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Sir John Carter

(1919—2005) lawyer and diplomatist


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(1919–2005). Guyanese lawyer, politician, and diplomat who was appointed travelling secretary of the League of Coloured Peoples (LCP) during the Second World War. Carter was born in the British colony of British Guiana. He attended Queen's College, Georgetown, and came to London University in 1939 to read law, qualifying as a barrister at the Middle Temple in 1942. During the war years the LCP grew in members and significance, and so did its concern for the welfare of the many military and labour volunteers from the colonies. Another concern was for the large numbers of African-American soldiers in Britain from 1942 onwards. Carter became general and travelling secretary of the LCP in early 1942, using his legal skills to deal with numerous instances of racial discrimination, and also the case of an African-American soldier sentenced to death for rape by a US military court. Carter returned home to British Guiana in 1945, where he led the branch of the LCP in the colony, and established a law practice in Georgetown. He became a member of the legislative council in 1952, and later the first chairman of Forbes Burnham's ruling People's National Congress in 1966. He was appointed a QC in 1962, and knighted when Guyana became independent in 1966. Carter served as Guyana's representative to the United States and Canada (1966–70), the United Nations (1967–9), Britain (1970), where he spent much time involved in race relations work, China, and finally Jamaica. In 1983 he retired and went to live in the United States, where he died.

From The Oxford Companion to Black British History in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: British History.


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