Lord Learie Constantine (1902–1971)
Born in Trinidad in 1902, Constantine’s prowess as a cricketer soon became noticeable, causing him to immigrate to Britain in 1923, and enjoyed a distinguished decade-long career.
While working as a solicitor’s assistant in 1942, Constantine was asked by the Ministry of Labour to become a temporary civil servant responsible for the growing number of West Indian migrant workers employed in Merseyside factories.
Given four days’ leave in 1943 to captain the West Indies cricket team, Constantine and his family were barred from staying at the Imperial Hotel in London due to colour, despite prior booking: Constantine took them to court, and became the first person ever to successfully challenge colour discrimination by a service industry.
Constantine was made an MBE in 1945, knighted in 1962, and elected a life peer – Britain’s first Black peer – in 1969.