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National library to mount Windrush exhibition

Wednesday, May 02, 2018

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KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) — The National Library of Jamaica (NLJ) will be mounting an exhibition from May 23 to October 15 to mark the 70th anniversary of the Empire Windrush's historic voyage to England in 1948.

This was disclosed by Chief Executive Officer of the NLJ, Beverley Lashley, during a recent interview with JIS News.

She said the six-month travelling exhibition will feature the cultures of nationals from Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and other islands who made the historic journey from the Caribbean to England.

It will be showcased throughout Jamaica's public library network and will also be displayed on the websites of the British Library, which is the national library of the United Kingdom; and Black Cultural Archives, which is dedicated to recording, preserving and celebrating the history of people of African descent in Britain.

Lashley said the exhibition will showcase the impact that Jamaicans and other West Indians have had on the cultural landscape of Britain.

“Caribbean nationals were visionaries and artists whose music, art and social contributions are aspects of pride coming out of the Windrush generation. The intention of the National Library is to reach audiences who have been impacted by this momentous journey made in 1948,” she explained.

The Empire Windrush, a passenger liner, is regarded as the symbolic starting point of a wave of Caribbean migration between 1948 and 1971 known as the 'Windrush Generation'.

Many were enticed to cross the Atlantic by job opportunities amid the UK's post-war labour shortage.

The ship, which sailed from Jamaica on May 27 and arrived in London almost a month later on June 21, was carrying 1,027 passengers according to the UK National Archives.

More than half of the passengers on board (539) gave their last country of residence as Jamaica, while 139 said Bermuda and 119 stated England. There were also people from Mexico, Scotland, Gibraltar, Burma and Wales.

The exhibition involves partnership with the RJRGleaner Communications Group and the University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona, which is also marking its 70th anniversary this year.

The Empire Windrush, originally MV Monte Rosa, was a passenger liner and cruise ship launched in Germany in 1930. The ship is synonymous with post-war immigration of West Indian people to the UK.


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