Black Voices In Conversation: Reverend Eve Pitts on faith, racism and history

By Arun Lal and Pablo Taylor

Black voices In Conversation is a new series of interviews by ITV News to mark Black History Month 2020.

Across England, Wales and Northern Ireland we've spoken to groundbreaking individuals from the black community to learn about their life experiences and to hear their vision for the future.

ITV Central's Pablo Taylor sat down with Reverend Eve Pitts of the Holy Trinity Church in Birmingham to talk about her life and journey to becoming Britain's first female Caribbean vicar.

Rev Eve moved to the UK from Jamaica in the 60s to live with her mother in Nottingham. At the time the city wasn't as diverse as it is today, so the Black community stuck together - 'safety in numbers,' as she says.

Racism has followed the Reverend throughout her life, as she tells Pablo, whether it be people shouting expletives from cars, police storming her youth club with a dog, or through a lack of career opportunities.

The Reverend said there were few careers available to her because of the colour of skin. Working in Nottingham’s Lace Market to sew was one of the options she was told to take up, even though she was told she had a ‘beautiful voice’ and could have been a singer.

Faith had always been a part of the Reverend's life, as her grandfather was a minister. Her journey to the priesthood was not an easy one, but she had a deep sense that God had His hands on her life.

Credit: ITV News Central

In 1989, she became Britain’s first female Caribbean vicar and in 2009 was appointed to serve at the Holy Trinity Church. She has been a trailblazer in promoting equal rights for women and tackling racial injustice.

The Reverend is passionate about educating others on Black history.

The history of Africa is knowledge that she passed on to her children and grandchildren.

Family is something that is very dear to Reverend Eve’s heart and making sure that all of her children and grandchildren are proud to be Black is something she loves. Especially when the youngest of her grandchildren got upset after being told she wouldn’t have Afro hair like her grandmother.

Reverend Eve Pitts said she is determined to make a difference no matter how big or small to make sure the next generation doesn't face the same discrimination she did.

  • Catch up with all of the latest Black Voices in Conversation interviews here.