Lesley Williams is one of several generations of Aboriginal men and women who were incarcerated under the assimilation policy on Cherbourg mission in southern Queensland. Forced to grow up in dire institutional poverty in the 1950s, Lesley later laboured on farms and in suburban houses as an unpaid domestic servant for many years. In adulthood, as a free woman, she bravely pursued the question: where did her wages go? Not Just Black and White tells the story of her struggle to be heard.
Through the death by suicide of her husband, and while raising her children alone and in poverty, Lesley never lost sight of her battle for justice. It is a battle taken up by her daughter, Tammy, who drew upon her mother’s example to reach university, become a delegate to the United Nations, and finally become a barrister at law in Queensland. In 2011 Tammy was named in the International Women’s Day ‘Power of 100’ — a list of 100 women who have helped shape Australia. The Williams’ shared memoir is an inspiring testament to Aboriginal resilience and of two proud black women who simply refused to be the second-class citizens which abusive governments wanted and expected them to be.