Gail Low


The recent season of Windrush films and exhibitions in Britain celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of the arrival of the wave of Caribbean immigrants in the late 40s and 50s marks a public moment of stock-taking and an acknowledgement of the changing nature of British identity as a whole. Yet the series also suggests that migration - and the impact of migration - is intimately bound up with the geographical locations and destinies of cities like London, Manchester, Birmingham, Liverpool, Leicester, Bradford or Leeds. As Mike and Trevor Phillips remark, 'the story of how ... migrants came to this country and became British is a story about cities. ' 1 It will be of no surprise that the experience of cities and living in cities, particularly London, has become the subject of much contemporary post-colonial and black British fiction, from Sam Selvon's The Lonely Londoners to the Black Audio Film Collective's Handsworth Songs and Salman Rushdie' s The Satanic Verses. The aim of this essay is to address the ongoing reassessment of race, migration, identity and urban spaces by exploring the representation of the city through women.



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