Saturday 28 March, 2020

‘Windrush Generation’ exhibition coming locally

Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness in discussion with his British counterpart, Theresa May, in London during Holness' recent visit to Britain, during which concerns were raised about that country's policies on the status of the Windrush Generation, resulting in a complete turnaround on the matter since then.

Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness in discussion with his British counterpart, Theresa May, in London during Holness' recent visit to Britain, during which concerns were raised about that country's policies on the status of the Windrush Generation, resulting in a complete turnaround on the matter since then.

With the so-called ‘Windrush Generation’ thrust into the news in recent weeks following public outcry in the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth about their treatment, the 70th anniversary of the historic voyage of the Empire Windrush to England in 1948 is to be marked in a much less contentious manner.

This is as the National Library of Jamaica (NLJ) will be mounting an exhibition from May 23 to October 15, to mark the occasion.

Chief Executive Officer of the NLJ, Beverley Lashley, said the six-month travelling exhibition will feature the cultures of nationals from Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago and other islands which made the historic journey from the Caribbean to England.

It will be showcased throughout Jamaica's public library network, and will also be displayed on the websites of the national library of the United Kingdom, and Black Cultural Archives, which is dedicated to recording, preserving and celebrating the history of people of African descent in Britain.

Lashley said the exhibition will showcase the impact that Jamaicans and other West Indians have had on the cultural landscape of Britain.

“Caribbean nationals were visionaries and artists whose music, art and social contributions are aspects of pride coming out of the Windrush generation. The intention of the National Library is to reach audiences which have been impacted by this momentous journey made in 1948,” she explained.

The Empire Windrush, a passenger liner, is regarded as the symbolic starting point of a wave of Caribbean migration between 1948 and 1971, known as the 'Windrush Generation'.

Many were enticed to cross the Atlantic by job opportunities amid the UK's post-war labour shortage.

The ship, which sailed from Jamaica on May 27 and arrived in London almost a month later on June 21, was carrying 1,027 passengers, according to the UK National Archives.

More than half of the passengers on board (539) gave their last country of residence as Jamaica, while 139 said Bermuda, and 119 stated England. There were also people from Mexico, Scotland, Gibraltar, Burma and Wales.

The exhibition involves partnership with the RJRGleaner Communications Group and the University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona, which is also marking its 70th anniversary this year.

The Empire Windrush, originally MV Monte Rosa, was a passenger liner and cruise ship that was launched in Germany in 1930. The ship is synonymous with post-war immigration of West Indian people to the UK.

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