British Rail guard Asquith Xavier, who broke the colour bar at Euston station in 1966, has been recognised with a plaque in the waiting Room at Platform 1 of Chatham station in Kent.
A Chatham resident, Asquith Xavier was and a guard with British Rail. He played a key role in ending the last vestiges of racist colour bars on BR and was part of a wider issue that saw a massive change in the 1968 Race Relations Act.
Asquiths’ family, rail union RMT, Southeastern and Network Rail got together and decided that it would be a fitting tribute to erect a plaque at his home station of Chatham. The funding has come from Southeastern, Network Rail and the local branch of the RMT union.
RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “We remember the brave actions of Asquith Xavier and those NUR officials such as Jimmy Prendergast who supported him in a campaign which eventually defeated the colour bar at Euston station. We owe so much to those who challenged racism on the railway in an era when it was all pervasive.
“The union remains eternally vigilant in the fight against racism and it is important we remember Asquith Xavier and those trade unionists who blazed a trail for us over five decades ago.”
Asquith Xavier ‘s daughter Maria Xavier spoke at the unveiling, on the centenary of his birth: “This plaque has helped shed light on his achievements within British race relations and employment law.
“It recognises how my grandfather overcame adversity and prejudice in the campaign for racial equality in Britain in the 1960’s and acknowledges his legacy as part of modern-day history.”
Photo credit: RMT