Postwar Jamaican Immigrants in Brixton, England 1948-1962: Citizenship, Transnationalism and Communalism

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


African American Studies


Herbert G. Ruffin II


Blacks in Europe, Caribbean Migration Studies, Community Development, Postwar Scholarship, Social History

Subject Categories

European History | Other International and Area Studies


Today little is known about the lives of the Windrush population and the settlement of Caribbeans in Brixton, London despite the large body of research on postwar Jamaican immigrants who migrated to England during the immediate postwar era (1948-1962). Previous scholarships on Jamaican immigrants primarily utilized quantitative methodologies to detail this history. However, this study recaptures some of the experiences through recorded documentations and oral narratives. The majority of this migrant population comprised of young single males seeking employment. This faction supported how this history was recorded. This research expands the field by incorporating the experiences of Jamaican women, whom have often been overlooked, to present this investigation to a broader audience. Meanwhile, their lived experiences are sites of contestations in conjunction with several assumptions on Jamaican immigrants, which includes: first, the relation between immigrants, particularly Jamaican women and religion served as a medium for coping with difficulties; second, racial relations between Jamaicans and White Britons were intense and sometime hostile in public and employment sectors; and thirdly, during the 1960s anti-immigration laws and the push for independence and decolonization deeply effected the dynamics of the transnational family structure. Furthermore, with the explosion of several race riots in Nottingham and Notting Hill in 1958, Caribbeans were advocating for first-class citizenship status and integration. Their efforts resulted in the development of numerous socio-political organizations to address issues concerning the safety of immigrants, discrimination, and human rights. Postwar Jamaican immigrants lived experiences further our understandings on their positionalities in England during the late 1940s, 1950s and 1960s, when anti-immigration laws and right-wing movements were rife. This study is part of a larger body of research from a historical perspective based on the recorded experiences of the Windrush population, archival data and seven interviews conducted over the summer of 2012 in Jamaica. More vital, through the utilization of oral histories this study will add to the current field and future research on similar focuses.

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