Was there segregation in Britain?

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Was there segregation in Britain?
« on: 19/08/2016 07:05:46 »
I was born and raised (and continue to live) in the city that housed by far the largest number of safe houses for fugitive slaves. Syracuse was one of the northern most stops in the Underground Railroad. The American Revolution abolished slavery in the North and put it on the defensive in the South. To avoid violent unrest, the North was continually pressed to return escaped slaves to their masters, end of story. A lot of black slaves told stories of their hardship and even torture in some cases- this motivated many in the north to fight that system. They knew they could not trust the federal government to step in and help so they took matters into their own hands with the construction of network of secret routes to free territory.

I attended a ceremony and one of the speakers had a very clear Welsh accent, with it's singsong tone, stretched out vowels, ect. After introducing herself she went straight on with "I think the question yu waanta ask ees, 'wot dah's UK got to do weeth American's slave system oh the slave teraid?" Own the face ah it, quite a lawt!" she referenced UK's own system of slavery and how much her country spoke out against it. The Prince of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha was their unofficial spokesman, and the 1st Earl of Mansfield their unofficial patron saint, ect ect ect.

She then offered us some Welsh rarebit and read a passage from the Laws of Hywel Dda. Kidding.

My question, since most people on this forum are British, did the UK have a system of segregation post 1833? In our country after slavery there were Jim Crow laws in the southern states, keeping white people and racial minorities separated. Anything similar to that in the UK?
« Last Edit: 19/08/2016 07:11:33 by Pseudoscience-is-malarkey »


Offline alancalverd

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Re: Was there segregation in Britain?
« Reply #1 on: 20/08/2016 12:45:02 »
Interesting dichotomy, as far as I know. The British continued to export slaves to the northern colonies long after the Spanish and Portuguese,  who concentrated on South America, but whilst there were a few black slaves in Britain I don't recall any statutory segregation in the UK. The numbers were small and mostly confined to wealthy urban households rather than agricultural gangs - there were plenty of itinerant whites who lasted longer in the cold climate. The class system and social norms tended to keep whites and blacks apart, even to the extent than WWII public information films alerted us to the remarkable fact that many US servicemen were "coloured". 

The British ambivalence may stem from a long history of trade and military dealings with the Indian subcontinent, and indeed the African traders who sold their countrymen: the people you trade with are necessarily equals, even if the people they are selling aren't.

That isn't to say there was no de facto segregation in the UK. The "colour bar" was quite overt until the 1960s.

It's quite different nowadays. As Top Nation, we Brits all despise everybody, regardless of creed or color. And that includes the Welsh, English, Scots, Irish, Jews, Catholics, Protestants, Yanks.... but we are too polite to say so.
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