THE 1919 CARDIFF RACE RIOTS

“An amazing orgy of pistol firing, window smashing, and skirmishes between white men and coloured men".

Western Mail, June 1919 

 

June 1919 is not a proud moment in the history of Cardiff, but it is one that should not be ignored. Following on from the end of World War I on 11 November 1918, the fighting men slowly returned to their homes in cities, towns, and villages across the land. The world they had left behind had changed profoundly during their absence and they returned as very different people before their enlistment.

 

The four days of the Cardiff Riots in June 1919 involved groups of ex-servicemen, residents and soldiers clash with Yemeni, Somali and Caribbean seamen in front of crowds.

 

As part of this year’s SLSA conference we are delighted to highlight the work of local artist Kyle Legall, National Theatre Wales’ first artist in residence in his work on Cardiff 1919: Riots-Redrawn with his online graphic novel which can be viewed HERE

 

Please be aware that the contents of Cardiff 1919: Riots-Redrawn are based on historical documents and accounts from the event. The images and descriptions of the violence and language used from that time may be offensive to a modern audience. 

 

The project was funded by Art Council of Wales, National Theatre Wales and the Welsh Government.

  

The Aftermath

“A sequel to the recent racial riots at Cardiff was provided at the Swansea Assizes on Monday, when, after nearly three day’s trial, ten men were convicted of rioting, and were sentenced to various terms of hard labour, ranging from twenty months to three months. In the disturbances two whites and an Arab received fatal injuries”. 

Lais Llafur, 26th July 1919, p. 7

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