Jamaican Honored as First Black Mayor of British town

Jamaican Honored as First Black Mayor of British town Eunice Whit Stennett

The British town of Old Trafford celebrated the life and achievements of its first black Lord Mayor, Whit Stennett MBE. The celebration included tributes to the former mayor, who was honoured for his contributions to the community. Stennett served as Lord Mayor from 2003 to 2004 In a book published in 2008, Stennett told the story of his life and the challenges he faced. When he first came to Manchester carrying a suitcase filled with cricket gear and had just £50. Now, after some 50 years, the book he wrote explores his journey from Dry Harbor in Jamaica to Buckingham Palace in the United Kingdom to receive the MBE. Stennett, who represented Clifton for 14 years, became the first black Lord Mayor of Old Trafford in 2003 and one of the most respected members of the community.

He was inspired to write his memoir after the death of his mother in 1999. The book “A Bittersweet Journey,” details life in the Jamaican fishing village of his youth, as well as his first impressions of the UK. Stennett describes how he found real friends among the people of Manchester in days where blacks faced serious racism. Stennett began his career at the Post Office and campaigned for racial equality and worked in the union movement. Always a sportsman, he had a strong love for cricket and also helped to found the Moss Side Boxing Club. The modern city of Old Trafford has some 13,000 residents, and the area has been a hub of cultural diversity for over 100 years, beginning with Irish immigrants who came in the 1880s to work on its ship canal. Members of the Afro-Caribbean community began coming in the 1950s and 1960s.

Source: Trafford Council,  Manchester Evening News,  The Voice, Visit Manchester 

Revised June 3 to include sources and background on Whit Stennett.

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Stephanie Korney