Scottish Jobs For Scottish Workers
His hallowed status in Labour history may be tarnished by new revelations unearthed by Stirling University historian Dr Jacqueline Jenkinson. "Manny Shinwell was one of those who campaigned to stop black sailors getting work. His radical seamen's union, the BSU, openly banned black members. It was felt they were keeping Scots out of jobs when they returned from service in the First World War, and lowering wages."
"Shinwell gave quite inflammatory speeches in which he condemned the employment of black sailors in the merchant fleet."
"He played a celebrated role in the protest in George Square on 31 January 1919. But just a week before, on 23 January, he also played a key role in a very violent attack on 30 African sailors. "
"Newspaper reports tell how he spoke to 600 sailors and it was quite a rabble-rousing speech about black and what he called Asiatic, or Chinese, sailors. This led to around 30 black sailors being chased by a baying mob down James Watt Street. They tried to take refuge in a sailors' retreat in Broomielaw, but the mob smashed all the windows and they were turned out on to the street."
Some of the black sailors were attacked and they fought back with guns, shooting one of the mob. One black sailor was singled out and attacked with knives, leaving him with a gaping wound in his back. The police eventually stepped in and arrested the black sailors, with the wounded man taken to court before being allowed hospital treatment.
Fellow historians have supported Jenkinson's view that discrimination against black sailors on Clydeside has been "glossed over".
Professor Elaine McFarland, a specialist in modern Scottish history at Glasgow Caledonian University, said: "Red Clydeside does have this dark, racist underbelly, and there has been a reluctance to expose it.
"It may be due to the political leanings of some historians, but there has been a sentimental view of those who took part in Red Clydeside.
Scratch any socialist and there is a racist National Socialist not far under the surface.