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Our Milestones – Part 5

Welcome: Dear friends and supporters, here’s the fifth 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. The Society hopes 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 5th and 6th decades of the modern Black community.

Decades Five and Six (1988 to 2007)

1. In August 1997 Baroness Valerie Amos PC, the former CEO of the Equal Opportunities Commission (or EOC), received a life peerage to become Baroness Amos of Brondesbury in Brent. She has served in a Labour government and supported many voluntary groups; and in 2009 she cofounded the Amos Bursary, a mentoring group, with her sister Colleen Amos. She is also of Caribbean background.

Baroness Valerie Amos

2. In October 1997 Patricia Scotland PC QC received a life peerage and became Baroness Scotland of Asthal in Oxfordshire. She is a British diplomat, barrister and politician who also became the Secretary General of the Commonwealth of Nations (or the Commonwealth) in April 2016, the first female and Black woman (of Caribbean background) to serve in this role.

Baroness Patricia Scotland

3. In 1998 Chris Ofili became the first Black winner of the Turner Prize for his work which used balls of elephant dung attached to his mixed media images on canvas. His Turner Prize winning work was called Organa; and it was a glittery portrait of a Black woman produced for an exhibition at the Tate gallery in 1998. In 2017 he was made CBE for his services to art. Ofili is British born of Nigerian background.

Chris Ofili

4. In 2004 Michael Fuller QPM made history by becoming the first Black man of Caribbean background to hold the title of Chief Constable in the Kent Constabulary.

Michael Fuller

5. In August 2007 statue of President Nelson Mandela was erected in Parliament Square, London to honour his sacrifice and work to free South Africa from Apartheid; and in May 1994 he became the first democratically elected President of that country.

President Nelson Mandela

The next issue of the newsletter will address some more milestones from the 7th and 8th decades of the modern Black community.

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