Dominican-born pioneering black train guard in UK ‘omitted’ from history lessons

Asquith Xavier. Photo credit: National Railway Museum

The family of a black train guard who overturned a racist recruitment policy at Euston railway station in the 1960s has said he has been “omitted” from history lessons.

Asquith Xavier, who was part of the Windrush generation, moving to England from Dominica after World War Two, won the right to work at the station in 1966, but received hate mail and death threats, according to BBC News.

Granddaughter Camealia Xavier-Chihota said he had “paved the way for us”.

“His story is omitted from the National Curriculum,” she said. “I don’t think people in Chatham know about him.”

“I think he’s such a positive example, and one we really need at the moment,” Ms Xavier-Chihota said ahead of the centenary of his birth on 18 July.

Mr Xavier, who lived in Chatham, Kent, worked as a guard at Marylebone Station and in 1966 applied for a promotion at Euston, where guards were paid an extra £10 a week.

At the time the station was operating a whites-only recruitment policy, a ban enforced by the local unions and station management, until Mr Xavier demanded change.

Read the full BBC story.

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24 Comments

  1. Queen B
    July 20, 2020

    Oh by the way my parents are Dominican and i have been many times and love it.
    Just saying
    :) Queen B

  2. River Street
    July 20, 2020

    My previous comment a reply to an ignorant (not knowing) comment on this forum, seems to have not met the page standards.Nonetheless, there is a level of ignorance and lacking of comprehension here by certain individuals.

    This was at a time of blatant racism and Mr. Xavier stood his ground much as Rosa Parks and others did. Hail to a Dominican man who led the way for blacks and others who had been denied the opportunity that only whites were privileged to have.

    We need to stop trying to belittle our fellow Dominicans. Accept the fact that Mr. Asquith Xavier did make history in a way that improved the lives of his fellowmen.

    ADMIN: Check again if you still don’t see the comment let us know.

  3. Magway ca
    July 20, 2020

    Why should that be in the curriculum? He got a job what’s the big deal with that? Come on people the only way to stop racism is to stop releaviving the racism. Call all whites racist but us Dominicans need to realise that we are SOOOOO racist to our Haitian brothers that migrate to our shores. Dominicans need to shut up about racism cause we are racist to the Haitians

    • Perth Amboy
      July 21, 2020

      You cry down an effort that changed an aspect of Brutish hiring practices that excluded Black folks. Many white folks are supportive but boyy you. From your writings we have figured why you are so quick to bring down Black people and can’t wait to celebrate their demise. As someone stated earlier, we’re are not alone, we are aware that “there are ignorant white folks, plants, and coons trolling” on DNO as sambos.

  4. Cane&Abel
    July 19, 2020

    Well, look it. No where in the world they operate black Trains. You can either be working as guard on a train or a motorman, driving the trains. no one owes you nothing therefore, you cannot make demands on any one., if you requested promotion, you are sent to the training centre, if you receive a pass the job is yours. My parents never refer to people as black or white. A sheet of paper is white, tarr is black, they always go national, or west Indians. They send you to school and if educated you will be as good as anyone.

    • de Observer
      July 19, 2020

      “Well, look it. No where in the world they operate black Trains.” OMG. Where have you been? Maybe you should google: black British trains.

      “They send you to school and if educated you will be as good as anyone.” You really believe that, then I suppose you never lived anywhere else but where you are. I do feel sorry for you and hope you educate yourself about history.

    • natzar
      July 19, 2020

      jamaica has trains, cuba has trains, some african nations, if not all operate trains, WHY wont you …… do a little research before you write such rubbish…???

    • Gerard Benjamin
      July 19, 2020

      You apparently misunderstood the phrase “black train guard” applying the colour black to the train. Black as an adjective in the context of the article simply meant the train guard who was black as against a train guard who is white.

      • Cane&Abel
        July 20, 2020

        People must stop feeling sorry for themselves because of the colour of their skin. You are employed in a job and get paid, you feed your family, paid your bills, money has no colour so, if you don’t like the job you leave. Black people never thought for one minute that a vehicle would fly in the air with loads and passengers therein, iron and steel would float in the waters, they choose to run away. Guiste Industries, CDC, UK they all run away because they couldn’t make a profit ,the blacks don’t want to work. Now the hard working China doing their best and you still complaint. All histories are in the Holy Bible.

        • Gone are the days
          July 21, 2020

          What the…. oh boy, they are coming out of the woodworks. I fight the urge to refer to your level of writing as an …… so I won’t, you are speaking for yourself. Don’t you see the level of conversation going on here? ?? Everyone seems to have passed your stage.

    • OpenMind
      July 19, 2020

      That’s your “educated” response to this article?
      You talk about going to school and being educated, don’t sound like there is much education in that response. It matters not if you refer to black or white, racism and systemic racism exists regardless of what your parents said. It is because of people like him you can even talk about education and have an “option” as to what to call it.

