richard hartRichard Hart

Richard Hart adopted Bristol as his home in his later life and is where he died aged 96. Hart was born in Montego Bay in Jamaica. His family could afford to send him to boarding school in Britain. Back in Jamaica he became a radical journalist and lawyer. He was a founder of the People’s National Party (PLP). The rail union asked him to become its president after previous post-holders had been arrested. But when the Second World War broke out he too was arrested and interred.

After the war the demand for independence grew and Hart helped establish the Caribbean Labour Congress and became its General Secretary.

He researched the history of slave revolts and used the stories to inspire local people. He made the case that slavery was abolished by slaves themselves through strikes and rebellions.

As the Cold War developed Hart was expelled from the PLP as a ‘communist’. In 1953 he formed and led the People’s Freedom Movement. Out of favour with Jamaican politics, Hart came to Britain and worked as a council solicitor in Surrey.

The left wing government of Grenada persuaded Hart to become the country’s Attorney General. When US troops invaded, Richard and his wife, pretended to be an English couple trying to leave. They were put on a plane out as other ministers were being arrested. He campaigned for their freedom for many years.

He continued to research, lecture and write including: Slaves who abolished Slavery. He was awarded an honorary degree by the University of the West of England and a play was written about he life.