USA to Bristol
Lois Patricia Hauser, known as ‘Peaches’ Golding, was born on 13th December 1953 in Spartanburg, South Carolina. Her immediate family was one of a small group of middle-class Black families in the American South. Though better educated and better off than most African American families, they were still subject to segregation and racial discrimination. And the reason for their relative advantage itself had its roots in injustice and slavery.
How did a little Black girl born under racist ‘Jim Crow’ laws as a descendant of an enslaved woman, come to be appointed the Lord Lieutenant of Bristol and personal representative of the monarch? Here is her remarkable story.
Golding’s great great grandparents Bethania (1840-1934) and Theophilus Hauser (1810-1887). Bethania was an enslaved woman and Theophilus a North Carolina plantation owner who bought her for $426 in 1853. Although married, he fathered three children by her.
A document listing Theophilus’s slaves in 1858. Bethania is now valued at $850. She learned to read and write which helped her descendants become better off than most African Americans.
The ‘Hauser boys’, a crew of farm labourers, c.1900. The white foremen and Black labourers may have been related. After the abolition of slavery, many former slaves remained trapped on the plantations paying rent through crops in a cycle of debt bondage.
Golding’s’ grandmother Callie Victoria Hauser (1899-1983), one of Bethania’s grandchildren, and her husband Daniel Montgomery (1892- 1965). Both were born into a South dominated by Jim Crow laws and lived to see the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement. They fought successfully to get secondary education for Black people in their community.
Golding’s father Charlie Brady Hauser serving as a G.I. in France c 1945. He and his twelve siblings all had degrees from Black universities and Charlie later became a Professor of Education and a representative in the North Carolina General Assembly.
Charlie with Rosa Parks, c.1970s, at an event honouring them both as pioneers in the American Civil Rights Movement. In 1947 Charlie successfully sued a bus company after being threatened with lynching for refusing to sit at the back. This was eight years before Rosa’s action in Montgomery that, in turn, inspired the bus boycott in Bristol.
My father was not so much a civil rights activist as one who knew his self-worth and the law… he successfully challenged Greyhound Bus when they broke the law by demanding that he sat at the back of the bus… He was awarded damages of $2,000 [and] used the money to buy a car so that he would never have to ride the buses again.
A greetings card from 1975 showing Golding at the University of North Carolina where she gained her Biology degree and was one of the very few Black students.
Golding worked as a teacher in Nigeria where she met her husband, the Bristol-born zoologist Bob Golding.
Golding with her husband at Windsor Castle after receiving her OBE in 2009 for services to minority ethnic people. The couple moved to Bristol in 1983 where Golding established a business and worked for a range of causes focused on youth opportunity, race equality, mental health and education.
In 2010 Golding became the first Black female High Sheriff before being appointed in 2017 as Lord-Lieutenant of Bristol, the first Black woman to hold this post. Shown here with the Prince of Wales, she is the personal representative of the monarch in the city. She has served on a range of organisations’ boards including the Ethnic Minority Business Forum and the Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust.
One of the roles of Lord-Lieutenants is to try to bring the country and regions together…. it is an enormous privilege to represent the Queen, and to reflect the spirit, diversity and enterprise of the people of Bristol back to the royal family.
All images are by kind permission of Peaches Golding.