Windrush books: a celebration of 75 years in Britain

Windrush books: a celebration of 75 years in Britain

by Suswati Basu
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This week (June 22nd) marks 75 years since the Windrush generation arrived in Britain and there are a number of important books regarding this vital community. Windrush generation refers to the people who migrated from various Caribbean countries to the United Kingdom between 1948 and 1971, in response to labour shortages and to help rebuild the country after World War II. The name “Windrush” comes from the HMT Empire Windrush, the ship that brought the first significant group of Caribbean immigrants to the UK in 1948. These individuals were predominantly from British colonies such as Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and Barbados.

Read more: Anti-Coronation Day books: nonfiction reads on the British Empire

The Windrush scandal, which emerged in 2018, refers to a series of events where many members of the Windrush generation faced severe difficulties proving their legal status in the UK. Changes to immigration policies and the implementation of stricter immigration regulations led to the wrongful detention, deportation threats, denial of healthcare, and denial of other public services for many of these individuals who had lived in the UK for decades. The scandal exposed the systemic failures of the UK immigration system and its impact on the lives of the Windrush generation.

Books on the Windrush generation

Here are some nonfiction books that delve into the Windrush generation and the associated scandal:

  1. “The Windrush Betrayal: Exposing the Hostile Environment” by Amelia Gentleman. Written by a journalist who played a significant role in exposing the scandal, this book investigates the hostile environment policy and its effects on the Windrush generation.
  2. “Homecoming: Voices of the Windrush Generation” edited by Colin Grant. This book presents a collection of personal stories, interviews, and memoirs of individuals from the Windrush generation, providing a firsthand account of their experiences.
  3. “Black and British: A Forgotten History” by David Olusoga. While this book covers a broader history of black people in Britain, it includes a section dedicated to the Windrush generation and their contributions to the country.
  4. “Empireland: How Imperialism Has Shaped Modern Britain” by Sathnam Sanghera. Although not solely focused on the Windrush generation, this book explores the legacy of the British Empire and its impact on contemporary British society, including the treatment of migrants and the Windrush scandal.
Read on NationalWorld: The Windrush generation: scandal is a reminder of how little we know about British history – my opinion piece

These books offer different perspectives on the Windrush generation and the scandal, providing historical context, personal narratives, and insights into the systemic issues that contributed to the mistreatment of this generation.

Watch and listen to the Stolen History and Empireland author Sathnam Sanghera interview.

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