West Indian Intellectuals in Britain by Bill Schwarz

By Bill Schwarz

Caribbean migration to Britain introduced many new issues - new musics, new meals, new types. It introduced new methods of considering too. This leading edge publication explores the highbrow principles which the West Indians introduced with them to Britain. It indicates that for greater than a century West Indians dwelling in Britain constructed a stunning highbrow critique of the codes of imperial Britain. during this accomplished dialogue of the key Caribbean thinkers who got here to stay in 20th-century Britain, chapters talk about the effect of among others: C.L.R. James; Una Marson; George Lamming; Jean Rhys; Claude McKay and V.S. Naipaul. The participants draw from many various disciplines to carry alive the concept and personalities of the figures they talk about, supplying a dramatic photograph of highbrow advancements in Britain from which we will nonetheless examine a lot. An creation argues that the restoration of this Caribbean previous, at the home-territory of england itself, finds a lot concerning the clients of multiracial Britain.

Written in an obtainable demeanour, undergraduates and basic readers attracted to kinfolk among the Caribbean and Britain, imperial historical past, literature, cultural and black experiences should still locate a lot of curiosity during this assortment.

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For representative documentation, see the chapter ‘The African presence’, in Lamming, Pleasures of Exile. In addition to Lamming – Padmore, James, Makonnen, Brathwaite, Carew, Arthur Lewis, Amy Ashwood Garvey, David Pitt and Neville Dawes were in Ghana during these first years of independence. When the Irish BBC producer Henry Swanzy was relieved of his job on Caribbean Voices in 1954 he chose to be posted to the Gold Coast. The West Indian connections are powerfully visible in Kevin Gaines, ‘Revisiting Richard Wright in Ghana: black radicalism and the dialectics of diaspora’, Social Text, 67 (2001).

But the colonial relation has been one of power: the British were the colonisers – English, Scots and Welsh – while the majority inhabitants of the islands – Africans, and then, following emancipation, Indians brought in as indentured labour – were the colonised. Complicating that binary division of coloniser and colonised was the ambivalent status of the white settlers, the creolised natives of the islands, who became West Indians and claimed rights of selfgovernment from the mother country. They were both colonisers and colonised, for at critical moments their power to govern themselves was overruled by the imperial parliament, critically in the case of emancipation which the planters opposed to the end.

Delia Jarrett-Macauley, The Life of Una Marson, 1905–65 (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1998), p. 100. Garveyism – the movement inspired by Marcus Garvey. Born into a Methodist family in Jamaica in 1887. Travelled throughout Central America and, in 1912, to Britain, where he attended lectures at Birkbeck College, and found employment around the docks of London, Cardiff and Liverpool. Returning to Jamaica in 1914 he founded the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) which was to be, in the 1920s and 1930s, the single most important organiser of black popular politics in the Atlantic world.

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