Birmingham Black Oral History Project R1161 Oral History Interview – Carlton Duncan 11/06/1991 Interviewee: Carlton Duncan Interviewer: Doreen Price
This is an oral history interview with Carlton Duncan, recorded in 1991, as part of the Birmingham Black Oral History Project (BBOHP), discussing his life in Jamaica and the UK.
Carlton is well known for his 30-year career as a teacher, becoming Britain’s first Black Headteacher of a Secondary school in 1982. Carlton arrived in England on 10th January 1961, travelling on an Italian ship called the TS Escania. He describes his arrival as being a ‘major disappointment’ and goes on to discuss his education and early years as a teacher. He had a 10-year career as a professional dancer, travelling across Europe while still attending University in Swansea. Carlton describes the extensive racism and abuse he experienced throughout his teaching career and in his personal life.
These recordings include racially explicit content, including discussions of racism, prejudice and violence; racially explicit language; and language and phrasing that we would not use today. Some of this content might be unsuitable for younger listeners or triggering for People of Colour. We recommend reading the description for each track before choosing to listen.
Track 1 Patois Carlton talks about the language of Patois.
Track 2 Jamaican Class Structure Carlton talks about class structure and housing in Jamacia. He begins to talk about Mr Pine, a teacher that had a big influence on him.
Track 3 Mr Pine Carlton continues to talk about Mr Pine and how he inspired him to become a teacher himself.
Track 4 Leisure Activities Carlton talks about dance and other activities in Jamaica.
Track 5 Relationships Carlton talks about early girlfriends and the difficulties of dating in Jamaica in the 1950s.
Track 6 Relationships cont. Carlton continues to talk about Jamaican attitudes towards sex education and illegitimacy in the 1950s.
Track 7 Relationships cont. Carlton talks about the roles of men and women, and then returns to talking about his early days in England.
Track 8 Parents Carlton talks about the experiences of his mother and step-father when they arrived.
Track 9 Teaching in Brent Carlton returns to the story of his early career as a teacher, picking up with his second job in Brent. Warning: Explicit Racial Language
Track 10 Teaching in Brent cont. Carlton continues to talk about his experiences at Brent. Warning: Explicit Racial Language