• Patrick Vernon & the Ubele Initiative Launch Covid-19 Bereavement Fund

  • Keep Mary Seacole on the National Curriculum

    Keep Mary Seacole on the National Curriculum

  • Diaspora Family History

  • Who do you think you are?

    Who do you think you are?

  • Harlesden Routes

    Harlesden Routes

  • Windrush Commemorative magazine 2018

    Windrush Commemorative magazine 2018

  • Books

  • 100 Great Black Britons book

    100 Great Black Britons book

  • 100 Great Black Britons book and game

    100 Great Black Britons book and game

  • Black History Month - Origins

    Black History Month - Origins

  • Masters of the Airwaves: Pirate radio

    Masters of the Airwaves: Pirate radio

  • Reclaiming Our Family History

    Reclaiming Our Family History

Patrick Vernon & the Ubele Initiative Launch Covid-19 Bereavement Fund

Frontline staff from BAME backgrounds have lost their lives to Covid-19 throughout the past weeks, with the BAME community disproportionately affected by the virus. Figures from NHS England show that of patients in hospital testing positive... Read more...

Keep Mary Seacole on the National Curriculum

Keep Mary Seacole on the National Curriculum A new campaign is calling on the community to sign a petition opposing the government's proposals to remove Mary Seacole from the National Curriculum. Campaigners are opposed to the government's moves and wish to see Mary Seacole retained s... Read more...

Diaspora Family History

A world history perspective is essential in understanding the complexity of family history from an African, Caribbean and Black British context. Exploring and defining the African diaspora can be useful using the following historical dimens... Read more...

Who do you think you are?

Who do you think you are? Local residents from the Harlesden Routes family history programme went to Olympia in London on Saturday 23 February 2013 to attend the popular BBC1 TV family history show Who do you think you are. Read more...

Harlesden Routes

Harlesden Routes Harlesden Routes is a free family history programme which will run between January to March 2013 to support local people in taking the first steps in learning and researching their family history. We are looking for committed individuals wh... Read more...

Windrush Commemorative magazine 2018

Windrush Commemorative magazine 2018 issuu.com We provide personal narratives, insight, comments and reflections highlighting the Windrush Generation who came to Britain to those born in the Millennium and the diversity of migration over the last 70 years from the Commonweal... Read more...

Books

Publications Every generation Media have compiled an excellent reading list with a selection of the books available to assist with your genealogy family research Amazon.co.uk Widgets Read more...

100 Great Black Britons book

100 Great Black Britons book Robinson snaps up 100 Great Black Britons book Little, Brown imprint Robinson will publish Patrick Vernon and Dr Angeline Osborne’s book 100 Great Black Britons to coincide with the announcement of the new list in 2020. Vernon’s first cam... Read more...

100 Great Black Britons book and game

100 Great Black Britons book and game Launching Oct 2020: As part of the 100 Great Black Britons campaign a book co-written by Patrick Vernon OBE and Dr Angelina Osborne, will be published later this year along with a board game celebrating important Black British figures and ... Read more...

Black History Month - Origins

Black History Month - Origins The conception and notion of Black Ephemera describes not only the process and how negatives images were created but also how they can be challenged and provide positive and alternative perspectives. This is why the creation and development... Read more...

Masters of the Airwaves: Pirate radio

Masters of the Airwaves: Pirate radio The book tells the story of the birth of black music radio in Britain in the seventies. It starts out with a few black music shows on legal radio, leading on to the black music pirate radio boom, and culminating with legal, black music radi... Read more...

Reclaiming Our Family History

Reclaiming Our Family History WITH THE recent launch of the online database Legacies of British Slave-ownership project, which provides details of the £20 million paid to slave owners, key issues have been raised not only about the whole debate regarding reparations and... Read more...
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The Windrush Generation Legacy

Windrush Docking

The transformation of post war Britain started on 21 June 1948 with the first major wave of migration, the docking of MV Empire Windrush at Tilbury with 492 men and women from Jamaica and Trinidad. Although there has been a black presence in Britain since Roman times and at one stage 10,000 black people lived in London during the 17th Century.

