boxer Vitali Klitschko.

Information taken from http://www.bbc.co.uk.

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