Lord Learie Contantine
Born: 21st September 1901
Died: 1st July 1971
Birth Place: Trinidad & Tobago
Known for: Civil Rights Activism, Cricket and Government Administrator
Constantine wrote many books on cricket and one about race relations
He spent most of his life in England and was awarded an MBE by the Queen in 1945
He was the first black man to be made a life peer
Learie Constantine was a renowned cricketer both in his home country of Trinidad & Tobago and the United Kingdom where he played from 1928 to 1939. He was also an activist for the rights of Black people, a government minister, and an ambassador for his country.
Learie began his cricketing career in Trinidad & Tobago at a time when Black people were not allowed to be on the official team. He had to play and practise elsewhere until an opportunity arose for him to play for his country. After that he was able to play for the West Indies team and then for English cricket clubs. He was an excellent bowler, fielder and batsman and the crowds loved to watch him play.
When World War II broke out, he was offered the job of welfare officer to oversee the wellbeing of West Indian immigrants in Britain. He fought relentlessly against racism and was instrumental in the passing of the Race Relations Act in Britain.
On his return home in 1954, he briefly entered politics and was appointed as a government minister in the newly formed People’s National Movement party. He soon gave up and served as his country’s high commissioner to Britain instead.
He spent most of his life in England and was awarded an MBE by the Queen in 1945, made knight in 1962, and a life peer in 1969, the first black man to be so honoured. He died in London in 1971 and was buried in his native Trinidad
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