Thanks to recent events, immigration has been a hot topic across the country over the past few months, not just in London. However London has a particularly special relationship with the issues of migration and race. As the historian Roy Porter explains, London is no stranger to migration; “Founded by immigrants, London has had a ceaseless history of immigration.” For most of the city’s history, the death rate has been higher than the birth rate, so London wouldn’t be here today without millions of migrants from across the UK and the rest of the world. Unfortunately, memory can be selective, and many argue against welcoming more migrants and refugees into the UK.
Sadly, London is also no stranger to racism. From the murder of prominent Jews at the coronation of Richard the Lionheart in September 1189, through to the Battle of Cable Street and the fight against fascism in the East End in the 1930s and 40s, anti-Semitism has been a persistent problem for London and Londoners. More recently, immigration from former British colonies starting in the 1950s has led to tension and discrimination against Asian and Black Londoners. In the worst cases this has resulting in racially-motivated murder, such as those of Altab Ali in 1978 and Stephen Lawrence in 1993.
The stickers below all relate to migration, or the interconnected issue of racism.
Sources and Further Reading
Beckman, Morris. The 43 Group. London: Centerprise (1993).
Hindley, Geoffrey. Magna Carta: The Origins of Liberty, from Runnymede to Washington. London: Robinson (2015 ).
Porter, Ray. London- A Social History. London: Penguin (2000 ).
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