“Come Mek Wi Dig Out Dem Roots!” was the enthusiastic cry as Sharon Tomlin, a Caribbean family historian, took to the stage at the March Mash-up at The National Archives this week.
The event was a celebration of various projects that have been running as part of the Caribbean through a lens Outreach project over the past year.
‘Caribbean through a lens’, led by my colleagues Sandra Shakespeare and Sara Griffiths, is part of the wider Through a lens photograph project that has released Colonial Office images online over the past few years. The Caribbean collection has had particular focus from the Outreach team, working with Caribbean communities across the country in response to the images - evoking memories and re-interpreting and re-using the information in their own way.
One of the popular images from the Caribbean collection. INF 10/39/10 Barbados 1950-1968
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In August 1972, Idi Amin, the leader of Uganda, gave the order that Asian people living in Uganda had 90 days to leave the country.
This triggered the mass movement of almost 80,000 Ugandan Asians, seeking refuge in countries all over the world. Boarding planes, most could only take what they could carry or were permitted to carry. Just over 28,000 came to Britain to start new lives, often leaving family, friends, businesses and possessions behind.
This month our Outreach team, led by my colleague Yasmeen Haji, organised a day to reflect, remember and at times celebrate the lives and experiences of those who left Uganda for Britain. Around 100 people from the British Ugandan Asian community came to The National Archives for a day to take part in cultural workshops, discussions and performances to mark the events of 40 years ago.
The National Archives holds many documents relating to this turbulent period in Ugandan history and the lives of those forced to leave. We wanted to share these records with those who experienced it firsthand and hear their memories.
A document display where participants shared memories
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