‘Sounds and soul’ echo across in Mansfield in celebration of Caribbean culture

Distant drums and Caribbean food were among the highlights as Mansfield celebrated Windrush Day.

By Phoebe Cox
Monday, 27th June 2022, 9:51 am

The event, in Mansfield town centre, aimed to encourage residents to learn about the area's black history and celebrate its diverse community, thanks to a £18,000 grant to Mansfield Council from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.

The opening event saw a performance from Distant Drums, a digital art installation that tells the story of the Windrush generation and the arrival of reggae, while passers-by were invited to try Caribbean food from Uncle Wayne's Jerk Station.

Windrush Day is celebrated every year on June 22, to mark the anniversary of the arrival of HMT Empire Windrush in England on June 22, 1948, bringing one of the first large groups of people migrating from the Caribbean to Britain, which faced severe labour shortages in the wake of the Second World War.

The performers delivered a digital and interactive story-telling experience, capturing the experiences of black British people from when HMT Empire Windrush arrived on 22 June 1948 to the present day.

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    Arrivals of post-war West Indian immigrants to the UK between 1948 and 1970 became known as the ‘Windrush generation.’

    As well as the Windrush Day celebrations, the event kickstarted an ongoing exhibition at Mansfield Museum, celebrating black British history from across the region.

    Sian Booth, council cultural services manager, said: "We are celebrating the contribution that Caribbean people have made to our country since 1948.“We had Caribbean food on offer for people to try and a performance from Distant Drums, which charts the history and heritage of Caribbean people in Britain.“The event was the first day of a year-long project, unearthing the history and heritage of black people in Mansfield and the rest of Nottinghamshire.“We are doing a year's worth of celebration, commemoration, and research into black history.

    Mansfield residents will be encouraged to learn more about the area’s black history and celebrate the local and national contribution made by the Windrush generation through a new temporary exhibition at Mansfield Museum called It Runs Through Us.

    The performers delivered a touching portrayal of the Black Lives Matter movement of recent years.

    “The project will collate and give profile to existing research by Black History Ambassadors as well as undertake research to unearth hidden black history locally.”

    For more information, or to get involved, call Ms Booth on 01623 412951, or email [email protected]

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    Visitors were issued with a free voucher to try a select dish from Uncle Wayne's Jerk Station. The catering addition saw people queuing up to sample a taste.