Today Sunday an event is taking place to launch a documentary, book, and audio CD exploring the Caribbean community’s heritage in Leicester.
The Leicester Windrush Project has documented the Caribbean community in Leicester from 1948 when the Empire Windrush ship arrived, carrying the first migrants from the Caribbean, to the present day.
The documentary is being shown tonight for the first time at the African Caribbean Centre, in Maidstone Road, Leicester, followed by an after party. There is a second viewing of the documentary as well as an exhibition, debate and refreshments.
Former contestant of The Voice, Bizzi Dixon, of Humberstone, is the project manager.
He said he came up with the idea after his father died four years ago.
“My dad came to Leicester in 1961 and he always told me stories. When he died, he took these stories with him. So, I thought about recording these memories.”
Bizzi added: “It is a celebration of over 65 years of the Caribbean community. It is a unique project.
“We have not preserved our history. It is like the Caribbean community have been missed out – now we have changed that.”
Bizzi applied for, and was granted, funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to pay for the project.
He has collated stories from dozens of people, from the founder of the Leicester Caribbean cricket club to the first black councillor – asking why they came to Leicester, first impressions, why they settled, and where is home.
Bizzi said he has been working on this project for two years, in 2014 he was juggling his commitments to The Voice and this project.
He added: “I was having meetings with Will.i.am and Tom Jones and then coming back to Leicester and having meetings for the Windrush Project.”
“It is really exciting I can’t wait for people to see what we have done. I feel like a pregnant woman and now the water has broken.”
Elvy Morton, 80, of Rowlatts Hill, features in the documentary.
She came to Leicester on a ship in 1958 from a small Caribbean island called Nevis.
She said: “I was one of the people who was invited here as a guest by Mr MP Enoch Powell, the minister of health. He’s a very well-known person who after the war advertised for people in the Caribbean to help with railways, roads and the health service. People who came in the 1950s and 1960s were invited to help put Britain back on its feet after the war.”
When Elvy arrived in England she worked as a nurse in Birmingham, before moving to Highfields, in Leicester when she got married in 1961.
She said it was gloomy when she arrived.
“Coming from the Caribbean islands, we had more or less the same education, but we knew more about England than they knew about us.
“It was hard to settle in because people did not want to know about us. “When we came here there was no racial equality. It was tough for some of us.”
Elvy, who started the Caribbean carnival in 1985, added: “What Bizzi is doing is well overdue.
“There is nothing really on record about us coming from the Caribbean in the 50s and 60s. In fact, up until now, we are a lost generation in Leicester.”
Tickets for the showing of the documentary tonight are sold out, but people can still go to the after party, which takes place 11pm until 4am. Tickets will cost £5 on the door.
Tickets are still available for today’s event, and cost £5.
A Leicester Windrush Project website will also be launched next month. Article courtesy http://www.leicestermercury.co.uk/