MUSWELL HILL PEOPLE
BERNIE GRANT MP is the Labour Party Member of Parliament for Tottenham in North London, England. Elected to Parliament in 1987, he is the senior of the first ever black M.Ps elected to the British Parliament in that year. He represents the Labour Party, and is a former chair of the Socialist campaign group of Labour MPs.
He has taken a leading role in making contacts with black politicians throughout the world, including the congressional Black Caucus in the USA. To this end, he has travelled widely. He accompanied the Rev. Jesse Jackson on his mission to South Africa in February 1990, greeting Nelson Mandela on the day of his release. He is also active in attempting to bring together black business men and women, both in Britain and throughout the world and is founder and chair of the Global Trade Centre.
Born in Guyana 1944, he came to Britain in 1963 with his family, and found work as a railway clerk, and later telephonist. He became a full time Trade Union official, and was elected a local councillor in 1978, rising to become the first ever black leader (Mayor) of a local authority.
He has also been heavily involved in the anti-apartheid movement, and has taken the lead in highlighting the rise of racism in Europe, not least
in his capacity as the chair of the Standing Conference Against Racism in Europe (SCORE). He is a member of the Committee of Eminent Persons on Reparations for Africa, and has been prominent in bringing this issue to Britain, as the chair of the African Reparations Movement (UK).
Bernie Grant's political career has brought him into conflict with the British establishment, and he has met with the full force of the racism of the British press and media, particularly following his defence of young people who rioted against police harassment in his inner city constituency in 1985. He has also created controversy by wearing African dress each year at the State Opening of Parliament, and by his forthright interventions in the House of Commons on matters on issues of race, not least on racism within the police and criminal justice system.
He has always maintained that oppressed groups must form a political alliance if they are to advance. Crucial also is the unity of black people throughout the Diaspora. He is regarded by many as a leading spokesperson, not only for black people, but also for women, the disabled, the elderly, the Irish, and for youth as well as for the poor and deprived.
Bernie Grant of Harcourt Road, Muswell Hill, was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by Pace University, New York, in May 1993, in recognition of his work in striving for justice and equal rights.
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