An Intimate History of the British Empire

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Biography, Book/Video Reviews, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2019-10-11 01:56Z by Steven

An Intimate History of the British Empire

The New Yorker
2019-10-09

Maya Binyam


Hazel Carby as a child. Photograph Courtesy Hazel Carby

In “Imperial Intimacies,” Hazel Carby weaves together the story of colonialism and the story of her family.

After Carl Carby arrived in England from Jamaica, in 1943, he wore starched shirts, polished dress shoes, and neatly knotted ties. He was from the colonies, but his mannerisms evinced a restrained, British sensibility. Like most early immigrants from the Caribbean, he was expected to provide a service: his entrance to England was predicated on his employment as a bomber pilot in the Royal Air Force, which recruited around six thousand people from England’s “black colonies” to fight in the Second World War. At a dance in Worcester, he met Iris Leaworthy, a young, white Welsh woman who worked as a civil servant in the Air Ministry, and the two bonded over the surprising similarities of their upbringings. Both had grown up in poverty. As schoolchildren, each donned a starched uniform and, on Empire Day, a holiday designed to instill in children a feeling of belonging to a great nation, waved the Union Jack. When England went to war, both of them enthusiastically offered their service. The pair soon married, and had a daughter named Hazel. To her, Carl spoke little of Jamaica. “It was as if he had been born an airman in the Royal Air Force,” Hazel Carby writes in “Imperial Intimacies,” her new book of political history, which came out last month…

Read the entire review here.

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Archive Fever

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Biography, Book/Video Reviews, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2019-10-07 01:23Z by Steven

Archive Fever

Bookforum
2019-10-03

Tiana Reid, Ph.D. Candidate
Department of English and Comparative Literature
Columbia University, New York, New York

Autobiography and archival research collide in Hazel Carby’s memoir

Imperial Intimacies: A Tale of Two Islands by Hazel V. Carby. Verso. 416 pages. $29.

“Are we going to burn it?” A question about the fate of the future concludes Hazel Carby’s Race Men (1998), a powerful academic book about suffocating representations of black American masculinities based on a lecture the author delivered at Harvard. In her newest book, Carby is already burnt, the result of a smoldered past. “Imperial Intimacies is a very British story,” she writes in the preface. It is also her story: about growing up after World War II, about her childhood in the area now known as South London, about the family histories of her white Welsh mother and black Jamaican father, about, in all, the public and private agonies of imperialism and colonialism.

Probing the auto-historical, Carby studies her parents’ experiences in Jamaica and the United Kingdom, the “two islands” of the book’s subtitle. Her parents’ islands are connected not only by biological reproduction or a chance romance but also by the entanglement of ideologies. Her familial research at the National Archives of Jamaica and the United Kingdom offers at the same time a glimpse into the machinery of colonialism: the vexing racial iconography of postwar Britain, the psychic drains of poverty, the endlessness of wartime…

Read the entire review here.

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Imperial Intimacies: A Tale of Two Islands

Posted in Autobiography, Biography, Books, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, Monographs, United Kingdom on 2019-09-26 00:11Z by Steven

Imperial Intimacies: A Tale of Two Islands

Verso Books
2019-09-24
416 pages
6 x 9-1/4
Hardcover ISBN: 9781788735094
Ebook ISBN: 9781788735124

Hazel V. Carby, Charles C. and Dorothea S. Dilley Professor of African American Studies; Professor of American Studies
Yale University

Imperial Intimacies by Hazel V. Carby

A haunting and evocative history of British empire, told through one woman’s search through her family’s story

“Where are you from?” was the question hounding Hazel Carby as a girl in post–World War II London. One of the so-called brown babies of the Windrush generation, born to a Jamaican father and Welsh mother, Carby’s place in her home, her neighbourhood, and her country of birth was always in doubt.

Emerging from this setting, Carby untangles the threads connecting members of her family to each other in a web woven by the British Empire across the Atlantic. We meet Carby’s working-class grandmother Beatrice, a seamstress challenged by poverty and disease. In England, she was thrilled by the cosmopolitan fantasies of empire, by cities built with slave-trade profits, and by street peddlers selling fashionable Jamaican delicacies. In Jamaica, we follow the lives of both the “white Carbys” and the “black Carbys,” as Mary Ivey, a free woman of colour, whose children are fathered by Lilly Carby, a British soldier who arrived in Jamaica in 1789 to be absorbed into the plantation aristocracy. And we discover the hidden stories of Bridget and Nancy, two women owned by Lilly who survived the Middle Passage from Africa to the Caribbean.

