The Windrush Foundation was founded in 1996 by the late Sam B. King and Arthur Torrington CBE to honour the first wave of British subjects who arrived on the HMT Empire Windrush in 1948 and to promote good community relations. It has been pivotal in raising general awareness of the many contributions that Afro Caribbeans have made to British society through the arts, culture and socio- economic contributions and much more. Moreover, the contributions of the Black British men and women who served in both world wars have been brought to the forefront through the preservation of stories and facts.
The Windrush Foundation have now published a comprehensive resource pack, key stage 2 approved, as well a book which forms part of the 71 year commemoration of the historical voyage depicting some of the people who were instrumental in bringing to the forefront the significance of the first ship of emigres from the West Indies to Great Britain.
It is to be noted that many followed later and went on to do great things both in their own lives and for the communities in which they lived, however this book serves as a typical example of the great contributions made to British society in a land they now call home.
The new book “Windrush Pioneers and Champions” is a comprehensive listing and commemoration of just some of the numerous men and women who came to the UK and contributed to the social and cultural wellbeing of the Afro-Caribbean diaspora as well as to the United Kingdom itself as a whole. It is an enlightening resource for those who wish to delve further into these great individuals and a comprehensive record of their lives and activities.
Featured in the book are Sam Beaver King RAF veteran who returned after WWII to make a new life for himself and eventually become a community activists, founder of Windrush Foundation; Connie Mark poet and narrator also a WWII veteran; Activists Darcus Howe, Bernie Grant who devoted their lives to bringing injustices to the forefront; Lord David Pitt, an experienced political activist from the land of his birth who came to England in 1933 to study medicine. Although he was made a life peer in 1975, he was already an extremely well known lifeline serving the Caribbean community as Dr Pitt.
Simultaneously, Windrush Foundation have prepared teaching notes, information and guidelines. This is a valuable aid for those who wish to teach or know more about the lives, background and events that led up to and followed the arrival of those pioneers from the Caribbean who arrived on HMT Empire Windrush.
Windrush Day is celebrated annually on 22nd June.
By Joy Sigaud