Letters - 25 September 2020

From Judy Clinton (1953-2019) to Words and what goes on

Judy Clinton (1953-2019)

We are compiling a tribute book to writer and workshop-leader Judy Clinton who helped hundreds of people, especially Quakers, through her Writing the Spirit workshops, and we are seeking tributes from anyone who knew her. 

Judy was a member of Gloucestershire Area Meeting and attended Cheltenham and Painswick. Her workshops were held in many Quaker centres.

Here is an extract she wrote describing when she was six – the start of her intuitive writing!

‘I lay on my back and stared up into the sky. I was six years old. The sky was blue, with white churned-up clouds scudding across it, covering and then revealing the sun. I loved looking at this movie-show and saw pictures forming and dissolving.

‘I remember wondering how many ladders I would have to put, one on top of the other, to reach the top of the sky. Closely linked in my mind then was the urge to write a book.

‘I rushed upstairs, grabbed an old exercise book and wrote. I didn’t know what to write, and I didn’t know how to do it, even if I had the ideas. Somewhere, deep inside, the intention had been set, and the connection with the enormity of the heavens had been made.’

Contributions, please, to: swithinfry@gmail.com.

(Judy’s mentor was Quaker Gillie Bolton who wrote the original Writing the Spirit book as well as many others, and still runs writing workshops.)

With thanks,
Patrick Callaghan and Swithin Fry

Cadbury Brothers

Like Susan Groves of Bournville Meeting (11 September) the killing of George Floyd and the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement prompted the trustees and staff of the Barrow Cadbury Trust to examine the origins of its endowment. The Trust has a Quaker heritage and many of its trustees are direct descendants of Barrow and Geraldine S Cadbury. 

As a result, I wrote a blog in July for our website and in doing so examined the history of how Cadbury Brothers dealt with the issue of indentured labour or slavery in Portuguese West Africa to which Susan Groves refers.  The entire story is set out in a blog by Lindsey Fleming entitled ‘William Cadbury, Chocolate and Slavery in Portuguese West Africa’.

Our conclusion was that although eventually Cadbury Brothers disinvested in plantations that used slave labour, it took some time and this may have been driven by the need to find an alternative supply of raw cocoa. Alternatively, the concern of William Cadbury was not supported by his fellow board members, two of whom were George and Barrow Cadbury.

As trustees we have acknowledged that our forebear’s decisions may have been dilatory at best and morally wrong.

At the Barrow Cadbury Trust that knowledge has helped us to look anew at how we use our funds to challenge racial inequality and tackle racism through our grant making and advocacy.

But it also reminds us to ask how future generations will see our generation’s participation in the inhumane treatment of people in modern times, the environmental crisis and many other pressing issues. And we may be found equally culpable. 
Erica Cadbury

There are many books about Cadbury Brothers and slave-grown cocoa and the company message was simple: ‘If we stop buying cocoa we cannot influence labour policy.’ But when pleading failed to end slavery the company did stop buying slave-grown cocoa.

David Birmingham

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