Share this

London Is the Place for Me: Black Britons, Citizenship and the Politics of Race, Kennetta Hammond Perry

Reviewed by John C. Mitcham



In 1948, the Empire Windrush docked in London with over 500 West Indian passengers—the first postwar wave of Commonwealth migrants seeking better economic opportunities in the metropole. Their arrival sparked a fierce public debate about race, immigration, and citizenship that reached its crescendo in the 1960s. Kennetta Hammond Perry’s excellent new study explores how these black Britons shaped the civil rights movement in Britain. Perry argues that black migrants made claims about citizenship and cultural inclusion that successfully challenged racial discrimination. “In doing so,” she contends, “they subsequently remapped the very boundaries of what it meant to be both Black and British in a critical juncture in the history of empire and transnational race politics in the twentieth century” (p. 6).

Perry begins by addressing how West Indian migrants battled institutional and cultural racism with an appeal to a shared sense of Britishness. Under the provisions of the 1948 British Nationality Act, all Commonwealth subjects technically enjoyed the same legal status. In reality, nonwhites faced discriminatory practices in housing and employment, as well as relegation to the cultural margins of society. Black Britons fought back by embracing a malleable identity that was, at least in part, “British.” In one

To continue reading, see options above.

About PSQ's Editor

Demetrios James Caraley

Full Access

Join the Academy of Political Science and automatically receive Political Science Quarterly.

Editor’s spotlight

Remembering Fred I. Greenstein

Eisenhower as an Activist President: A Look at New Evidence
Fred I. Greenstein

Search the Archives

Publishing since 1886, PSQ is the most widely read and accessible scholarly journal with distinguished contributors such as: Lisa Anderson, Robert A. Dahl, Samuel P. Huntington, Robert Jervis, Joseph S. Nye, Jr., Theda Skocpol, Woodrow Wilson

view additional issues

New APS Book

Continuing Issues in U.S. National Security Policy   CONTINUING ISSUES IN U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY POLICY

Most read

Articles | Book reviews

Understanding the Bush Doctrine
Robert Jervis

The Study of Administration
Woodrow Wilson

Notes on Roosevelt's "Quarantine" Speech
Dorothy Borg

view all

About US

Academy of Political Science

The Academy of Political Science, promotes objective, scholarly analyses of political, social, and economic issues. Through its conferences and publications APS provides analysis and insight into both domestic and foreign policy issues.

Political Science Quarterly

With neither an ideological nor a partisan bias, PSQ looks at facts and analyzes data objectively to help readers understand what is really going on in national and world affairs.

Stay Connected

newsstand locator
About APS