by Kester Aspden - £9.99 Vintage (2008)
paperback ISBN 13: 9780099506171 | ISBN 10: 0099506173
When the body of David Oluwale, a rough sleeper with a criminal record and a history of mental illness, was pulled out of the River Aire near Leeds in May 1969, nobody asked too many questions about the circumstances of his death.
A police charge sheet from three months before had 'BRIT' scored out, and his nationality replaces with a handwritten 'WOG'. This 'social nuisance' went unmourned to a pauper's grave. A year and a half later, rumours that the Nigerian man had been subject to a lenghty campaign of abuse from two police officers lead to the opening of the grave and a difficult criminal investigation.
Drawing on original archival material only just released into the public domain, and interviews with police officers and lawyers involved in the eventual prosecution of two Leeds City Police officers, Kester Aspden's chilling book revisits one of the most notorious racist crimes in British history.
David Oluwale came to Britain as a stowaway in 1949. He also came as a British subject and citizen with a belief that 'the Mother Country' was a place of fairness and liberty and law. Nationality: Wog is not just the forensic examination of a crime; in his imaginative reconstruction of the life and death of this obscure man Kester Aspden exposes Britain's belligerent and painful response to the fact that black people were part of the national story. It raises questions as relevant today as they were at the end of the 1960s.
(Price & availability last checked: June 2018)
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In booklists: Anti-Racism, Black British History, Institutional Racism, Miscarriages of Justice, Racism, In categories: Anti-Racism, Black, Asian & Other Diasporas, History & Biography, Society, Welfare, Justice & the State,