Published: 17:22, 24 September 2020
| Updated: 19:17, 24 September 2020
A man who fought for racial equality in the workplace has been honoured a century after his birth.
A plaque remembering Asquith Xavier was unveiled earlier today in Chatham.
Watch: The ceremony was held at Chatham station this lunchtime
The father-of-seven came to Britain in 1958 from his native Dominica in the West Indies.
He rose to prominence in 1966 after he applied to become a guard at Euston Station, but was turned down as British Railways (BR) only employed white people for the role.
The level of institutionalised racism was so severe, unions and management had informally agreed in the 1950s to ban non-whites from jobs involving contact with the public.
Mr Xavier, who lived in Grove Road, Chatham, refused to back down in the face of racial inequality and fought for his right to hold the position.
Then on July 15 1966, BR announced London stations would abandon the policies and Mr Asquith was offered the job.
He started work on August 15 but was subjected to abuse from bigots, receiving death threats and hate mail, which required him to have police protection.
Speaking today, his granddaugther Camealia Xavier-Chihota, said: "It is such a significant honour that they would put such a big plaque up, but also detailing what my grandad achieved in the '60s in the fight for racial equality.
"It is really significant it is here in Chatham where he resided with his family.
"It is just amazing that we have one here where we can bring our children to learn of his pioneering ways and what he did to achieve racial equality for us.
"Unfortunately, he has been overlooked in present day teaching especially locally, as a local hero really, I think now that the plaque's here schools can visit it, hopefully it will become a focal point of local history."
Chatham Central councillor Sijuwade Adeoye (Lab) said: "So many people have done great work for the fight against racism and it is high time we recognise them.
"The contributions of black people in Medway have come a long way, and not just in 2020.
"Im so happy that he has been recognised here in Chatham where he came from and I'm so proud and elated this is taking place in my ward."
The plaque's installation was organised by rail firm Southeastern.
Its managing director David Statham said: "The courage and determination that Asquith showed in overturning the colour bar at Euston station is still required today.
"There is a long and considerable way to go for us to make sure we continue that work that was begun by Asquith.
"We are here today to celebrate that conviction and coverage."