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'I was one of the silent diggers': Lady who fought for racial equality in Bristol to be celebrated in new mural

'The Seven Saints of St Pauls' celebrate the seven figures who founded St Paul's Carnival and campaigned for racial equality. Credit: ITV West Country

A number of murals celebrating iconic figures in Bristol's African-Caribbean history are to go on display in St. Pauls.

'The Seven Saints of St Pauls' project is the brainchild of artist Michele Curtis and celebrates the founders of the city's famous St Paul's Carnival who strived for racial equality and social change.

Several of the individuals supported the Bristol bus boycott of 1963, which was initiated after the local bus service started denying work to black people.

Barbara Dettering worked as a teacher in Bristol and is the third person to be painted by artist Michele. Credit: ITV West Country

Barbara Dettering, the third mural to be painted, worked as a teacher in the city and spent most of her life influencing young children to overcome prejudices and strive to achieve their dreams.

She describes herself as one of the "silent diggers", who worked away in the background to get her point across and change the lives of future generations.

Don't aim for the trees, because if you fail at the trees you fall on the ground. You've got to aim for the skies. Don't let anybody dissuade you from doing what you want to do.

– Barbara Dettering, one of 'The Seven Saints of St Pauls'

The black and white charcoal and graphite murals tell the stories of these remarkable individuals who came to Bristol as part of the Windrush Generation.

Michele came up with the idea to coincide with the 50th anniversary of St Paul's Carnival and is displaying the murals along its procession route. She hopes all seven will be completed before the event next year.

On teaching future generations about Bristol's diverse history she says, "An exhibition here and there, going and doing talks in schools, wasn't enough."

Her project aims to educate people about the city's African-Caribbean history.

Michele Curtis came up with the idea to create seven murals and wants to teach people more about Bristol's rich African-Caribbean history. Credit: ITV West Country

Michele has so far completed two murals - of Delores Campbell and Owen Henry.

Delores fostered more than 30 children and campaigned extensively for racial equality in the city. She was also the first female to join the Commonwealth Coordinated Committee (CCC), where she highlighted racial prejudice in Bristol.

Owen Henry's mural can be found on City Road, reminding people of the man who helped establish the CCC and supported the Bristol bus boycott in 1963.

As well as Barbara, other figures to be immortalised in the exhibition are Roy Hackett, Audley Evans, Clifford Drummond and Carmen Beckford MBE.

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