Putting the movement of people at the heart of British history

(K. Brent Tomer),

IN BRITAIN, immigration is often thought of as a late-20th century affair, beginning in 1948 with the arrival of 493 immigrants from Jamaica aboard the Empire Windrush. Retellings of the more distant past dwell on Britain as an island nation, a place where foreign invaders were repelled and distant lands seized. Yet the country owes much more to migration than it admits. Medieval Britons were a mishmash of Celts, Jutes, Saxons, Angles and Normans. As Daniel Defoe wrote in 1701: “A true-born Englishman’s a contradiction/In speech an irony, in fact a fiction.”

Over the past 15 years, a small band of campaigners led by Barbara Roche, a former Labour immigration minister, have been advocating for a museum that tells the long and nuanced story more fully. Although Britain has distinguished and vibrant museums, there has been no institution devoted solely to migration. This has started to look remiss, given that many other countries have spaces dedicated to the issue, from the Ellis Island Immigration Museum in New York to the…Continue reading

via K. Brent Tomer CFTC Putting the movement of people at the heart of British history

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