George Copeland Grant (9 May 1907 – 26 October 1978), known as Jackie Grant, was a West Indian cricketer who captained the side through several series. He was the first player in the history of test cricket to score two unbeaten fifties in the same test match.
|Test debut||12 December 1930 v Australia|
|Last Test||14 March 1935 v England|
Source: CricInfo, 30 May 2019
Grant went on to be a teacher at a mission school called Adams College near Durban. This school was forcibly closed as part of Apartheid punitive education laws and Grant recorded the school's defeat in his book The Liquidation of Adams College. Adams College was later recreated and it is extant.
Grant was born in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. He was educated at Queen's Royal College in his home city before he gained a place at Christ's College, Cambridge. Grant played first class cricket for the university.
In 1930 he was offered the post of captain of the West Indies national cricket team. This was an unusual appointment as he wasn't a member of that team. More recent analysis indicates that Grant was chosen not because of his cricket ability which was competent and unexceptional but because of his race. At the time it was considered essential that the team be led by a white man despite the fact that the best members of that team were black. Selection bodies considered that if a leader was required then a white man was required. (His team included Learie Constantine, who was black and who was later to be made Baron Constantine after being a leader as a Cabinet minister and as a High Commissioner for his country.)
The Trinidad and Tobago team also included George Headley and the fast bowlers Herman Griffith and Manny Martindale. This was the real strength of the team. Grant captained the West Indies' team in the 1930-31, 1933, 1934-35 series. West Indies won three out of 12 Tests under his captaincy. At the same time as his cricket career Grant also played soccer for the Trinidad and Tobago national team.
His younger brother Rolph Grant later took over the captaincy of the West Indies' side. "Jackie" had two other brothers who played cricket but without the same level of success. Rolph was not always picked for his university team and was not a first class cricketer, but he was a gifted sportsman being a national amateur footballer and being heavyweight boxing champion for his country. Later pundits put Rolph's selection down clearly to his race.
George Copeland Grant was on the teaching staff of Adams College in South Africa where cricket had been introduced to the school in the 1930s. Copeland Grant raised the status of the game around Durban and made Adams the centre of this new sport.
Between 1933 and 1945 the school became one of the most important schools for black education. There was a poor patch until a new white head, Jack Grant, arrived from Trinidad in 1948. He did well, but Adams College faced major opposition from the government as the Bantu Education Act came into force. The government wanted black students to be prepared for menial jobs under white bosses and this was the opposite of what Adams was trying to achieve. The minister allowed the nearby Inanda Seminary School, for girls, to operate outside the act, but in 1956, it got to an ultimatum and the staff refused to stop teaching academic and aspirational education.
The school held a service to mark the end of its operation. Grant took a leading role in this service when he paraphrased Hugh Latimer to say: "Be of good cheer, Adams College, we have these years lit a flame in South Africa as I trust will never be put out". The school was sold to the government and the head left South Africa. The important item was the school was not able to be called "Adams".
This shocking end of a leading school was documented by George C. Grant in his book The Liquidation of Adams College.
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- Grant, George C (1955). The Liquidation of Adams College. 1957.
- "Jackie Grant", espncricinfo.com, accessed 8 August 2013.