Bristol Bus Boycott’s Campaigner Roy Hackett Passed Away
We are saddened to announce the heartbreaking news that on August 3, 2022, Roy Hackett passed away at the age of 93. He was best known for playing a significant role in the Bristol Bus Boycott of 1963. May he rest in peace.
He was born in Jamaica and in 1952, Hackett moved to Britain and settled in Bristol. In 2009, he was appointed an OBE, and about eleven years after that he received an MBE in 2020 for his campaign work.
Roy Hackett was one of the leaders of a successful movement named the Bristol Bus Boycott, which the purpose was to overturn a ban by Bristol Omnibus Company on employing Black and Asian drivers and conductors.
As per the BBC, Hackett’s work has been credited as paving the way for the Race Relations Acts of 1965 and 1968. He was also the co-founder of the Commonwealth Coordinated Committee and it was in 2009 when he was appointed an OBE, as well as an MBE in 2020.
Sadly, there was a time in 1963, it was legal for British companies to discriminate against someone because of the color of their skin and being black. Hackett collaborated with campaigners Paul Stephenson, Owen Henry, and Guy Bailey to start the bus boycott that year.
The bus boycott was inspired by the US civil rights movement, and the successful bus boycott in Montgomery, Alabama. It was when Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat and as a result, the group marshaled the city’s 3,000-strong Caribbean community into action.
Hackett decided to co-found the Commonwealth Coordinated Committee, which set up Bristol’s St Paul’s Carnival in 1968. The group’s campaigns applied pressure on the local council to act on housing and employment. The committee still runs today as the Bristol West Indian Parents and Friends Association.
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Roy Hackett Passed Away
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In 1959, Hackett married his childhood sweetheart Ena, who arrived in Bristol in 1958. He leaves behind three children. Once, he said “I was born an activist” and said he added that consider it his duty to challenge racism whenever he saw it.
He had a hard life when he first moved to the UK and it was difficult for him to find job opportunities and housing described his early years in the UK as a “dog’s life”. “Housing was the biggest problem because they were strictly against us,” he said.
On social media, messages of condolences were sent to Roy Hackett’s family and loved ones. His friends shared their sadness through their Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter pages. May he rest in peace.
“Sad to hear of the passing of Mr. Roy Hackett MBE. A true pioneer who made Bristol a better place, and a legacy that will always be remembered. He was one of the leaders of the Bristol Bus Boycott in ’63 & overturned a ban on Black drivers & conductors working on the city’s buses.” Ujima Radio 98fm tweeted.
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