Birmingham Black Oral History Project R1163 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 Magistrate Carlton talks about his time as a magistrate in the 1980s in Coventry while he looked for a Head teaching position.
Track 2 Mike Feeley Carlton talks about a difficult relationship with an LEA advisor.
Track 3 Bradford Carlton talks about his history making first headship position at Bradford and the difficulties of getting the position.
Track 4 Children Carlton talks about the couples' difficulty conceiving, eventually turning to IVF and adoption.
Track 5 Children cont. Carlton continues to talk about his children, the media attention the family received and the difficulties this caused. Warning: Explicit Racial Language
Track 6 Bradford cont. Carlton continues to talk about his experiences at Bradford and the extreme racism he faced. Warning: Explicit Racial Language
Track 7 Bradford cont. Carlton continues to talk about his experiences at Bradford and the victimisation of one of his colleagues who tried to stand up to the racism Carlton received.
Track 8 Honeyford Carlton talks about an incident with a local Labour politician Ray Honeyford.
Track 9 Bradford cont. Carlton continues to talk about his experiences at Bradford and the lack of support from the Local Authority.
Track 10 Leaving Bradford Carlton talks about the relief of leaving Bradford, after four difficult years, to return to Birmingham.