The Life and Times of E. R. Braithwaite

The Life and Times of E. R. Braithwaite

Honorary White, Reluctant Neighbors, and A Kind of Homecoming

E. R. Braithwaite


  • Description
  • Author
  • Info
  • Reviews


Three compelling memoirs from the author of the “moving and inspiring” international bestseller, To Sir, With Love (The New York Times).
E. R. Braithwaite wrote powerfully and poignantly about racial discrimination—both in his most famous novel, based on his own experience teaching in London’s East End, To Sir, With Love, which was made into a 1967 film starring Sidney Poitier—and in his candid nonfiction memoirs, three of which are collected here.
Honorary White: In 1973, after the South African government lifted a long-standing ban on To Sir, With Love, Braithwaite was granted the official status of “Honorary White” for the length of his six-week visit. As such, he was afforded some of the freedoms that South Africa’s black population was denied, yet was nonetheless still considered inferior by the white establishment. In this “vivid” memoir, Braithwaite honestly presents his struggle with what he witnesses in South Africa under apartheid (The New York Times).
Reluctant Neighbors: Sparked by the experience of sharing a train commute with a bigoted white neighbor, Braithwaite recounts a personal history of remarkable accomplishments in the face of racial intolerance and oppression, offering an unforgettable story of one man’s continuous struggle against injustice and his unwavering dedication to the pursuit of human dignity.
A Kind of Homecoming: In the early 1960s, the British Guianese author embarked on a pilgrimage to the West African countries of Ghana, Guinea, and Liberia, and across Sierra Leone just as the emerging nation was preparing to declare its independence. Braithwaite discovered a world vastly different from the staid, firmly established British society in which he had spent most of his life. The sights, sounds, and smells of West Africa vividly reawakened lost memories from his childhood. Entering the intimate circles of the local intelligentsia, he was able to view these newly evolving African societies from the inside, struck by their mixtures of passion and naïveté, their political obsessions and technological indifference. He discovered a world that fascinated, excited, and, in some cases, deeply troubled him—and in the process he discovered himself.


E. R. Braithwaite:
E. R. Braithwaite was born in British Guiana (now Guyana) in 1912. Educated at the City College of New York and the University of Cambridge, he served in the Royal Air Force during World War II. Braithwaite spent 1950 to 1960 in London, first as a schoolteacher and then as a welfare worker—experiences he described in To Sir, With Love and Paid Servant, respectively. In 1966 he was appointed Guyana’s ambassador and permanent representative to the United Nations. He also held positions at the World Veterans Federation and UNESCO, was a professor of English at New York University’s Institute for Afro-American Affairs, taught creative writing at Howard University, and was the author of five nonfiction books and two novels. He passed away in 2016 at the age of 104.