Wendy from the Sing with Pride choir has nominated today’s Black History Month LGBT+ hero – Mercedes Frances Williams – my Aunty Mercy. Wendy writes: Born 21st December 1921 in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa and died 16th January 2005 in Walthamstow, London. Her formative years were spent in Pietermaritzburg before she re-located to Durban and attended the University of Natal where she gained her B.A in Education. Mercy was the first woman of colour to gain a degree in the whole state of Natal. She made history. Being of mixed race in a country where racial segregation imbued every part of your life, her ambition was always to teach, and to achieve that she concluded that she would have to leave South Africa and follow her vocation in England. So in 1954 she arrived in London and after several jobs in 1962 she became a teacher at Bowbrook Secondary School for Girls in Bethnal Green where she had a distinguished career eventually rising to Head of Maths. She was remembered with great affection by her fellow teachers and students and when she retired that affection remained.

If you would like to nominate your hero or find out more about our BAME LGBT+ Forum, please email history@norwichpride.org.uk

To download a copy of the Norfolk Black History Month 2020 brochure go to: https://www.norfolkblackhistorymonth.org/events