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.
In the June 1997 issue of Hong Kong Tatler , the magazine, which by this point articulated a largely postcolonial, elite ‘Hong Konger’ voice, took stock of the ‘good’, the ‘bad’, and the ‘ugly’ legacies of British colonial rule. The ‘good’ included British etiquette, the British legal system (‘despite the silly wigs’), gin and tonics, Marks and
The inter-war period saw the expansion and consolidation of British imperialism in Africa and by the end of the 1930s Africa arguably occupied ‘a more intimate place’ in British affairs than India. 2 Simultaneously, developments in black consciousness and the post-war conception of a liberal Empire ensured that the ‘colour problem’, race relations
This pioneering study of migrant journeys to Britain begins with Huguenot refugees in the 1680s and continues to asylum seekers and east European workers today. Analysing the history and memory of migrant journeys, covering not only the response of politicians and the public but also literary and artistic representations, then and now, this volume sheds new light on the nature and construction of Britishness from the early modern era onwards. It helps to explain why people come to Britain (or are denied entry) and how migrants have been viewed by state and society alike. The journeys covered vary from the famous (including the Empire Windrush in 1948) to the obscure, such as the Volga German transmigrants passing through Britain in the 1870s. While employing a broadly historical approach, the book incorporates insights from many other disciplines and employs a comparative methodology to highlight the importance of the symbolic as well as the physical nature of such journeys.
The British community in China was rooted in the diverse cultures of imperial Britain. This book presents a study of Britain's presence in China both at its peak, and during its inter-war dissolution in the face of assertive Chinese nationalism and declining British diplomatic support. Using archival materials from China and records in Britain and the United States, the book presents a portrait of the traders, missionaries, businessmen, diplomats and settlers who constituted "Britain-in-China", challenging people's understanding of British imperialism there. Imperialism is no new subject for scholars of modern Chinese history. The largest settler communities were selfgoverning; even the smallest were still self-replicating. The book focuses on the structure and workings of this establishment in the decades before the Pacific War. The survey presented examines the processes by which Britain in China evolved, how it replicated itself and represented itself (and China). It looks at how it attempted to reform itself in the face of the militant state and mass nationalism it met in China in the mid-1920s and after. The survey also looks at the face of the efforts of the British state to regain control over it and to decolonise the British presence. All Britons in China possessed multiple identities: British, imperial and local. The book also analyzes the formation and maintenance of settler identities, and then investigates how the British state and its allies brought an end to the reign of freelance, settler imperialism on the China coast.
This book recognizes three types of internees in First World War Britain. They are: civilians already present in the country in August 1914; civilians brought to Britain from all over the world; and combatants, primarily soldiers from the western front. Soldiers from the western front included naval personnel and a few members of zeppelin crews whose vessels fell to earth. These three groups faced different internment experiences, particularly in terms of the length of time they spent behind barbed wire and their ability to work. Many combatants viewed internment almost as a relief from the fighting they had experienced on the western front, while, for civilians, the spell behind barbed wire represented their key wartime experience. Throughout the narrative, from the first days behind barbed wire until the last, the book recognizes the varying experiences faced by the differing groups of prisoners. Nevertheless, one needs to consider all internees together because they became victims of one of the first mass incarcerations in history. While the prisoner of war has a long history, imprisonment on the scale practised in the First World War, by both Britain and the other belligerent states, of both soldiers and civilians, represents a new phenomenon.
This book demonstrates a fruitful cross-fertilisation of ideas between British queer history and art history. It engages with self-identified lesbians and with another highly important source for queer history: oral history. The book highlights the international dimension of what to date has been told as a classic British tale of homosexual law reform and also illuminates the choices made and constraints imposed at the national level. It embarks on a queer critical history, arguing for the centrality, in John Everett Millais's life-writing, of the strange-to-us category of unconventionality. The book aims to expose the queer implications of celebrity gossip writing. It offers a historical analysis of the link between homosexual men and gossip by examining the origins of the gossip column in the British tabloid press in the three decades after 1910. The book provides an overview of the emergence and consolidation of a number of new discourses of homosexuality as a social practice in postwar Britain. It explores a British variant on homophile internationalism before and immediately after the 1967 Sexual Offences Act by mapping Grey's cross-border connections while noting strain against transnational solidarity. The book focuses on evidence collected by the 1977 Committee on Obscenity and Film Censorship to illustrate how gay men conceptualised the place of pornography in their lives and its role in the broader struggle for the freedom.
The Freedom from Hunger Campaign and the new humanitarian order This chapter 1 and the next are about humanitarianism as a guiding principle of international engagement. Where Chapters 2 and 3 discuss how the British public were encouraged to care about people in other countries, Chapters 4 and 5 focus on how they were encouraged to care for them. Concern for the welfare of distant strangers was not new in the 1960s, but the public's experiences of it were significantly altered by the rapid growth of the non
Chapter 1 . Britain’s lost revolution and the historians This is a book about a lost moment in British, and especially Scots, history. Students and lay readers interested in the past can be forgiven for surveying the massive annual output of the history-writing industry and the miles of works sitting on library bookshelves and coming to the conclusion that there are no more stories to tell and nothing significant still to learn. Everything seems to have been covered. Professional historians (myself included) inadvertantly feed this fundamental misapprehension
One of the markers by which the 1997 Blair administration may come to be known is that it witnessed the search for a new British identity. Politicians and journalists alike appear to be in the midst of a debate about how the inhabitants of the various nations which constitute the United Kingdom should define themselves in the light of devolution and the subsequent openings of a