Ann Dummett: A champion of equality

Ann Dummett: A champion of equality

Ann Dummett

Ann Dummett and family

First published in Obituaries

Ann Dummett, a prominent campaigner against racism and a leading expert on British nationality law has died, aged 81.

Mrs Dummett, of Park Town, Oxford, died on February 7.

She was born in London to character actor Arthur Chesney and his wife Kitty, and was a child prodigy who could read at the age of two.

She went to school in Pimlico, and Hertfordshire after fleeing the Blitz, and went on to win a scholarship to read history at Somerville College, Oxford.

Her husband Prof Michael Dummett had a reputation as one of Britain’s most original philosophers. In 1964, the couple became concerned about racism and, with Evan Luard, Oxford’s former Labour MP, founded the Oxford Committee for Racial Integration, forerunner to Oxfordshire Council for Community Relations.

Ann Dummett married Prof Dummet in 1951 and the couple had seven children, two of whom died at an early age.

After 14 years looking after her children, Mrs Dummett became Oxford’s first full-time community relations officer. She recorded her experiences in the groundbreaking book A Portrait of English Racism, published in 1973 in which she wrote of her hopes for a racially mixed, equal society.

She went on to head the Runnymede Trust, the independent race equality think tank, from 1984 to 1987.

Prof Dummett died aged 86 in December, four days before the couple were due to celebrate their Diamond Wedding anniversary.

Lifelong friend Jill Kaye said: “We all knew she was special.

“I remember being at the British Museum when we were five or six and an old chap gave her sixpence – he was impressed she was translating Ancient Greek from the Rosetta Stone.”

Mrs Dummett’s funeral was held yesterday at St Aloysius Church in Woodstock Road, North Oxford.

The couple leave five children, Chris, Andy, Suzie, Tessa, and Paul.

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