During a visit to a new Black Cultural Archives Centre yesterday Prince Charles praised the ‘remarkable contribution’ of immigrants and their families of African and Caribbean descent in the UK.
The Prince of Wales was quoted as saying: ‘We are very lucky that you have made that contribution, particularly if I may say so, during the first and Second World War…At last, you have a centre such as this, which allows you to develop so many opportunities but also to bring the message to so many people in this country and elsewhere about the remarkable contribution made over so long, by people of African and Caribbean descent who have contributed so much to this country.
‘When we think of how many people were involved in that war from all around Africa and the Caribbean, their legacy is a truly remarkable one and I am so glad that you are able to ensure that story is told properly.’
Founded in 1981, Black Cultural Archives began as a community organisation when it was founded by a collective of community leaders, parents and educationalists under the direction of the late Len Garrison. From its beginnings, it has amassed an object and historical collection that includes personal papers, photographs, organisational records and rare books drawn mostly from the twentieth century but with some materials dating back to the second century. Black Cultural Archives opened the first national Black Heritage Centre in the UK in Brixton in 2014 with a mission to preserve and celebrate the histories of Black people in Britain.
Prince Charles spoke of the success the centre has already seen when he said: ‘With so many other initiatives that you are pursuing, I was so impressed to hear about them and the fact that you are attracting so many people to this centre. I believe 50,000 and I’m sure it will grow and grow. In fact I can see a time come when even these premises will probably be too small.’
The Prince, who was accompanied by the Duchess of Cornwall during the visit, went on to acknowledge all of the people who have worked tirelessly to bring the centre to life against numerous difficulties. He also met with a number of black war veterans who were honoured as having served with distinction.