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I’d love to see a statue of Claudia Jones

23 July, 2020

Claudia Jones

• I DO enjoy reading Angela Cobbinah’s British African history features, but I need to flag up a couple of points in the latest one, (If anyone deserves a statue it is Claudia, June 18).

Black History Month (BHM) was introduced to London in 1987, so that’s hardly “early 80s”.

Also, while one could claim the gestation period of the BHM concept took place in the Greater London Council, the actual planning, funding, and launch of BHM in 1987 was by the Greater London Strategic Policy Unit.

I am glad to read that English Heritage has approved a Claudia Jones plaque. However, I hope they will follow the Royal Mail’s lead and describe her as a civil rights activist.

Quite frankly I think she’s the greatest African to have been involved in any form of activism in Britain – although I view Marcus Garvey as one of the world’s foremost pan-Africanist icons, he wasn’t really involved in any activism of note during his last few years spent in London.

Yes I would love to see a statue of Claudia Jones.

Her memorialisation thus far in London include an eponymous community group in east London, two plaques in west London, and a local location display in south London, all of which are covered in my London African History Through Representation In The Capital documentary.

Finally, I do hope no plaque or statue will connect Jones to Notting Hill Carnival or describe her as “mother of Notting Hill Carnival”, because that is historically incorrect.

Although she was not the first to introduce cabaret-style Caribbean carnival to London, I don’t think anyone can however argue with her being described as “mother of Caribbean carnival”.

BritishBlackMusic.com/Black Music Congress founder


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