In the years following World War I, the black population in Britain's port cities increased as a result of an influx of West Indian and African seamen who had been discharged from His Majesty's Service. Many of these new arrivals, along with long-term residents, suffered as post-World War I economic conditions worsened, causing hostility from the host communities to increase. Blacks in cities such as Liverpool not only had to endure overt racial attacks, but they were also victims of hidden racism.
There was no legal segregation in Liverpool, and just as many whites as blacks lived within Toxteth, an area in the city's south end near the docks. Blacks and whites mixed freely in the area's numerous pubs, and black men often married white women. Despite the city's historical relationship with the slave trade and slavery, many of those who lived in Liverpool during the 1920s and 1930s accepted the pervasive myth of racial harmony in the city. However, some blacks who were more observant recognized that they were being denied adequate economic and social opportunities. Indeed, the city was not free of racial prejudice. In reality, the legacy of the slave trade and slavery and the negative stereotypes of blacks which had been developed over many years were so ingrained in the minds, hearts, attitudes and actions of many Liverpudlians that, wittingly and unwittingly, racism adversely affected the quality of life for black people in the city.