Growing Up Black in Britain


Which box do you tick? This issue reappears constantly in the testimonies within Growing Up Black in Britain. Stuart Lawrence shares the experiences of a wide range of public figures including Olympic BMX medallist Kye White, and author Patrice Lawrence.

The range of professions is wide. What’s more, so are the ages of the subjects. Furthermore, we realise that different communities inspired different experiences, as do different time frames.

Therefore, while Kyo White offers that ‘when [he] got that Olympic silver, people from all different ethnicities were picking [him] up‘. However, decades earlier, Chelsea footballer Paul Canoville was told ‘Hey, ———, go home. We don’t want you here’. Then again, model Eunice Olumide contemplates who she is and wonders if she’s an ‘Afro Scot‘. After all, it seems that ‘living north of the border‘ meant that her family ‘didn’t have a whole community of Black people to turn to, no close- knit circle of Black families to share‘ with.

Each story contained in here is compelling, informative and inspiring. Bookwagon read this in one sitting. In fact, we would go so far as to recommend Growing Up Black in Britain to every household and then every classroom.

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Growing Up Black in Britain

Stories of Courage, Success and Hope

Stuart Lawrence


Stuart Lawrence states that ‘no one was looked down on based on race’ at his ‘all- boys school’, although he was in a racial minority. In fact, the defining moment of race in his childhood was the murder of his older brother, Stephen, in 1993. Thereafter, Stuart Lawrence has researched  others’ experiences, Growing Up Black in Britain a collection of stories from public figures including Patrice Lawrence, Kye White, Lolly Adefope and Alison Hammond.
The selection is varied in age, background, profession and setting. Therefore, we learn of the harsh experience of Paul Canoville, ‘Black British former professional footballer, winger for Chelsea FC‘. It seems that he feels that his ‘experience of racism is that it was hard to open up about it, difficult to share what [he] was going through to the people who mattered most to [him]‘. We are left horrified at his experiences on the pitch, as a professional footballer, and then off it, too.
Meanwhile, actress Lolly Adefope, questions her identity, and feels more Londoner than British, while model Eunice Olumide, shares the incredulity with which her Scottish accent is met! ‘In fact, she coined the term Afro-Scot when [she] was sixteen‘. Bookwagon is reminded of Jordan Collins’ Where?
Bookwagon read Growing Up Black and British in one session. The absorbing and personal histories inform us and make us think. We recommend this book to every household, every school. It is relevant to the lives of every one of us in our interactions, communication and society.


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