Eric Derwent Walrond (December 18, 1898 - August 8, 1966) was an African-American Harlem Renaissance writer and journalist, who made a lasting contribution to literature; his work remains in print today as a classic of its era. He was well-travelled, being born in Georgetown, Guyana (British Guiana) the son of a Barbadian mother and a Guyanese father, moving early in life to live in Barbados, and then Panama, New York, and eventually England.
Cy Grant, musician, author, artist joined the RAF in 1943. Shot down over Holland, he was incarcerated in a German POW camp and escaped to Brussels in 1945. Click for his memorable story… “I came to Britain from Guyana (then British Guiana) in 1941 to join the Royal Air Force. Just one year before, no 'man of colour' would have been allowed to join; but crises change attitudes and... in 1953 I was actually commissioned, becoming one of the very few black Officers in the RAF..."
Percy Verwayne (1895-1968) the original Sportin' Life in the 1927 Broadway play, "Porgy," the precursor to the iconic "Porgy and Bess." An ex-athlete, he was robbed of 75 cents by a foolish teen near his home in 1941. The NY Amsterdam News gleefully reported, "When the mugger tried to run away, Verwayne chased him for a block, grabbed him by the seat of his trousers and socked him into submission. When the cops arrived, he was in complete control of the situation." I'll bet he was! Photo…
Ken 'Snakehips' Johnson - He was killed in March 1941 in the London Blitz while performing with his band, The West Indian Orchestra. Johnson, came to Britain from Guyana at age fifteen and was on his way to changing the British music industry. He was well-established throughout the UK due to his regular appearances on BBC radio and was famous when he died at age 26.