The impact of the Windrush Generation, and other Commonwealth nationals from Africa, India and Pakistan arriving during this period, played a significant role in shaping and creating modern Britain.

In many ways they helped to put the ‘Great’ into Great Britain by contributing to one of the most successful post war economies in Europe and also making us one of the most vibrant and tolerant multi cultural societies in the world.

Despite the colour bar and the infamous slogan ‘No Blacks, Dogs or Irish’, the Caribbean community embraced Britain in the belief learned from their colonial education that the ‘Mother Country’ cared and valued all its subjects. This was highlighted earlier when over 10,000 Caribbean men and women volunteered during World War II along with 140,00 from Africa.

Their hopes and aspirations were never fully realised as they were treated as second class citizens in terms of access to education, employment, housing and treatment by the police. They had to endure hardship and make sacrifices which they suffered in silence and kept hidden from their families. In addition, there was violence and hostility leading to race riots, uprisings and the growth of fascism on the streets in Britain where black and other ethnic minority communities lived in a fearful and unstable environment.

This was because politicians failed to tell the British public at the time that people from the Commonwealth were coming here to work in partnership to make Britain a better place for every one. Like the working class in Britain, people from the Commonwealth also had to deal with poverty and inequality aggravated by the Second World War. The seeds of poverty were in the 1930s with the working class taking action with the Jarrow March in Britain and major strike action and unrest in the Caribbean. In 1938 a Royal Commission was established called the Moyne Report which reported on the poverty and social inequality across the whole Caribbean. The report was also a project to test out the suitability of black people for self government. The recommendations were subsequently buried and not released till after World War II. Thus whether you came from whether Lancashire or Yorkshire, the Midlands, Jamaica, Barbados, Nigeria, Ghana, India or Sri Lanka, the working class internationally were in the same boat.

One of the key contributions of the Windrush Generation is making White Britain more civilised based on the shared acknowledgment of social injustice and the values of hard work, tolerance and respect. The long history and campaigns for racial equality and against the colour bar from the 1950s to the 1970s was the British equivalent of the civil rights movement. Race relations and subsequent human rights legislation on gender, disability and sexual orientation have made Britain more human and socially aware.

This was reinforced by cultural dialogue on musical taste, food and life style, and relationships by which Black, White, Asian and other communities created the multicultural nature, ethos and lifestyle which are now an accepted part of mainstream thinking and society.

The Windrush Generation is now disappearing as many of these pioneers are passing away or suffering from long term health conditions or languishing in residential and nursing homes, although a number emigrated back to the Caribbean. We need to acknowledge and preserve the legacy of these individuals and families that came during WW2 and after 1948 as part of the collective and symbolic generation called the Windrush Generation who laid the foundation and back bone of Black Britons and shaped the dynamics of social, cultural and political life over the last 60 years.

Despite the Stephen Lawrence inquiry, Human rights legislation and equalities impact assessment, racial inequalities are getting wider. The Caribbean, African diaspora communities are now forging a Black British identity no longer seeing the Labour Party as their natural home as the Tories tap into this frustration by selecting more black candidates in winnable seats as well as wooing active members of the Labour party at local level to switch allegiances running up to the general election in 2010. However, we know in the Labour movement that there is no genuine commitment to equality by the Tories or other political parties at Westminster. All is not lost as Labour Party still has time to engage with second and third generation of Black Britons to show that Labour still cares, values their contribution and is the party for social justice for the democratic left.

One of the most fitting tributes we can make as a nation is to consider having a national holiday to remind everyone of how today’s Britain came about as a result of the Windrush Generation and to promote the on-going discussion about migrant workers and refugee communities who are now at the bottom of the pile just like those who arrived on the MV Empire Windrush ship in 1948.


100 Great Black Britons