In the early 1960s, Sharon Maas left her life in Guyana (then known as ‘British Guiana’) and moved to the UK. It was there that she attended Harrogate Ladies’ college, where she was the only Black girl.

Sharon had been raised in a world where all people were equal. As the daughter of Eileen Cox, one of Guyana’s earliest feminists, and David Westmaas, Press Secretary for Dr. Cheddi Jagan, this idea was the norm. But her time at Harrogate Ladies’ college shattered her view of reality.

In an interview with the Daily Mail, she explains that ‘It’s one thing to know, intellectually, that people of all colours and races are equal. It’s quite another to ignore the reality that was out there in plain sight. White people were at the top of the racial pyramid, and the lighter you were the easier it would be to rise.’

Her memoir, The Girl From Lamaha Street, is a story she hopes will resonate with other dark-skinned people. Being the only Black girl in school during the 1960s had its difficulties. However, Sharon says that ‘the long lens of time has brought not only deeper love and understanding, but compassion and, where needed, closure.’

Read more in this Daily Mail piece. 

A front view of Harrogate Ladies’ College

The Girl from Lamaha Street

Sharon Maas

Published: 07 April 2022

Perhaps it’s true that absence makes the heart grow fonder. But I wouldn’t have known this if I hadn’t left it all behind to discover where my home truly was…

Sharon Maas