Moving between the Jamaican plantations, the hills of Devon, the port cities of Bristol, Cardiff, and Kingston, and the working-class estates of South London, Carby’s family story is at once an intimate personal history and a sweeping summation of the violent entanglement of two islands. In charting British empire’s interweaving of capital and bodies, public language and private feeling, Carby will find herself reckoning with what she can tell, what she can remember, and what she can bear to know.

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The school experiences of mixed-race white and black Caribbean children in England

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Teaching Resources, United Kingdom on 2019-07-16 00:26Z by Steven

The school experiences of mixed-race white and black Caribbean children in England

Ethnic and Racial Studies
Published online 2018-10-01
DOI: 10.1080/01419870.2018.1519586

Kirstin Lewis
Department of Educational Studies, Goldsmiths, University of London, London
School of Education, University of Durham, Durham, United Kingdom

Feyisa Demie, Honorary Fellow
School of Education
University of Durham, Durham, United Kingdom

This research aims to explore the school experiences of mixed white/ black Caribbean children in English schools. The overarching findings of this research confirm that although the mixed-race population as a whole is achieving above the national average, the mixed white/ black Caribbean group is consistently the lowest performing mixed-race group in the country. Views of pupils, their parents and teachers in two London secondary schools suggest various reasons why mixed white/ black Caribbean pupils might continue to be the lowest performing mixed group in the country. These included experiences of marginalization and invisibility in school life, the low expectations that teachers held about them, the lack of knowledge about how to support them at school and how all these issues were exacerbated by the friendship groups they mixed in. This research paper discusses these critical factors in detail and their implications for policy and further research.

Read or purchase the article here.

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The ‘Brown Babies’ who were left behind

Posted in Articles, Biography, History, Social Work, United Kingdom, United States, Women on 2019-05-20 16:37Z by Steven

The ‘Brown Babies’ who were left behind

BBC News
2019-05-17

Charlie Jones

children in a children's home
Many of the babies were put in children’s homes, such as Holnicote House in Somerset
Leslie York

When Babs Gibson-Ward was born in 1944, her mother’s navy officer husband did not question whether he was her father.

“He honestly believed I was his child, I think because my complexion at that time was very fair. It took six months for it to change,” she said.

She was one of 2,000 mixed race babies born to white British women and black American GIs during World War Two.

The children were dubbed “Brown Babies” by the media and many had troubled childhoods.

When Mrs Gibson-Ward’s skin darkened, her mother’s lie was revealed – her real father was a black US Airforce engineer…

…”Many British people had never seen a black person before. They were charming and less arrogant than the white officers.

“They met women at dance halls or pubs, on evenings which were designated ‘blacks only’,” Lucy Bland, Professor of Social and Cultural History at Anglia Ruskin University, said.

But relationships were forbidden and their children were often kept secret. Most had never shared their stories until Prof Bland found 45 of them for her book, titled Britain’s Brown Babies

Read the entire article here.

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Britain’s ‘brown babies’: The stories of children born to black GIs and white women in the Second World War

Posted in Biography, Books, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Social Work, United Kingdom, United States, Women on 2019-05-18 19:39Z by Steven

Britain’s ‘brown babies’: The stories of children born to black GIs and white women in the Second World War

Manchester University Press
May 2019
288 pages
Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-5261-3326-7
eBook ISBN: 978-1-5261-3327-4

Lucy Bland, Professor of Social and Cultural History
Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge

Britain’s ‘brown babies’

  • Provides a fascinating but little-known story of the 2,000 illegitimate children born to black GIs and British women in World War II – one consequence of the war missing from the history books
  • Gives personalised accounts from mixed-race people born in a (then) very white Britain before the 1948 arrival of the Windrush, charting the racism, stigma and acute sense of difference
  • Illuminates the difficulties facing mixed-race, illegitimate children in what was then, in the 1940s and early ’50s, a very white Britain
  • Makes an important contribution to the history of British mixed-race people
  • 50 black and white illustrations

