Paul Stephenson (OBE)


United Kingdom

Paul Stephenson OBE (born 6 May 1937 in Rochford, Essex), is a community worker, activist and long-time campaigner for civil rights for the British African-Caribbean community in Bristol, England.

As a young social worker, in 1963 Stephenson led a boycott of the Bristol Omnibus Company, protesting against its refusal to employ Black or Asian drivers or conductors. After a 60-day boycott supported by thousands of Bristolians, the company revoked its colour bar in August. In 1964 Stephenson achieved national fame when he refused to leave a public house until he was served, resulting in a trial on a charge of failing to leave a licensed premises. His campaigns were instrumental in paving the way for the first Race Relations Act, in 1965.[1] Stephenson is a Freeman of the City of Bristol and was awarded an OBE in 2009.

The civil rights activist helped to highlight the racism that black people faced everyday in the UK and led the victorious Bristol bus boycott in 1963. His dedication, resistance to discrimination and challenge to the status quo has inspired much other work in Bristol.