Caribbean migrants not only came to work in the buses and hospitals. Many – such as the novelists George Lamming and Sam Selvon – came to Britain in search of opportunities to be paid to think and write. Others such as Stuart Hall, Vidia Naipaul and Walter Rodney came as students.
London also received a stream of de facto political refugees from the Caribbean and the United States, such C.L.R. James, the poet and publisher John LaRose, and Claudia Jones, the first theorist of 'intersectionality' and founder of the Notting Hill Carnival. Visual artists such as Horace Ove, Frank Bowling, and Donald Locke made painting, sculpture and film at the frontier of the avant-garde.
From London, they reassessed the past and imagined new futures for the Caribbean, Britain and the World. We are only now beginning to see as a whole this hidden current in Twentieth-century British intellectual life.
Image © Gioconda Beekman CC BY-NC-ND
Richard is a Gresham College lecturer for 2019-20. Born in Guyana, he went to school in Barbados, and was later educated at Harvard, Yale and Oxford. He has taught at Oxford, Virginia, Cambridge and since 2009 at Kings College London, where he is Rhodes Professor of Imperial History.
He is a leading international figure in the fields of Imperial and Global History, and has held visiting appointments at the École des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Harvard University, the Advanced Research Collaborative of the City University of New York, Ludwig Maximilian University and All Souls College, Oxford.