This book recounts a little-known history of the estimated 2,000 babies born to black GIs and white British women in the second world war. The African-American press named these children ‘brown babies‘; the British called them ‘half-castes‘. Black GIs, in this segregated army, were forbidden to marry their white girl-friends. Nearly half of the children were given up to children’s homes but few were adopted, thought ‘too hard to place’. There has been minimal study of these children and the difficulties they faced, such as racism in a (then) very white Britain, lack of family or a clear identity. The book will present the stories of over fifty of these children, their stories contextualised in terms of government policy and attitudes of the time. Accessibly written, with stories both heart-breaking and uplifting, the book is illustrated throughout with photographs.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • 1. British women meet black GIs
  • 2. Keeping the ‘brown babies’
  • 3. ‘Brown babies’ relinquished: experiences of children’s homes
  • 4. Adoption, fostering and attempts to send the babies to the US
  • 5. Secrets and lies: searching for mothers and fathers
  • 6. After the war and beyond
  • Appendix: the case study ‘brown babies’
  • Bibliography
  • Index
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the forgotten history of the reno: manchester’s original nightclub for mixed race youth

Posted in Articles, Arts, History, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2019-03-05 13:02Z by Steven

the forgotten history of the reno: manchester’s original nightclub for mixed race youth

i-D
Vice
2019-02-21

Kamila Rymajdo, Northern correspondent


Image from @excavatingthereno

Thirty years after it closed, Manchester nightclub the Reno has been excavated by playwright Linda Brogan and a team of volunteers — now they’re taking over Whitworth Art Gallery to continue telling its story.

“We dipped our fingers in the fountain of youth,” is how Jamaican-Irish playwright Linda Brogan explains the 2017 archaeological excavation of The Reno, Manchester’s original nightclub for mixed-race youth. Opened in the early 1960s, and famously visited by Muhammad Ali, the funk and soul venue enjoyed a heyday in the 1970s, only to close in 1986, and be demolished a year later. Overgrown by grass in the multi-ethnic neighbourhood of Moss Side — where Manchester’s Irish, West Indian and African communities have traditionally lived — it was all but forgotten. Until now.

“Once you got in, it was like you were home,” remembers Barrie George, a retired Manchester City Football Club steward, who partook in the club’s excavation.

Stigmatised by the 1930 ‘Fletcher Report’ (a controversial paper that described children of mixed heritage as suffering from inherent physical and mental defects) people such as Barrie and Linda found themselves caught between two different communities. “When we’d go to town, white people would say, ‘black this, black that,’ then we’d go out in Moss Side and the Jamaican people would go, ‘you mixed race, two nation, people with no countries,’ so it was like we were battling with two,” explains another Reno regular, Steve Cottier, his words echoing around the vast expanse of Whitworth Art Gallery’s upper floor. We’re here because, starting on 15 March, the gallery will be the site of a year long residency, during which Linda, and twelve former Reno regulars, will explore the club’s historical context and attempt to strengthen its legacy…

Linda Brogan Contact interview from matt kowalczuk on Vimeo.

Read the entire article here.

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Bristol school drops Colston name and replaces it with African-American, female mathematician’s

Posted in Articles, Campus Life, History, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Religion, Slavery, United Kingdom on 2019-02-10 23:35Z by Steven

Bristol school drops Colston name and replaces it with African-American, female mathematician’s

The Bristol Post
Bristol, United Kingdom
2019-02-10

Tristan Cork, Senior Reporter


An 18th century engraving of Edward Colston

All the other house names have been dropped in favour of more diverse role models

One of Bristol’s oldest state schools has decided to ditch the names of its houses – including one named after Edward Colston – in favour of more inspiring names who are better role models.

St Mary Redcliffe and Temple School has a house system with five houses, all named after historic figures from the school’s, and Bristol’s, past.

That system has operated for decades, but from the start of the next academic year in September, they will be replaced.

The school, which is the only Church of England secondary school in the Diocese of Bristol, has come under pressure for its links to the controversial slave trader Edward Colston in recent years, and that included calls to rename one of the five school ‘houses’ which is named after him.

The school groups students into five houses, from when they start in Year 7 to Year 11.

