West Indian Gazette

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The West Indian Gazette (WIG) was a newspaper founded in Brixton, London, England, by Trinidadian activist Claudia Jones (1915–1964) in 1958. The title as displayed on its masthead was subsequently expanded to The West Indian Gazette And Afro-Asian Caribbean News.[1][2] WIG is widely considered to have been Britain's first major black newspaper.[3][4] Jones, who originally worked on its development with Amy Ashwood Garvey, was its editor.[5] WIG lasted until 1965, but always struggled financially, closing eight months and four editions after Claudia Jones's death.[6] George Lamming wrote for it.[7][8]

History[edit]

Started as a monthly, it quickly gained a circulation of 15,000.[9] The offices of the newspaper were located in the centre of the then developing Caribbean community in London, at 250 Brixton Road, above a record shop.

Impact[edit]

Carole Boyce Davies, biographer of Claudia Jones, ascribes to the West Indian Gazette "a foundational role in developing the Caribbean diaspora in London".[10] According to Donald Hinds, who worked as a journalist on WIG: "It was not merely a vehicle to bring the news of what was happening back home and in the diaspora to Britain. It also commented on the arts in all their forms.... It published poems and stories. Its trenchant editorials did not stop at Britain but had an opinion on the what, where and why of the cold war’s hot spots."[6][11]

Jones herself, in her last published essay, "The Caribbean Community in Britain", said of WIG: "The newspaper has served as a catalyst, quickening the awareness, socially and politically, of West Indians, Afro-Asians and their friends. Its editorial stand is for a united, independent West Indies, full economic, social and political equality and respect for human dignity for West Indians and Afro-Asians in Britain, and for peace and friendship between all Commonwealth and world peoples."[12]

Further reading[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Carole Boyce Davies, Left of Karl Marx: The Political Life of Black Communist Claudia Jones, Duke University Press, 2008, p. 92.
  2. ^ "West Indian Gazette", Lambeth Landmark.
  3. ^ Boyce Davies (2008), p. 70.
  4. ^ "The NUJ celebrates the 100th Anniversary of remarkable Black Briton Claudia Jones", National Union of Journalists, 9 December 2015.
  5. ^ Boyce Davies (2008), p. 66.
  6. ^ a b Donald Hinds, "Claudia Jones and the 'West Indian Gazette'", Race & Class (Institute of Race Relations), 3 July 2008.
  7. ^ Schwarz, Bill (2013). West Indian Intellectuals in Britain. Manchester University Press. ISBN 9781847795717. Retrieved 15 January 2016. 
  8. ^ Richard M. Juang; Noelle Morrissette, eds. (2008). Africa and the Americas. Culture, politics, and History : A Multidisciplinary Encyclopedia. Santa Barbara, Calif.: ABC-CLIO. pp. 657–658. ISBN 9781851094462. Retrieved 15 January 2016. 
  9. ^ Peter Barberis, John McHugh, Mike Tyldesley (eds), "West Indian Gazette", Encyclopedia of British and Irish Political Organizations: Parties, Groups and Movements of the 20th Century, A & C Black, 2000, p. 123.
  10. ^ Boyce Davies (2007), p. 92.
  11. ^ Warmington, Paul (2014). Black British Intellectuals and Education: Multiculturalism's Hidden History. Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge, Taylor and Francis. p. 37. ISBN 9781317752363. Retrieved 15 January 2016. 
  12. ^ Claudia Jones, "The Caribbean Community in Britain", Freedomways V. 4 (Summer 1964), 354–55. Quoted in Boyce Davies (2007), p. 88.