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The Story of Windrush ...............................

Following World War II, the UK was left with a labour shortage and in a state of disrepair.  Since the Caribbean was part of the British Commonwealth at that time, and since Caribbean countries were also struggling economically, the opportunity presented itself for the job vacancies in the UK to be filled by migrants from the Caribbean, as they were automatically British subjects and able to work and live permanently in the UK.  The Empire Windrush set sail to the UK in 1948, carrying Caribbean migrants, more commonly known as The Windrush Generation, to undertake positions to help rebuild the nation.   These jobs included the production of steel, coal, iron and food, as well as roles including driving and running public transport, cleaning, and nursing thus staffing the newly formed NHS. 

On the 22nd of June, 2023 we celebrated the 75th anniversary of Windrush, otherwise known as "Windrush Day", which is celebrated on an annual basis, to recognise and commemorate the huge contribution that the Windrush Generation and their descendants made to Britain during it's recovery from WW2.  The celebration highlights the amazing legacy of the Windrush Generation to British Society and also highlights how the Windrush Generation laid the foundations for the Black British Society known today.

Whilst Windrush Day is a day of celebration, it is also an opportunity to reflect on the difficulties and obstacles that the Windrush Generation faced upon their arrival to Britain.  Whilst the migrants came to the UK to fill the job vacancies, the Windrush migrants encountered hostility and discrimination, and although they were encouraged to settle and work in Britain, they were prevented from doing so, purely because of the colour of their skin.  Sadly, this hostility and discrimination is still happening to this day, however, we must always remember that the Windrush Generation initiated the ongoing journey for equality and inclusion for the Afro Caribbean community in the UK.

We should all learn a lesson from the film "The Little Colonel".  It was made perfectly clear to "Bojangles" that he was not allowed to hold Shirley Temple's hand whilst filming the stair scene in the film.  However, Shirley Temple had other ideas and she insisted by grabbing his hand during the act.  This scene became the first one where integrated dance partners were filmed dancing together.  Shirley Temple also thanked Bojangles for making her a better dancer.  A favourite quote and food for thought .................... "It's hard to live in colour when you only see black and white"

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