24 September 2020
RMT Press Office:
A plaque to commemorate the memory of British Rail guard Asquith Xavier who broke the colour bar at Euston station in 1966 will be unveiled in the waiting Room at Platform 1 Chatham Station in Kent today - Thursday 24th September 2020 - at Noon.
Asquith Xavier was a Chatham resident and a Guard with British Rail and 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.
It was decided by Asquiths’ family, RMT, Southeastern and Network Rail 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:
“Today 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 will speak 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.” she said.
1. Maria Xavier, (Youngest daughter of Asquith)Speaker
2. Sheena Xavier (Second youngest daughter of Asquith)
3. David Wornham (South East Director) - Speaker
4. Mick Cash (RMT, General Secretary) Speaker
5. Lorraine Martins (Network Rail) - Speaker
6. Vince Maple (Medway Council)