Jennie Dutton


Interviewed by Sam P., March 5, 2018

Jennie Dutton: In Her Own Words

My name is Jennie Dutton and I am Samís grandmother, and I live in England. When I was a child, my parents lived in West Africa in a place called Ghana -- which used to be called the Gold Coast. They went out there in 1946 which was immediately after Second World War. And they lived down there for twenty years.

I lived out there for periods of time -- not all the time because it wasnít a terribly healthy place to live in those days. There was a lot of disease and that -- so I spent some time in England and some time out in Africa. Same with my mother. She would spend 9 months in Africa and 9 months in England. My father would spend 18 months in Africa and 3 months in England. And that's how it worked.

And also did you witness any injustices in England?

Well yes, very much so. An example talking about the Gold Coast, we had some friends of my parents were in the country once, and we were all going to go out for a meal in a restaurant in Northampton where I lived and I actually had to phone the restaurant up and ask if it was okay my auntie Rita, as I called her, would be accepted there because she was black. The restaurant was fine about it, so they accepted her, no problem whatsoever -- but the mere fact that I had to do it was pretty awful.

I used to live in Brazil -- conditions out there were terrible. People were either very, very rich or very, very poor. And the very, very poor were unbelievably poor. It was horrible. But I was out there with your grandfather David. We lived there for a year, and he worked -- so I spent a lot of time with other women and we would go off into the town and we would see some awful, sad, horrible sights. Sights that you wouldn't see in the UK for example. People were very poor, very sad in those days. Iíve witnessed poor people in this country... Iíve never seen any racial incidents. I think I would have something to say if I saw anything racial going on around me -- in fact I know I would!