Hidden history on our doorstep

by Remi Stride
30 November 2015

Remi Stride

London has so much in it that we often manage to overlook incredible places and opportunities. As students, we also have deadlines, lectures, perhaps part-time work and even a social life to fit in (if you're lucky!).

As I approached the Black Cultural Archives, walking across Windrush Square, Brixton, I admit that I had to pause in its entrance... it was just lovely. The BCA has recently been refurbished and the result is a colourful, stylish and refined building. Our trip there was part of our Writing Multicultural module for third year English Literature students. Before our talk began we explored their inviting exhibition space, which is currently showing 'Black Georgians'. During our workshop we learned about many movements, issues and activist groups from around the Windrush era to modern day. We had the pleasure of exploring various bits of history, from newspaper articles to an original membership card of one of the most influential women's rights group of the Black Women's Movement.

I think it's important to mention here that our workshop and its content weren't overwhelming or uncomfortable. We were experiencing important history that, unfortunately, is not widely represented in the school curriculum. All of us acknowledged that we weren't aware of such crucial moments of British history. Both of my grandparents are from Jamaica and migrated to the UK within the Windrush era, and it's amazing that I could read the same article they may have read all those years ago in the sixties.

Black Cultural Archives group working

As a group, our favourite part of the workshop was being able to handle these pieces and reflect upon their historical and current importance.

Don't be afraid of archives. They give us the incredible opportunity to relive history and to further understand our present world. I'm hoping to revisit the BCA soon, this time with my boyfriend or even granddad, because not only is it a lovely space, but it's dedicated to preserving and celebrating history. We, especially as students, should all do the same... go and explore!

Remi Stride
Year 3 English Literature Undergraduate

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