How will these resources help you?
City of Spades
by Colin MacInnes, published by Allison & Busby, (2012), 9780749011536
From hostels, pubs, dancehalls, and more, it’s a riveting account of how lack and white subcultures both merged and clashed in 1950s London. It captures the way in which Black immigrants were treated, as well as exploring the period of adjustment for native Londoners, who had never experienced different cultures or even seen Black faces until relatively recently.
Johnny struggles to come to terms with how his status in his home city of Lagos drastically differs from that of his reduced status in London. The book exposes how Black working-class people at the time felt they had no hope of parity with white working-class people, no matter how well-mannered, well-dressed and cultured they were. It’s a visceral and powerful book, and a vital snapshot of how Britain adjusted to its first period of post-war immigration.
This book contains references to drinking culture and passing mention of drug dealing.
The Good Immigrant
by edited by Nikesh Shukla, published by Penguin, (2017), 9781783523955
Contributing authors include poet, writer and activist Salena Godden; actor, rapper and activist Riz Ahmed; poet, writer and playwright Sabrina Mahfouz; and stand-up comedian and radio presenter Nish Kumar. The range of stories and experiences is as eye-opening and informative as you could ever wish to find within the confines of a single book. From heart-breaking to humorous, these essays are honest, unedited insights into the lives of British people who identify as BAME, and the obstacles that they encounter daily.
There is a small amount of swearing in this title, as well as infrequent racial slurs, which are used by authors when recounting personal experiences.
The Watchers and the Watched
by Sid Chaplin, published by Flambard Press, (2004), 9781873226735
Almost all the stories of the genre are set either in the East Midlands or the North. Tim ‘Tiger’ Mason is a blacksmith from Newcastle-upon-Tyne. He is both fearless and fiercely independent. Against a rapidly changing industrial backdrop, these traits lead to several points of conflict, both in his personal life and as part of the bigger picture, from political squabbles to exploitative slum landlords. The book is a vivid depiction of the struggles and contrasts of working-class life in a world of heavy machinery that has all but gone. Tiger befriends an Asian immigrant called ‘Two Step’, which exposes him to the racism that is brewing in the city. Their friendship suffers when ‘Two Step’ is savagely beaten, and the novel culminates in a race riot.
Black and British: A Forgotten History - Charles Wootton
published by BBC, (2016)
Text © Matt Abbott, 2020.