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 Identity and Migration Ryland continues to talk about the racial identity of his children and what motivates people to emigrate and how immigration has affected Birmingham and Britain as a whole.
Track 2 International Community Ryland talks more about his views on different religious communities and the creation of the European Union in 1992 and how it related to Africa and the wider world.
Track 3 Immigrant Communities Ryland then talks about immigrant communities in Britain and the tensions that were felt between them during the early post-war period.
Track 4 Britain as a Multi-racial Country Ryland discusses the idea of Britain becoming a multi-racial country and the problems the Black community face in modern day Britain.
Track 5 Black Identity Ryland goes back to discussing Black identity, as well as the 'Handsworth Riots'.
Track 6 Discrimination Ryland continues to discuss racial discrimination and how he thinks this contributed to the 'Handsworth Riots'.
Track 7 Politics of Drugs Ryland answers the question if the politics of drugs and deprivation contributed to racial inequality.
Track 8 Tolerance Ryland moves on to talk about the significance of using poetry to help process his thoughts and experiences and the need for more tolerance in society.
Track 9 Economic pressures Ryland discusses how pressure from work shortages and housing storages in the post-war period contributed to racial tensions.
Track 10 Final part Ryland concludes his interview talking about the tenement housing and then how he felt about being interviewed. (N.B See R1174 Track 5 for a postscript addition)