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Mediating the Windrush Children

Caryl Phillips and Horace Ové

Josiane Ranguin

Mediating the Windrush Children analyses three plays by St. Kitts-born British playwright Caryl Phillips: Strange Fruit (1981), Where There is Darkness (1982), The Shelter (1984), and a film by Trinidadian-British filmmaker Horace Ové, Pressure (1975), as artistic depictions of the experience of the Windrush generation, a term that refers to the Anglo-Caribbean islanders recruited to help rebuild Britain in the aftermath of World War II. These works are vibrant calls to resist visuality as an authoritarian medium, and tools of resilience. The revival of Caryl Phillips’s Strange Fruit at the Bush Theatre, and ‘Get Up, Stand Up Now’, the celebration of Black British artists, among whom Horace Ové, took place in London during the summer of 2019. Both events put into perspective the 2018 Windrush scandal that saw members of the Windrush generation denied their rights as British citizens.
Mediating the Windrush Children should appeal to students engaged in drama studies, film studies and postcolonial literature, as well as members of the general public interested in artistic works focusing on the Windrush generation.

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1. Pathé Reporter Meets–, dir. unknown (British Pathé newsreel, 1948) , [accessed 11 April 2015].

2. Lord Kitchener (1850–1916), a charismatic field marshal appointed Secretary of State for War in 1914, had a brilliant career in the service of the British Empire and then as a member of the government during World War I. See ‘Lord Kitchener,’ History Learning Site, , [accessed 11 April 2015].

3. Aldwyn Roberts (‘Lord Kitchener’), ‘London is the place for me’ [1948], in Writing Black Britain: 1948–1998, ed. by James Procter (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2000).

4. See, for example, Muhammad Anwar, ‘Immigration,’ in The Oxford Companion to Black British History, ed. by David Dabydeen, John Gilmore and Cecily Jones (New York: Oxford University Press, 2008), p. 218.

5. For a succinct account of Lord Kitchener’s career and impact, see John Gilmore, ‘Kitchener, Lord,’ in The Oxford Companion to Black British History, 244.


1. The Race Relations Act was introduced in 1976, but police officers were exempted from its obligations. Many young Black British felt targeted for discrimination, particularly by ←71 | 72→the ‘Sus law’. After riots in Brixton, Liverpool, Manchester, and other cities, the 1981 Scarman Report recognized that racial discrimination was part of daily life in Britain but denied institutionalized racism in the police. Yet, 18 years later, Lord Macpherson concluded that institutionalized racism...

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