Birmingham Black Oral History Project R1175 Oral History Interview – Ryland Campbell 09/09/1991 – 14/09/1991 Interviewee: Ryland Campbell Interviewer: Doreen Price
This is an oral history interview with Ryland Campbell, recorded in 1991, as part of the Birmingham Black Oral History Project (BBOHP), discussing his life in Jamaica and the UK.
Ryland was mainly raised by his aunt in Jamaica as his mother was young and worked away in Kingston. He talks about not having a father in his life and the difficulties this caused him. His mother decided to emigrate to England and later sent for Ryland. He arrived in 1952 and began working as a bus conductor for Midland Red. As a young man he married his wife Margret, a midwife, and they had two children. He talks about the difficulties of being in a mixed-race relationship at the time. Ryland talks at length about the Handsworth Riots and performs some of his songs and poetry.
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 College and Gambling Ryland recounts enrolling in a commerce course at Technical College whilst working on the buses. He also discusses gambling after being introduced to dog races by his German girlfriend while living in Smethwick.
Track 2 Racism cont. Ryland continues to discuss experiencing racism both in his personal and working life.
Track 3 Breakdown of his relationship Ryland discusses the breakdown of his relationship to his German girlfriend and moving to a new flat with friends. He also tells the time of when he was accidentally investigated on suspicion of murder
Track 4 Meeting his wife Ryland recalls about meeting his wife who was working as a midwife.
Track 5 Dating Ryland talks about dating his future wife
Track 6 Getting married Ryland describes getting married, trying to buy a house and leaving his job working on the buses.
Track 7 Moving to Quinton Ryland discusses moving to Quinton and working at a Wimpy Bar and getting a mortgage for a house.
Track 8 Identity Ryland discusses his identity and how he sees himself within the Black community and being married to a white woman.
Track 9 Moving to London After having a baby, Ryland moved to London to work in a factory doing piecework.
Track 10 Ignorance and Racism Ryland discusses ignorance and racism in British society and how he dealt with it. Warning: Explicit Racial Language