Birmingham Black Oral History Project R1176 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 Domestic life Ryland talks about the difficulties of childcare and working full time. He also talks about how his wife Margaret started working with unmarried mothers.
Track 2 Domestic life cont. Ryland continues to talk about the problems experienced during his marriage and trying to peruse his artistic interests while working full time.
Track 3 Children Ryland discusses his children and whether they experienced any racism in their lives.
Track 4 Self-worth Ryland talks about how his sense of self-worth has influenced his life and how he interacts with people.
Track 5 Business Ryland discusses money, business and investing.
Track 6 Cost of Living Ryland describes the changes in living costs in the past. He also talks about his continued interesting in playing music.
Track 7 Last Factory Job Ryland describes his last factory job working with machines in a factory and the difficult relationships with his managers that led him to quit working in factories.
Track 8 Becoming Self-employed Ryland tells of undertaking odd jobs and self-employment in the 1970s which allowed him to write more poetry.
Track 9 Being self-employed Ryland continues to talk about being self-employed and briefly working with his son.
Track 10 Reflection on 35 Years Ryland further reflects on being in Britain for 35 years and if that has changed his identity in any way.