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Passage To England: Barbadian Londoners Speak of Home
London, no longer the capital of an Empire, is now a multiracial city. Some of the earliest agents of its racial transformation were young men and women recruited in the late 1950s from Barbados, then a British colony. They came to work on London's public transport system and in its hospitals. These Barbadians married and settled in London and raised...
London, no longer the capital of an Empire, is now a multiracial city. Some of the earliest agents of its racial transformation were young men and women recruited in the late 1950s from Barbados, then a British colony. They came to work on London's public transport system and in its hospitals. These Barbadians married and settled in London and raised black British children. In 1988 John Western interviewed the parents and children of twelve such families, offering a perspective on over thirty years of London's social history. "Race" is not the only focus of this account - these particular Barbadians have met with some success in material terms. In loosely structured interviews they were free to choose to talk of whatever came to mind concerning their own life histories and achievements, or wider themes of culture, politics and society. They often spoke of Margaret Thatcher and the changes that her decade in power had wrought upon Britain. They also discussed the changes they have noticed in their home island in the Caribbean. For the migrant generation, as retirement comes closer, an inevitable question has to be confronted. Does one stay in London - with one's children and grandchildren - or does one return to Barbados, which seems no longer the same island as the one they left thirty years ago? where or what is "home" for them today? The Barbadian Londoners share the cosmopolitan immigrant's uncertainties and liberations, and are thus members of an ever-increasing complement of geographically mobile people worldwide. "John Western teaches at Syracuse University, where in 1987 he won the Daniel Patrick Moynihan social science award and in 1990 the College of Arts and Sciences' prize for undergraduate teaching. He previously taught at Temple and Ohio State universities, and is the author of" Outcast Cape Town. "Raised in England, he lived in Burundi, Canada and South Africa before settling in the United States". A passage to England "is based upon fieldwork conducted while he was on leave at the London School of Economics in 1987--88". This book is intended for students and researchers working in race and ethnic studies, immigration and human geography.
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