      Foolishness.

    • River Street
      July 19, 2020

      Mr. Xavier broke a color barrier that existed. This was never about taking a test, it was about the color of his skin.
      Hail to a man who forged his way forward against all odds.
      Reading and comprehension are fundamental. Either you did not fully read the article, lack comprehension or are just another racist.

    • Queen B
      July 20, 2020

      Dear Cane&Abel,

      Thank you for your view, however its important to read information carefully prior to commenting on topics. This gentleman has played a major part in the Equality policy of the U.K and should be celebrated as a pioneer and part of change to the discrimination legislation of U.K.

      You have no idea living in Dominica but I hope you will after reading all comments will seek to educate yourself on racial inequality occurring around the world.

      All the best
      :)

    • Bob the Cat
      July 21, 2020

      ….. the change has already been made. Go ahead and tell your parents to undo it.

  5. de Observer
    July 19, 2020

    For those Dominicans who love to say I was born in Dominica and have nothing to do with Africa, it sure seems like the George Floyd situation is helping to highlight and reshape the history of African peoples in the diaspora.

    Oh how God works in mysterious ways!

    Which tree have you seen that has no roots but yet can producing edible fruits? Because Dominicans refuse to learn from history, they continue to repeat a government with which they have an abusive relationship, yet continues to beg for more abuse each election.

    This is just like the Europeans, who many of these Dominicans adore, who went into Africa, kidnapped black people, brought them to work in the Americas and the Caribbean as slaves, why because they were saving them from the darkness of the dark continent.

    There are so many of them who have accepted the heritage that was imposed on them by the physically abusive imperialists’ colonizers. Today they are accepting economic imperialism by a new massa: China.

  6. randolph
    July 18, 2020

    I am just learning about this today. I think that the government should do something to honor his memory

  7. Dan Tanner
    July 18, 2020

    Racism, pure and simple. And wrong.

  8. Garvey
    July 18, 2020

    Why don’t the daughter and the family start a petition drive to have the history of his contribution be included in the curriculum or even use the same BBC platform to right the wrong.A people who have done you wrong will only do right when they are pressured to do so, don’t for get he has always tell His- story,not yours.

  9. L C Matthew
    July 18, 2020

    Wr need to start writing our own history or else someone else will continue write for us. They will put what they want to suite themselves. It is about time history is written from a slave perspective so we know who the real tyrants and demonic people are.

  10. Francisco Etienne-Dods Telemaque
    July 18, 2020

    Dominicans, make a big deal about things that are not significant in the life’s of anyone. What is the big deal about one going to England and become a train conductor, or guard?
     When I lived in England, riding the trains, 90% of the conductors were black people from Jamaica; a few Africans also; there is no history in that; one does not need a degree or any high level of education to do that! Railway train conductors may also known as train managers, guards or ticket inspectors. They work on passenger trains, making sure that travelers are safe, comfortable and have paid for their journey.
    Throughout a train journey passengers are getting on and off trains, so much of the conductor’s time is spent walking through the carriages checking tickets.
    Their work varies depending on the route they are working on.
    The number of train conductors are becoming less.
    And that black uniform, sometimes stinks!
    Hahahahahahahahahahahahah!
    Well, I dead now for steeping on toes eh!

    • out of south city
      July 19, 2020

      My brother, that’s not the point. Did you take time to read or do your own research about Mr. Xavier? He was instrumental in overturning a racist recruitment policy. Sometimes we are quick to respond before we digest some news. I consider you more intelligent than that.
      PEACE

      • Francisco Etienne-Dods Telemaque
        July 20, 2020

         I read everything thoroughly; I understand it all; my feedback is the problem to a lot of people; however, if something is not significant; I say so.

        Some people become elated over anything; I do not.

        Now there is a man from Grand Bay another Xavier, he is an electrical magnetic engineer, a scientists; you are going to laugh; but this is a guy who succeed where the great Albert Einstein failed.

        I worked for a company called Gulton  Engineered Magnetic; it was American owned, until it was sold to a Canadian Company, which changed the name to Engineered Magnetic.

        I worked in the American branch while he worked on the Canadian side.

        He would travel to between Canada, and America conducting professional work.

        He is the guy who gave a quantity of Electronic equipment to Dominica when Rosie was prime minister, they left them on customs ducks to be destroy by rain.

        People like that I honor, in the sixties Dominica overwhelm the British Civil that’s more important, to…

        • Francisco Etienne-Dods Telemaque
          July 21, 2020

          “People like that I honor, in the sixties Dominica overwhelm the British Civil that’s more important, to… ”

          In the late 1950’s and 60’s Dominicans and other West Indians overwhelmed the British Civil service; commencing in the postal system, and other departments doing more important chores than checking tickets on a train.

      • Gone are the days
        July 21, 2020

        Oh, think again.

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