Sally Tomlinson was born in Stockport, where her grandfather was a foreman in a textile mill. She went to university in Liverpool, a major slave trading port under empire. Her first primary school job was teaching children from the Caribbean and Asian subcontinent in Wolverhampton in the year Enoch Powell was making his anti-immigrant speeches. She has worked in universities in Warwick, Lancaster, Goldsmiths London and Oxford, and has spent her career teaching, researching and writing in the areas of race and ethnicity, education policy and special education. She was trustee of the Africa Educational Trust for twenty years and worked for the trust in Somaliland, Kenya and South Africa.

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Danny Dorling grew up in Oxford during the years when most boys still went to work in the car factory. Two of his three brothers are mixed race. The National Front spray-painted swastikas on the subway walls in the town and, once, on the fence of the house he grew up in. He went to university in Newcastle upon Tyne and stayed there for ten years. The majority of house- holds had no adult in work in the city as the shipyard cranes stood still. Danny moved to Bristol, Leeds, Sheffield and then back to Oxford, spending a few months working in New Zealand in between, where he first saw the word ‘Manchester’ used in supermarkets to mean cotton goods.

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