Papers of the Race Relations Board, the Community Relations Commission and the Commission for Racial Equality.

Scope and Content

This collection consists of material which was originally part of the library collection of the Commission for Racial
Equality. It includes papers relating to the work of the Commission for Racial Equality and its predecessor
organisations: the Race Relations Board and its regional Conciliation Committees and the Community Relations
Commission. It also contains reference material concerning race relations legislation and subjects such as housing, immigration and employment in the context of race relations and racial discrimination. In addition the collection includes a number of reports produced by other organisations such as the Runnymede Trust, the National Committee for Commonwealth Immigrants and the Institute of Race Relations.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Race Relations Act of 1965 was the first legislation relating to racial discrimination to be introduced in the
United Kingdom. The Act led to the establishment of the Race Relations Board in 1966. The Race Relations Board
was a statutory body appointed by the Home Secretary and assisted by regional conciliation committees composed
of people who served in a voluntary capacity. The conciliation committees examined complaints of racial
discrimination made under the Race Relations Act.

The Race Relations Act was strengthened in 1968 to encompass the areas of employment and housing in relation to
racial discrimination. The Community Relations Commission was established under the 1968 Act "to encourage the
establishment of, and to assist others to take steps to secure the establishment of, harmonious community relations
and to co-ordinate on a national basis the measures adopted for that purpose by others". The Commission was
empowered by the Act to establish services for giving advice on community relations to local authorities and other
local organisations, collecting information, providing training courses, and arranging and promoting conferences
relating to community relations.

The Community Relations Commission supported the work of local community councils in administrative and
constitutional matters. The councils were independent bodies and worked with local groups to offer advice on
community relations matters, and established sub-committees to deal with matters such as education,
employment, housing and social welfare.

The powers of the Race Relations Act were further extended by the creation of the 1976 Act. This followed the
establishment of a Select Committee on Race Relations and Immigration which demonstrated the need for greater
legal powers. The Race Relations Act of 1976 broadened the definition of discrimination to include indirect
discrimination which disadvantaged a particular racial group.

The Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) was created by the Race Relations Act of 1976, replacing the Race Relations
Board. It commenced its work on 13 June 1977 and included former officers from the Race Relations Board and the
Community Relations Commission. The CRE merged with the Disability Rights Commission and Equal
Opportunities Commission in October 2007 to form the Equality and Human Rights Commission.


The collection is arranged into the following series:

  • 1. Race Relations Board
  • 2. Conciliation Committees of the Race Relations Board
  • 3. Community Relations Commission
  • 4. Commission for Racial Equality
  • 5. Papers relating to race relations legislation
  • 6. Papers relating to housing
  • 7. Papers relating to immigration
  • 8. Papers relating to employment
  • 9. Further papers relating to racial discrimination
  • 10. Additional material
  • 11. Newsletters and publications

Access Information

24 hours notice is required to view this collection. Material will then be accessible through Manchester Central Library Search Room, Manchester Central Library, St Peters Square, Manchester, M2 5PD. To access this collection please: Contact the archive

Access conditions apply to a small number of records in this collection.