Pupils start in James House in Year 7, before being split into four different houses until they take their GCSEs

Colston House will become Johnson House


Katherine Johnson

Edward Colston is one of the most prominent and divisive figures in Bristol’s history. A Bristol-born merchant, he effectively ran the Royal Africa Company in London, before helping to open it up for Bristol.

As well as a statue of him in The Centre, there are roads, buildings, schools and homes named after him, with the use of his name across Bristol increasingly controversial.

Katherine Johnson was an African-American mathematician whose calculations of orbital mechanics were critical to the success of America’s first manned spaceflights.

She effectively worked out how man could land on the moon during the Apollo missions, and her calculations also were essential to the beginning of the Space Shuttle programme. She was portrayed in the 2016 film Hidden Figures.

Read the entire article here.

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Researchers seek fuller picture of first Africans in America

Posted in Africa, Articles, History, Media Archive, Slavery, United Kingdom, United States, Virginia on 2019-02-10 20:15Z by Steven

Researchers seek fuller picture of first Africans in America

The Associated Press
2019-02-07

Jesse J. Holland

Lee McBee
FILE – In this April 10, 2018, file photo, Historic Jamestowne staff archaeologist Lee McBee, right, shows artifacts to Carla Howe, of Gilmanton, N.H., left, and her children Caroline, second from left, and Grace, third from left, at the dig site of the Angelo slave house in Jamestown, Va. The first Africans to arrive in North America were so little noted by history that many are known today by only their first names. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The first Africans to arrive in English-controlled North America were so little noted by history that many are known today by only their first names: Antony and Isabella, Angelo, Frances and Peter.

Almost 400 years ago, they were kidnapped and forcibly sailed across the ocean aboard three slave ships — the San Juan Bautista, the White Lion and the Treasurer — and then sold into bondage in Virginia.

Now their descendants, along with historians and genealogists, are seeking recognition for a group of 20-some Africans they describe as critical to the survival of Jamestown, England’s first successful settlement in North America.

“We need to reclaim our history. We need to tell our story,” said Calvin Pearson, head of Project 1619 , which is named after the year those first Africans landed near what became Hampton, Virginia

A few historical markers and records mention these early slaves, but there’s been scant research on their lives. President Barack Obama made the area where they arrived a national monument in 2011 to ensure that its history was not lost, and Pearson and others are working to learn more.

Before the slaves arrived, Jamestown was starving. “Basically all of those people were right off of the streets in England,” said Kathryn Knight, who in May will release a book titled “Unveiled – The Twenty & Odd: Documenting the First Africans in England’s America 1619-1625 and Beyond.”…

…Although sold into servitude, many of those original Angolans fared better than the millions of African slaves who came to North America later, said John Thorton, a Boston University professor of African American studies and history.

“They had a better chance at a better future than almost anybody who followed them because they were the first,” Thorton said. “A lot of them ended up owning property, and they ended up owning slaves of their own.”

By intermingling with the English colonists, some had children who ended up passing for white and merging into early colonial society, Thorton said…

Read the entire article here.

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Participants Needed for Oral History Research/Dissertation Project: Multiracial Americans in the 1960s and 70s

Posted in Europe, Identity Development/Psychology, United Kingdom, United States, Wanted/Research Requests/Call for Papers on 2019-02-02 02:57Z by Steven

Participants Needed for Oral History Research/Dissertation Project: Multiracial Americans in the 1960s and 70s

Marlena Boswell, Ph.D. Candidate
Department of History
Indiana University, Bloomington

2019-02-01

I am a Ph.D. candidate researching the racial politics of multiracial individuals in the United States in the 1960s and 1970s. While the scholarly literature clearly establishes how society has historically viewed and racially identified multiracial Americans, I am seeking to understand how multiracial individuals racially identified themselves and how they related to the various race-based movements of the 60s and 70s. Therefore, I am seeking volunteers to share their stories in this oral history project.

I am seeking multiracial individuals who:

  • Were born between 1945 and 1965
  • Preferably (but not necessarily) have ties to the U.S. military

Because a portion of my research will focus on the U.S. military presence overseas in the post-World War II years and its role in the growth of the multiracial population, I am seeking (but not limiting participation to) individuals who come from multiracial families that grew out of the U.S. military presence in:

Please note: There is no monetary compensation for participation in this project.

If you are interested, please email me, Marlena Boswell, at mrb4@indiana.edu or brown.marlena@yahoo.com.

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