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Re-imagine: Black Women in Britain
Long before the Empire Windrush arrived on British shores in 1948 there were women of African descent in Britain. Black women were here to witness the construction of Hadrian’s Wall in Roman Britain and everyday life over the centuries, in the markets and music halls, homes and factories.
Re-imagine gives us a glimpse of some of these women, the traces of their lives lying in vaults of archives, libraries and museums across the United Kingdom and brought together for the first time.
Side by side. Face to face. Courageous women who, throughout generations have been brave. We invite you to ‘re-imagine’ their lives, to create a tapestry of stories that paint a picture of the many and eclectic roles of Black women over time.
24 July – 30 November 2014
If you are in London, or can get to London, please do yourself a favour and head on to Brixton to visit the Black Cultural Archives’s opening exhibition, Re-Imagine: Black Women in Britain.
I attended the opening of the Archives last week held and I have no words for it. There are no words to describe the significance of 3000 or so Black people gathering on Windrush Square and taking back Brixton from the growing wave of white middle class gentrifiers. It was moving, really and truly. The feeling continued later when seemingly everyone spilled into Brixton Village Market and again took back a space that has been stolen from Brixton’s Black community.
The exhibition itself acts to fill in silences around Britain’s Black women, tracing the history of Black women from as early as pre-17th century and finishing in the 21st century with Doreen Lawrence. The narrative of Black women in Britain has been characterised by glaring abscences and invisibility but this space throws the narrative to the wind: Black women are not invisible, they are here for you to see. There is Olive Morris in one corner and her mother, Doris Morris, in another; Mary Seacole’s photograph is proudly displayed beside that of Jessica Huntley. Please, please go and see it. You will not regret it.
Black and blue outside her soul
Carries a heart of gold
her misconception ‘about what love is’ she passes on
the child she brings intro the world dont know,
right from wrong
her soul is sore
she deserves more