Windrush Day – Saturday 22 June – starts off a summer of events at the Black Cultural Archives (BCA) in Brixton.
When the converted troopship HMT Empire Windrush docked in Tilbury on 22 June 1948, few people could have predicted that the arrival of its pioneering passengers from the Caribbean would become an iconic moment in British history. Last year’s celebrations of their contributions to British culture and society contrasted with revelations about the government’s inept and callous treatment of these members of the ‘Windrush Generation’. The after-shocks of those officially sanctioned injustices are still creating stress in families and communities.
So this is a good moment to look again at the whole subject of citizenship and identity, which is what the BCA is doing with its exhibition ‘Windrush: Looking Back, Moving Forward’ (price £3). It focuses on how governments used legislation to define who is, or is not, British. At 12.30pm on Wednesdays 3, 10, 17, 24 and 31 July there will be 30-minute-long guided tours of the exhibition (£5).
On Windrush Day itself, next to Windrush Square, Brixton, there will be a special Windrush Family Day, with vegetarian and vegan food, jerk chicken, live entertainment, and stalls selling books, arts, crafts and clothing. At 2pm and 3pm, children can enjoy free story-telling sessions (book a place on BCA’s Eventbrite page).
In the evening, the Ritzy in Brixton will be screening Hero, Frances-Anne Solomon’s film about Ulric Cross. Born in Port of Spain in 1917, Cross started out as a copy editor the Trinidad Guardian newspaper before entering the civil service. He then joined the RAF, where his medals (DFC and DSO) testify to his courage. Post-war, he studied, practised and taught law in the Caribbean and West Africa, and served as a High Court judge and T&T High Commissioner to the UK. After the film, Solomon will conduct a Q&A session (cost: £20 + booking fee).
As part of the Windrush season, BCA Friends host an evening with writer, story-teller and cultural historian Sandra Agard on Thursday 4 July (£7 + booking fee). There will also be a full-day exploration of the lives of ‘Women of Windrush’ – the celebrated Windrush stowaway Evelyn Wauchape, entertainer Mona Baptiste and nurse Edna Chavannes. Arthur Torrington of the Windrush Foundation will lead a Q&A session. The event runs from 10.30am to 4.30pm on Saturday 6 July and costs £10.
- For details, go to: https://blackculturalarchives.org/exhibitionsandevents