The rediscovered classic: an unforgettable memoir by a trailblazing black woman in post-war London, introduced by Bernardine Evaristo (‘I dare anyone to read it and not come away shocked, moved and entertained’).
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This rediscovered classic: an unforgettable memoir by a trailblazing black woman in post-war London, introduced by Bernardine Evaristo (‘I dare anyone to read it and not come away shocked, moved and entertained’)
Benjamin Zephaniah: ‘A must-read. Her life makes you laugh. Her life makes you cry. Get to know her.’
Jacqueline Wilson: ‘A superb but shocking memoir … Imaginative, resilient and inspiring.’
Christie Watson: ‘A beautiful memoir of one woman’s strength and dignity against the odds.’
Steve McQueen: ‘Gilroy blazed a path that empowered generations of Black British educators.’
David Lammy: ‘This empowering tale of courage, resistance, and triumph is a breath of fresh air.’
Diana Evans: ‘Important, enlightening and very entertaining, full of real-life drama … Inspirational.’
Paul Mendez: ‘Written with a novelist’s ear and sense of atmosphere … A vital and unique testament.’
Jeffrey Boakye: ‘A landmark. Warm and wise … Life lessons we can all learn from.’
Alex Wheatle: ‘A pioneer in many fields and wonderful example for all of us … Essential reading.’
Denied teaching jobs due to the colour bar. Working in an office amidst the East End’s bombsites. Serving as a lady’s maid to an Empire-loving aristocrat. Raising two children in suburbia. Becoming one of the first black headteachers in Britain.
In 1952, Beryl Gilroy moved from British Guiana to London. Her new life wasn’t what she expected – but her belief in education resulted in a revolutionary career. Black Teacher, her memoir, is a rediscovered classic: not only a rare insight into the Windrush generation, but a testament to how her dignity, ambition and spirit transcended her era.
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‘Incredibly important … Such an interesting read, and I am so glad that it is being republished.’
‘Wonderful and insightful. I really, thoroughly enjoyed reading this book.’
‘Eye-opening … A powerful reminder of how far we have come … Beautifully written … I wish everyone could have a teacher like Beryl!’
‘Really lovely, and a surprisingly quick read … I wish I could have met her.’
‘A great piece of history [with] so much relevance even today as it touches upon issues of race, education and female empowerment.’
‘Excellent [on] what it was really like for the Windrush Generation… Highly recommended.’
Gilroy deserves a similar level of recognition for her contribution to literature. Like ER Braithwaite’s To Sir With Love and Sam Selvon’s The Lonely Londoners, Black Teacher is a rare document of Black British survival, doused in fury and humour and love.
Fresh and vital ... Full of wit, perceptiveness, humour and compassion ... A remarkable pioneer ... A hugely important memoir about the 1950s from the rare perspective of a black woman transported to the colonial motherland and leaving behind this brilliant first-person record.
A must-read. In Black Teacher we see the real life of a real pioneer. Her life makes you laugh. Her life makes you cry. Gilroy’s strength and intelligence is inspirational. She paved the way for so many of us. Get to know her.
Gilroy blazed a path that empowered generations of Black British educators and for that I'm thankful.
A superb but shocking memoir about a brilliant teacher, imaginative, resilient and inspiring.
An important, enlightening and very entertaining book, full of real-life drama and vivid description, and documenting a unique witnessing of Britain's recent history in the education system and wider society. Gilroy is a spirited and absorbing narrator. Inspirational.
Beryl Gilroy was born in 1924 in British Guiana. She trained as a teacher in Georgetown before teaching in several schools and on a UNICEF food programme. In 1952, Gilroy arrived in Britain to study Child Development at the University of London. For years she was denied teaching positions due to the colour bar, but after finally entering the educational…Read More
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