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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.

Liam Stanley

For the last three and a half years, this country has felt trapped, like a lion in a cage. We have all shared the same frustration – like some super-green supercar blocked in the traffic. We can see the way ahead. We know where we want to go – and we know why we are stuck. Boris Johnson, Introduction to 2019 Conservative Party Manifesto, Get Brexit Done: Unleash Britain's Potential

in Britain alone
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A short history
Graham Harrison

3 Africa–Britain: a short history Introduction This chapter makes a review of British-African interactions through history. It does not make a claim to anything but the most general review, and this is because the purpose here is simply to provide the general coordinates for the more detailed considerations of the historical changes in Africa’s representation in Britain in subsequent chapters. The focus is on the nature of the political relations between Africa and Britain and the main ways in which Africa has been ‘domesticated’ into the British polity. The

in The African presence
Anne-Marie Fortier

Citizenisation processes are designed to redress the ‘citizenship deficit’ of migrants. However, an overlooked feature of theoretical and policy understandings of citizenisation is how they not only operate as a social intervention, as argued in the previous chapter. It is also how they shape definitions of the nation-state itself. This chapter turns to the history of British citizenship and to how the perceived ‘citizenship deficit’ of Britain has long since been the subject of political and scholarly discourse. Cast in this way, histories

in Uncertain citizenship
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England’s wider categories of belonging
Ben Wellings

’s commemorative time and energy went towards commemorating the bicentenary of the abolition of the slave trade within the British Empire. The centrepiece of commemorative events was the ceremony at Westminster Abbey in August, which was most notable for the incursion by Toyin Agbetu who made his protest so close to the person of the Queen. There are several explanations for the elision of the tercentenary of the Union between England and Scotland by the bicentenary of the abolition of slavery. The first was that for an external audience the abolition of slavery was a

in English nationalism, Brexit and the Anglosphere
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Geoffrey Bell

5 British questions Geoffrey Bell It is no longer the Irish question, it is the British question. (Kevin McNamara, Parliamentary Labour Party Spokesperson on Northern Ireland, 1991)1 In the spring of 1991, I interviewed several leading British politicians on their understanding of the historical and contemporary nature of the British–Irish conflict. All had recent experience of Northern Ireland. One was an MP who, as a soldier, had served in Northern Ireland; the rest had been or were either UK government ministers in Northern Ireland or party spokespeople on

in The Northern Ireland Troubles in Britain
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Mark Hampton

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

in Hong Kong and British culture, 1945–97
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Liam Stanley

-four years. When he was unable to provide documentation to prove his status, Marshall was given a stark choice: either arrange to pay the £55,000 cancer treatment upfront , or forego the treatment. Given that he had no savings, he only really had one option. Some years before, the NHS had treated Marshall for blood cancer lymphoma, and that was legitimate. His immigration status had remained consistent since then. So what had changed? The difference is that the British state had stopped providing free healthcare to ‘overseas patients’. A ‘health

in Britain alone
Sarah Glynn

Glynn 04_Tonra 01 19/06/2014 12:50 Page 79 4 British Bangladeshis Probashi Bengalis had shown massive support for their homeland as it struggled for independence, but after the war was over very few wanted to go back and live there. Some took up opportunities of influential positions with the ruling party, but generally the pulls were all in the other direction. This was the time when many of the Bengali men who were already working here began to bring over their wives and families – partly as a response to the traumas of separation and uncertainty that

in Class, ethnicity and religion in the Bengali East End
White women, race and imperial politics in inter-war Britain
Barbara Bush

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

in Gender and imperialism