Civil rights campaigner Roy Hackett dies aged 93

·2-min read

Tributes have been paid to a civil rights campaigner who was one of the organisers of the Bristol Bus Boycott.

Roy Hackett, who has died at the age of 93, was part of the successful campaign to overturn a ban by Bristol Omnibus Company on employing black and Asian drivers and conductors.

Mr Hackett, who was the co-founder of the Commonwealth Co-ordinated Committee which set up the St Paul’s Carnival in 1968, leaves behind three children.

Bristol West Labour MP Thangam Debbonaire said: “It was an honour to know Roy Hackett.

“He was a civil rights hero, rightly lauded for his leadership in the Bristol Bus Boycott and the St Paul’s Carnival, which both say so much about who we are as Bristol.

“He was an inspiration to so many and taught us all so much about standing up for justice and equality.

“I will miss his warm smile, quick wit and charm, as well as his deep and lasting commitment to the people of Bristol and to ending racism.”

Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees said: “Bristol’s lost a giant in Roy Hackett, who worked his whole life to make our city a better place – including co-organising the Bus Boycott to overturn a ban on black and Asian bus drivers and conductors, leading to the Race Relations Acts.”

Asher Craig, deputy mayor of Bristol, said: “Just been informed of the transition of Mr Roy Hackett.

“This news will be painful for many and I will pay him a proper tribute in the coming hours/days. Sending my sincerest condolences from my family to his.”

LaToyah McAllister-Jones, executive director of the St Paul’s Carnival, said: “Rest In Power, Mr Roy Hackett.

“You have inspired so many, your service and dedication to your community lives on through us all.”

In 1963, it was legal for British companies to discriminate against someone because of the colour of their skin.

Jeremy Corbyn in Bristol
Then Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn meets Roy Hackett’s fellow civil rights activist Paul Stephenson during a visit to Bristol (Labour Party/PA)

Mr Hackett joined forces with campaigners Paul Stephenson, Owen Henry and Guy Bailey to begin the boycott that year.

Mr Bailey had applied for a job at the bus company, and been turned down because of his skin colour.

The subsequent protests saw the company change its policies and helped pave the way for the Race Relations Acts of 1965 and 1968.

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