What Meghan Markle means to black Brits

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United Kingdom on 2018-05-11 15:30Z by Steven

What Meghan Markle means to black Brits

The Washington Post

Karla Adam, London correspondent covering the United Kingdom

William Booth, London bureau chief

Photos by Tori Ferenc

Photo by Tori Ferenc

After she marries Prince Harry, the royal family will look a bit more like modern Britain.

LONDON—Jean Carter had never bothered to come out for a royal appearance before. But when Prince Harry and his fiancee, Meghan Markle, made a visit to Brixton this year, Carter bought a bouquet and weathered a chilly afternoon waiting for a glimpse of the couple.

Carter was glad to see Harry, the happy-go-lucky, ginger-bearded son of the late Princess Diana. As an immigrant from Jamaica, though, Carter, 72, really wanted to lay eyes on Markle, a biracial American actress who is the subject of deep fascination here.

Multiethnic Brixton is South London’s hub for a founding generation of Afro-Caribbean immigrants. It’s a crossroad so central to the story of the African diaspora that local historians call the neighborhood — with its jerk chicken grills, reggae dance halls and vibrant mural scene — the black capital of Europe. When South African President Nelson Mandela came to Britain in 1996 he went to Buckingham Palace — and Brixton.

Carter characterized the royal couple’s visit to the neighborhood as “a big statement.”

But what exactly will it mean to have a biracial member of the monarchy after Prince Harry and Markle exchange vows on May 19?…

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At last, a home for black history

Posted in Articles, History, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2014-07-26 02:34Z by Steven

At last, a home for black history

The Guardian

Paul Reid, Director
Black Cultural Archives

The launch of the Black Cultural Archives will show that our presence in the UK is measured in millennia, not decades

I remember the time I got caned at school. It was the 1970s, and during a history lesson I put my hand up and asked: “Sir, were there people in America before Christopher Columbus?” I wasn’t trying to be difficult, just trying to engage with some complicated questions. But my teacher saw it as some kind of act of subversion.

Like many black males at the time, I was trying to work out my place in British society. And there were no teachers to guide us through our journey of self-discovery. Through my later work as a community youth worker, I realise that today’s young people are still working through these identity issues.

If my teacher had told my class that the black presence in Britain could be measured in millennia, and that we were not just passing through or tagged on to the end of the colonial story, we might have had a different sense of belonging; I might have had a different idea of what was possible; I might have seen something to aspire to…

…In 1981, after the first of these, a group of concerned black people got together seeking a place where the presence and history of black people could be told positively and accurately. Not just the history of enslavement and of Windrush, but a history that goes as far back as the African Roman emperor Septimius Severus, who is buried in York, and tells the story of the continued presence of black people in the United Kingdom ever since. The idea of the Black Cultural Archives was born…

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