14 December 2021 / Events
Online – Windrush & Beyond: Voices of Black Britain
WINDRUSH AND BEYOND: VOICES OF BLACK BRITAIN
This lecture will be given via Zoom Webinar. Please book on this page and we will email you the live link 24 hours before the event.
The arrival of the Windrush Empire at Tilbury Docks on 22nd June 1948 heralded a wave of migration from the West Indies, which would eventually bring 500,000 Commonwealth citizens to settle in Britain between 1948 and 1973. Those who had come as children arrived on their parents’ passports, common practice at that time. From 2014 onward, many of the Windrush generation were deemed illegal immigrants as landing cards proving their right to remain in the UK had been destroyed by the Home Office. As a result, some were deported or placed in immigration detention; many lost their jobs and livelihoods. Despite a government apology in 2018 and creation of the Windrush Compensation Scheme in 2019, as of September 2021, only 25% of those eligible had received compensation.
As Patrick Vernon OBE notes: “As a country, we don’t recognise the Windrush generation’s contribution… their art and politics had a major impact on the community.” Windrush and Beyond: Voices of Black Britain celebrates the lives and stories of the Windrush generation, these women and men who helped shape the recovery of post-war Britain. This rehearsed reading features excerpts from Samuel Selvon’s Eldorado West One (1988), Caryl Phillips’ Where There is Darkness (1982), Testament’s Black Men Walking (2018), and poetry by Grace Nichols, Denniston Stewart and John Agard FRSL. Eldorado West One revisits characters from Selvon’s The Lonely Londoners, one of the first novels detailing the lives of the first arrivals following the 1948 British Nationality Act. In Where There is Darkness, a West Indian man reflects upon 20 years in England. Poems and Black Men Walking by rapper Testament honour the contribution of the Windrush generation to today’s Britain.
Speaker: Performance curated by Dr. Valerie Kaneko-Lucas, Society for Theatre Research Events Co-ordinator.