HAPPY WINDRUSH DAY!!!

Today is a celebratory day, and it should be recognised as that. Happy Windrush day! It isn’t something that has been celebrated or acknowledged in recent history. First introduced on the 22nd June 2018 after a successful campaign by Patrick Vernon, it is not a bank holiday but instead an observed day.

Credit: GETTY

Today we celebrate the Caribbean community and the contribution that they made to post World War Two England. The Second World War left a void in many areas of the economy. A call was made to the commonwealth citizens to help rebuild the community and adverts placed around the Caribbean islands was answered by many.


Credit: Daily Gleaner, GETTY 

The first of which (802 migrants) came over on 22nd June 1948 on the HMT Empire Windrush. I don’t want to make this post about the scandal, you may read about that over in my article A racist country, led by a racist prime minister: WINDRUSH SCANDAL PART 1. Part 2, coming soon.

As mentioned before. My mother was a Windrush child. My grandfather came over first, worked hard and eventually sent for my mother and my great-grandmother (his mother).

Grandad and I, Dominica 2004

She came over with her grandmother and some of her cousins. She barely spoke English when she arrived, faced bullying, harassment and extreme racism, something I grew up hearing stories of. 

My great-grandmother, my mother (on her lap) and my mothers cousins. Bradford, late 1960s
Mum, Bradford 1960.

My father came over after immigration adjustments were made to curb in the influx of commonwealth citizens to the UK, on a student visa. He studied at University to become a nurse. He was still training when he met my mother, who had not yet embarked on her own NHS career and was working as a clerk typist for a travel agency in London. They met at All Nations nightclub on the 16th April 1977. The rest, as they say, is history.

Mum – Derby, 1970s.
Mum and Dad, August 1978

My parents have spent over 70 years combined, working for the NHS. But that was not the only area that migrants from the commonwealth came and worked in. During the war ‘thousands of Caribbean men and women had been recruited to serve in the armed forces.’ You can learn more about this by heading over to Black Poppy Rose 

My black poppy rose, worn with pride.

Post-War Britain found plenty of work within various industries, not just the National Health Service but also British Rail etc.

Like my mother, although encouraged to come to the UK with immigration campaigns by the government, many were subjected to great prejudice and extreme racism. The 1958 attacks in Notting Hill London, led to the first Caribbean Carnival on the 30th January 1959. A celebration of what is it to be Caribbean, and what would later become the Notting Hill Carnival that still carries on today.

Credit: GETTY

So today I would like to show my own gratitude and appreciation for the Windrush generation, the sacrifices they made and the hardships they went through while assisting post-war Britain. 

HAPPY WINDRUSH DAY!!!

A ship carrying West Indian people arrives at Southampton docks in 1956
Photograph: Haywood Magee/Getty Images
People carry their belongings as they arrive in Southampton
Photograph: Bentley/Popperfoto/Getty Images
A group of women from Jamaica buy train tickets at Gatwick airport in 1962
Photograph: Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images
West Indian people wait in the customs hall at Southampton in June 1956
Photograph: Hulton Deutsch/Corbis via Getty Images
A group of men wait outside the labour exchange in Liverpool in 1949
Photograph: Hulton Deutsch/Corbis via Getty Images
A newly arrived couple travel by train to London
Photograph: Haywood Magee/Getty Images
A child takes a nap after a long journey to Victoria station in London
Photograph: Daily Herald Archive/SSPL via Getty Images

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