Public relations, American MPs and the colour bar

Gillman Game (taken from “They came to Sudbury” – a personal chronicle of the military presence in Sudbury during WWII.)

“There were an increasing number of Americans in the town and a big public relations exercise was held throughout the country to bring the British and Americans together. In Sudbury an American concert party gave a free variety show in the Victoria Hall to give the town some idea of their humour etc.. It was enough to send you to sleep although there were rumours that some of the shows at Waldingfield would certainly make you sit u!. An exhibition baseball game was played on the Friars Street sports ground.

 

The former 'Bear' public house where the incident occured

The former 'Bear' public house where the incident occurred

With the build-up of Americans the American Military Police in their white caps were soon a familiar sight. At one little disturbance in which they were involved, to the amazement of the spectators as they arrived they unclipped their revolver holster covers. Once in the Bear, now the Pied Cow, there was an argument between some Americans. One of them picked up a bottle, smashed the bottom off on the bar and pushed the jagged edge into the other’s face. Probably the first time that had happened in Sudbury. 

An innovation which rather shocked Sudbury people was their colour bar. The story soon passed around that if white and coloured Americans were in the same pub they did not speak to each other.”

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