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Keith A.P. Sandiford

Caribbean, too, attached surrealistic importance to the game and established a cricket cult there that almost defies analysis or logic. Just as excellence in soccer became synonymous with the essence of being Brazilian, cricketing excellence has come to define the modern West Indian. For a long time, too, Australians tried to define themselves in this way and offered astonishingly fierce opposition to

in The imperial game
Open Access (free)
Bill Schwarz

announced Padmore’s death it not only described him, in words which undoubtedly were those of James, as ‘a great gentleman’ and ‘a great citizen of the world’, but also – ‘with the exception of Marcus Garvey’ – as ‘the most famous West Indian of all time’. 4 Almost a decade later, in first naming the tradition of West Indian intellectuals whom he believed constituted

in West Indian intellectuals in Britain
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With Africa on His Mind
Selwyn R. Cudjoe

general, learn first, and of course, for the simple reason that he hears it most frequently spoken”. 10 Four years later, after much intensive work, Thomas produced The Theory and Practice of Creole Grammar , an important linguistic breakthrough of its time. Thomas was in Grenada when he read Froude’s The English in the West Indies . Froude asserted his belief in the “natural superiority” of whites and their God-given right to rule over Africans. He claimed that West Indian blacks needed a religion to keep them from “falling back into

in The Pan-African Pantheon

This book recounts the little-known history of the mixed-race children born to black American servicemen and white British women during the Second World War. Of the three million American soldiers stationed in Britain from 1942 to 1945, about 8 per cent (240,000) were African-American; the latter’s relationships with British women resulted in the birth of an estimated 2,000 babies. 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 girlfriends. Up to half of the mothers of these babies, faced with the stigma of illegitimacy and a mixed-race child, gave their children up for adoption. The outcome for these children tended to be long-term residency in children’s homes, sometimes followed by fostering and occasionally adoption, but adoption societies frequently would not take on ‘coloured’ children, who were thought to be ‘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. Accessibly written and illustrated with numerous photographs, this book presents the stories of over forty of these children. While some of the accounts of early childhood are heart-breaking, there are also many uplifting narratives of finding American fathers and gaining a sense of self and of heritage.

The emergence of the Black Saturday School movement and real and imagined black educational communities
Jessica Gerrard

were happening … and it seemed we could get no redress’. The first-ever London Carnival, launched in 1959 by the communist activist and West Indian Gazette editor Claudia Jones, for example, aimed to engender strength and pride in the black community following the shock of recent Nottingham and Notting Hill violence.27 In August of that year, Nottingham ‘experienced a short outbreak of anti-black rioting’, followed by intense media focus on race relations in Britain.28 In Notting Hill, Kelso Cochrane, a thirty-two-year-old Antiguan, died from stab wounds after being

in Radical childhoods
Representing Africans and Afro-Creoles in the Anglo-American world
Mia L. Bagneris

endurance of Brunias’s image of Chatoyer as a symbol of West Indian resistance, the association of Brunias’s imagery with such an exemplar of black resistance as L’Ouverture indicates that, despite the artist’s connection to the colonial regime and the plantocratic elite, something in his work affirms the humanity and agency of colonial West Indians of colour. Brunias may have painted for the plantocractic class, constructing pretty pictures of Caribbean life that reflected the vision of the islands upon which white, colonialist identities depended; however, the artist

in Colouring the Caribbean
Race, locality and resistance

Fifty years ago Enoch Powell made national headlines with his 'Rivers of Blood' speech, warning of an immigrant invasion in the once respectable streets of Wolverhampton. This local fixation brought the Black Country town into the national spotlight, yet Powell's unstable relationship with Wolverhampton has since been overlooked. Drawing from oral history and archival material, this book offers a rich local history through which to investigate the speech, bringing to life the racialised dynamics of space during a critical moment in British history. What was going on beneath the surface in Wolverhampton and how did Powell's constituents respond to this dramatic moment? The research traces the ways in which Powell's words reinvented the town and uncovers highly contested local responses. While Powell left Wolverhampton in 1974, the book returns to the city to explore the collective memories of the speech that continue to reverberate. In a contemporary period of new crisis and division, examining the shadow of Powell allows us to reflect on racism and resistance from 1968 to the present day.

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At a time when monolingualist claims for the importance of ‘speaking English’ to the national order continue louder than ever, even as language diversity is increasingly part of contemporary British life, literature becomes a space to consider the terms of linguistic belonging. Bad English examines writers including Tom Leonard, James Kelman, Suhayl Saadi, Raman Mundair, Daljit Nagra, Xiaolu Guo, Leila Aboulela, Brian Chikwava, and Caroline Bergvall, who engage multilingually, experimentally, playfully, and ambivalently with English’s power. Considering their invented vernaculars and mixed idioms, their dramatised scenes of languaging – languages learned or lost, acts of translation, scenes of speaking, the exposure and racialised visibility of accent – it argues for a growing field of contemporary literature in Britain pre-eminently concerned with language’s power dynamics, its aesthetic potentialities, and its prosthetic strangeness. Drawing on insights from applied linguistics and translation studies as well as literary scholarship, Bad English explores contemporary arguments about language in Britain – in debates about citizenship or education, in the media or on Twitter, in Home Office policy and asylum legislation – as well as the ways they are taken up in literature. It uncovers both an antagonistic and a productive interplay between language politics and literary form, tracing writers’ articulation of linguistic alienation and ambivalence, as well as the productivity and making-new of radical language practices. Doing so, it refutes the view that language difference and language politics are somehow irrelevant to contemporary Britain and instead argues for their constitutive centrality to the work of novelists and poets whose inside/outside relationship to English in its institutionalised forms is the generative force of their writing.

Open Access (free)
Visions of history, visions of Britain
Stephen Howe

and its aftermaths, shaping both ‘Britishness’ and ‘West Indianness’. 4 As James several times hinted – and as numerous recent historians have sought to trace in more detail – the very idea of ‘Britain’ could not be thought historically without coming to terms with those imperial relations. James’s thought was not confined to any of these contexts: it is recognised

in West Indian intellectuals in Britain
Constructing imperial identity through Liverpool petition struggles
Joshua Civin

American Revolution. Twenty years later, the countries were openly at war. Twenty years after that, British resentment was stirred by high US tariffs.19 Anti-US jingoism, however, presented difficulties for Liverpool’s American Chamber of Commerce. Members were eager to open new markets for provincial traders, but they were suspicious of West Indians’ sudden eagerness in 1812 to mobilise against the East India Company. Five years earlier, American merchants had tried to rally opposition to a government loan to the Company. The West Indians had resisted for fear of

in Parliaments, nations and identities in Britain and Ireland, 1660–1850