A life-sized replica of the Empire Windrush ship anchor has been on display at Middlesex University as part of Black History Month and to coincide with an event celebrating the achievements and career journeys of Black women.
The Windrush Anchor Heritage Education Programme tours with the replica around the UK to remember the Empire which arrived in the UK on June 21st 1948.
This year celebrates 75 years of the Windrush that carried 492 people from the Caribbean, many of the them veterans of the Second World War, who travelled to help Britain re-build the society's damaged infrastructure.
"Hearing about the career-life-stories of women of colour during Windrush, with our own ears and seeing the replica of the anchor up close with our own eyes, is a powerful reminder of what can be achieved regardless of adversity." Dr Doirean Wilson.
In 1965 approximately 5,000 Jamaican women were employed in British hospitals, and by 1977 sixty-six percent of overseas student nurses and midwives were from the Caribbean.
Despite the challenges they endured due to discrimination as Black women, many such as Bishop, Dr Esme Beswick MBE, who was a nurse in Kent during the 1960s, were able to succeed.
The Heritage Education Programme develops innovative educational approaches such as sharing insight to the stories surrounding the Windrush anchor, to raise cultural esteem.
This programme is co-ordinated by Rudi Page, Founder and CEO of Making Connections Work, who was a panellist at this year's Black History Month event.
Middlesex academic Dr Doirean Wilson, the event co-organiser, revealed her parents arrived from Jamaica during the Windrush era with her mother working as a nurse in the German Hospital in Hackney, and her father becoming the first Black guard for British Rail.
Dr Wilson said: “This display I will be a reminder of my parents’ stories of their experience and career during the Windrush era.
"Hearing about the career-life-stories of women of colour during Windrush, with our own ears and seeing the replica of the anchor up close with our own eyes, is a powerful reminder of what can be achieved regardless of adversity."
Speaking at the event Professor Sean Wellington, Pro Interim Vice-Chancellor, said: “It’s an honour to be here with you today as we recognise the amazing contribution of inspirational Black women in our community during Black History Month.
“This is a great event and its mission is so close to what Middlesex University is all about – creating, progressing and celebrating the leaders of tomorrow in a proudly diverse, interconnected and global world.”
The event included a Barnet Multi Faith Forum gathering and a ‘celebrating our sisters’ showcase honouring the successes of Black women which featured a number of speakers including MDX visiting scholar Dr Patti Boulaye OBE, a famous singer, entrepreneur and actress
Dr Boulaye said: “You cannot walk forward if you’re looking back at the same time.
“How can we have our children create a future history? It will involve unity, sacrifice, dedication and hard work.”