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Trevor Clarence Carter was born on 9 October 1930 in Woodbrook, Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, the eldest of Elene and Clarence Carter’s twelve children. Clarence, was a cabinet maker and Elene a housewife.
Trevor Carter’s first job was in the building trade, following which he got a job as a mess boy on a merchant ship. He visited many places, including
In 1954, he was encouraged to take up a scholarship to go to
His cousin, Claudia Jones (see separate entry) arrived in
Carter married his wife, Corinne Skinner, a childhood friend, in December 1955.
In 1956, Carter was called up for National Service, which he really did not want to do. In desperation, he ran away to
Claudia and he, with Corrine and Pearl Connor and others, were involved in organising the first Caribbean Carnival in St Pancras Town Hall in 1958, in the aftermath of the Notting Hill riots of that year.
In 1961, Corinne went to
In 1963, his friend Cheddi Jagan invited him to come and work in
During the three years he spent in
Carter returned to
On graduation, he got a job straight away at Brooke House secondary school in
A leading member of the Caribbean Teachers Association, he took part in Rampton Committee in 1982, which produced a hard hitting report on ‘West Indian Children in Our Schools’, charging that the schooling system was failing black children and that no monitoring was being done by ethnicity to assess the scale of the failure.
Carter joined the Inner London Education Authority (ILEA) as a Senior Education Liaison Officer, later becoming the Head of Equal Opportunities.
A respected black rights activist for many years, he sat on the board for the Notting Hill Carnival Committee, and co-founded the Caribbean Teachers Organisation and the Black Theatre Co-operative amongst many others.
During the inner-Party struggles of the 1980s, he was a firm supporter of the revisionist wing of the Party.
In 1986, in collaboration with Jean Coussins, Carter wrote ‘Shattering Illusions – West Indians in British Politics’, a social and political commentary on the interface between
Carter was recommended to receive the Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) from the Queen but declined on three counts: Britain no longer had an Empire, his work on the education of black children was not truly valued by the Prime Minister, and he was still a Communist.
The events in 1989-91 turned Carter’s political world upside down and, after the demise of the CPGB, he joined the Labour Party.
In his last years he seemingly found a means to reconcile a passion for theology with the pride he still took in being a Communist.
Carter died aged 77 at his Archway home in 2008.