Reach Society
Reach Society

Our Milestones Part 3

Welcome: Dear friends and supporters, here’s the 3rd excerpt from the Society’s souvenir booklet which was issued to all guests at the recent Recognition Awards event rolled out on Saturday, 29th October 2022.

It is entitled “Our Milestones,” and it is a collation of some milestones for the modern Black community starting from 1948 (when the Windrush Generation began arriving in the UK) and spanning almost eight decades. We hope that this information will stimulate discussions about the arch of progress made since the community began to establish itself in the UK.

Our milestones: On the 22 June this year the national Windrush monument was unveiled by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in Waterloo station in the presence of a small group of guests, most of whom were of Caribbean background. The unveiling was a public statement or tribute from the government to the Windrush generation and their descendants for their contributions to the UK since the 2nd World War. Many people across the country witnessed this event via livestreaming.

This moment of history for the Black community inspired the question about other significant moments in the UK’s modern Black community since 1948. Outlined below are a few more of the significant moments, or milestones if you will, from the third and fourth decades of the modern Black community.

Decades Three and Four (1968 to 1987)

1. In 1985 Lord William “Bill” Morris became the Deputy Secretary General of the Transport and General Workers Union or TGWU. He was the first Black person of Caribbean background to hold power in a British trade union. And seven years later, in 1992 he became the Secretary General of the TGWU. He was later made a peer of the House of Lords.

Lord William “Bill” Morris

2. In 1987 a cohort of four Black MPs entered the House of Commons; they were the first to do so since the modern Black community emerged in the UK. They were Diane Abbott MP who is of Caribbean background, and the first Black female MP in the UK and the Labour Party. The other history makers and Labour Party MPs were Bernie Grant (of Caribbean background), Paul Boateng (Dual Heritage of West African and British parents) and Keith Vas (of Asian British background).

Diane Abbott MP

Bernie Grant MP
Paul Boateng MP
Keith Vas MP

The next issue of the newsletter will address some milestones from the 5th and 6th decades of the modern Black community.

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