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Multicultural Britain -Source based work.

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Introduction

History Coursework Assignment Multicultural Britain 1) Source B is not a reliable source when investigating the extent of discrimination black immigrants faced in trying to find work in 1956. The aim of the interview was to expose the 'colour bar' at British Railways, the company would not be willing to let the public know of any discrimination as they had already made a policy on a 'no colour bar', it could also effect business. The interview was taken in 1956, after The British Nationality Act in 1948 confirmed the right of Commonwealth citizens to come and settle in Britain, therefore meaning they also had the right to jobs. The interviewees are both significant workers for British Railways, so they should be clear on the matter of how the company should treat discrimination. However they both seem to have different reasons on why the men were turned away, they also seem unsure about what they are saying ('Er, well, erm') showing they are not confident in what they are saying. Which leads us to question if both men are telling the truth or not. ...read more.

Middle

Source C could be useful to a historian. The signs reading, 'no coloureds etc', support the idea of the 'colour bar'. We can ensure it is reliable because it is a photograph and does not look in anyway set up. It does not reveal why it was taken. This source also supports the fact that only 15 out of 1000 white people would let a room to someone black. There was no law stating that landlords could not discriminate in this way. The immigrants in the photographs are looking at boards full of advertisements, nevertheless we are only given examples of two of them - we are unaware of any others, which could not be as discriminative as the two shown. There are only two immigrants in this photograph indicating there may not be a big problem to get housing, as was claimed at the time (because of the bombing during the war there was a housing shortage). Source D would not be useful to a historian investigating the difficulties in getting accommodation in the 1950's. ...read more.

Conclusion

This account reveals that there were white people that wanted to help black immigrants settle in Britain and not go out of their way to make them feel unwelcome in any way. It is said that racial discrimination affected all areas of their lives, including finding work and accommodation - this is true, however the black immigrants must have been able to find somewhere to live and work, or they could not have afforded to live in Britain, and we have no evidence of mass numbers of immigrants living on the streets. Although they often did end up with low-status jobs it shows some people were willing to employ and pay them. Self-help groups were also set up to offer advice on accommodation and employment rights - which show that there were white people willing to help, disagreeing with the statement first made. So overall, when we have looked at all the sources provided and used other statements quoted we can see that, 'In the period 1949-1959 Black immigrants faced only discrimination and prejudice form whites', is not entirely true. I did not think sources A, C and G were useful towards the question first asked; they did not contain sufficient information. Rosie Coulling 11AD, Miss Pickles. ...read more.

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