Saturday, August 16, 2014 "Exhibition 'sets the record straight' on black history"; " history goes back to Britain’s origin."

The Voice: HISTORIC: New BCA building invites the public into unique culture experience

The Stage, 11/08/14: Crowds in Windrush Square at the opening of the Black Cultural Archive.  Photo: Paul Reid

The Voice
Black Cultural Archives’ state-of-the-art building now open in Brixton

Written by Elizabeth Pears and Natricia Duncan


THE ARRIVAL of the SS Empire Windrush in Tilbury, 1948, is often considered to be the birth of the black experience in Britain. But a new “captivating” cultural exhibition aims to challenge the belief that black people did not have a presence in the country before this mass migration 6 decades ago.

Set in the Windrush Square in Brixton, the Black Cultural Archives’ (BCA) £7 million project promises, not only to uncover and explore the remarkable, untold history and contributions of black people throughout the centuries, but also to provide new opportunities for black businesses and widen the current Eurocentric curriculum.

Paul Reid, director of BCA, said the opening of the archives, which started out as two houses, represent a great victory and the recognition of the importance of black history.

“Words fail me because it has been a momentous effort to get to this point. After the baton has been passed from one generation to another, I feel so privileged to be in a situation where I can really put this on map.”

The exhibition, Reid said, is “consistent with the vision of the founders” whose aim was to “set the record straight”.

“It begins to confirm the fact that black history goes back to Britain’s origin. Black people have always been in this country. Most people don’t know that and don’t have any evidence base to study. So there needs to be a repository and a focus on that experience.” 

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