Claudia Jones – Founder of the 1st Black Weekly Newspaper in Britain


Claudia Jones was born in Trinidad, a British colony. Her family moved to Harlem, New York, where, from age 9 she lived in conditions of extreme poverty. When Claudia was 12 her mother, a garment worker, died of exhaustion and poverty. ‘I couldn’t attend graduation classes because I didn’t have a dress. Our family was so poor. I cried for days.’

She worked as a sales girl and a factory worker. She saw that government measures directed against blacks also affected poor whites and so, when she was 18, she joined the American Communist Party. By 1941 she had become the National Director of the Young Communist League and devoted all her time to political work.

After the second world war came the McCarthyism period when the US government hounded, jailed and deported many blacks and communists for ‘un-American activities’, Claudia was imprisoned four times by the US government.

In prison she called on the United Nations to ‘investigate the manner in which immigrants in the United States are being treated by the United States Government. If we can be denied all rights and incarcerated in concentration camps, then trade unionists are next; then the Negro people, the Jewish people, all foreign-born, and progressives who love peace and cherish freedom will face bestiality and torment of fascism. Our fate is the fate of American democracy. Our fight is the fight of all opponents of fascist barbarism, of all who abhor war and desire peace.’

There were campaigns and protests for her release but she was eventually deported in 1955. She came to Britain and lived in Notting Hill in west London where she was active in campaigns to defend the black community during the riots against them of 1958, also protesting against the racist killing of Kelso Cochrane. She was one of the founders of the West Indian Workers and Students Association.

In 1958 she founded the black newspaper, the West Indian Gazette, a newspaper for the West Indian community in Britain which campaigned for an independent and united West Indies, justice for blacks in Britain and world peace. Claudia worked to create links between political campaigns and cutural actvities; she established the first ever West Indian Carnival in 1959, which continues to this day every year on the streets of Notting Hill.

Source

Additional reading: Claudia Jones: A Biography

Black Students in the UK Excel From Corporate Mentoring


For Immediate Release

BLACK STUDENTS EXCEL FROM CORPORATE MENTORING

The ACDiversity mentoring programme has achieved an 87.50% GCSE pass rate for 2007; this is 27.50% above the Governments benchmark of 60%. In partnership with some of London???s leading institutions, the ???Mentoring and Enrichment Programme??? was created for the black youth to support their development and educational growth.

Brenda King, Chief Executive of ACDiversity states, ???The Mentoring Programme??? has now proved that mentoring will improve a student???s academic and personal abilities. Black youth have many obstacles to face, and with this programme, it enables them to build their abilities and understand the aspects of critiquing social and media
influences. The results for 2007 have exceeded all expectations with their attitudes and personal issues greatly improved???.

Since 2003, 142 students have participated in the programme with 25 students in 2007. ACDiversity works with organisations that include JPMorgan, Citi, Clifford Chance LLP , Baker & McKenzie LLP and Barclays Capital.

ends

For all press and media enquires:
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AC Diversity
African and Caribbean Diversity (ACDiversity) was founded in 1990 by a group of black business professionals, with an objective to implement educational programmes for young African and Caribbean students in the UK. ACD became a charity in 1995.

England’s 1st Black Queen – Queen Phillipa of Hainault 1314-1369


Michael Packe in his book King Edward III gives a delightful description of King Edward III and Queen Phillipa’s first meeting:

“He spied on the unwitting sisters, and pounced on the youngest of them, Philippa by name’, at the time eight years old and nearest in age to Edward, who was nearly seven years. He had then subjected her to a minute and terrifying scrutiny. Apart from some criticism of her remaining baby teeth (they were ‘not so white’, he had found little fault with her solid physiognomy. Her hair betwixt blue-black and brown and not uncomely’, her forehead large; her eyes blackish brown and deep, her nose though ‘somewhat broad at the tip and also flattened’, was ‘yet no snub-nose’; her mouth was wide and generous, her ears and chin were ‘comely enough’, she was of middle height for her age, well taught, and of ‘fair carriage’.

‘Her neck, shoulders, and all her body and lower limbs are reasonably well shapen; all her limbs are well set and unmaimed; and nought is amiss so far as a man may see. Moreover, she is brown of skin all over, and much like her father; and in all things she is pleasant enough to look at it seems to us.’

Queen Philippa is remembered by history as a tender-hearted woman, who interceded with her husband and persuaded him to spare the lives of the six burghers of Calais, whom he had planned to execute as an example to the townspeople.

Read her family genealogy here.