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Dulwich College Black History Month 2023: Windrush 75

Dulwich College Black History Month 2023: Windrush 75

This October, students and staff have been involved in a busy schedule of events across the College to mark Black History Month. Our focus this year has been ‘Windrush 75’ to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the arrival of HMT Empire Windrush to Britain in 1948 and the significant contribution that British Caribbean communities have made to society.

Our celebration of Black History Month began with a fantastic launch video shown to pupils in assemblies, featuring Senior Prefects and members of the African and Caribbean Society who spoke about the significance of our theme and the contributions of British Caribbean people to the NHS, British Armed Forces, and sport. We were delighted that Baroness Floella Benjamin and Arthur Torrington CBE also addressed the College community in the film.


Pupils have greatly enjoyed the wide range of external speakers that have been invited to the College over the course of the month. In the final week of term, Years 7-10 attended inspiring assemblies given by Emmanuel Jal, who spoke about his journey from being a child-soldier in South Sudan to becoming a renowned artist and peace ambassador. A week earlier, Arthur Torrington CBE, co-founder of the Windrush Foundation, addressed our African and Caribbean Society on the history of the HMT Empire Windrush and the lives of some of its passengers, such as Sam King, who went on to become Mayor of Southwark. Year 8 pupils attended a screening of the film ‘Standing Firm: Football’s Windrush Story’ and enjoyed a Q&A with Sally Brown (Executive Producer).

Arthur Torrington talks to students and staff in Wodehouse Library

Arthur Torrington CBE talks to students and staff in the Wodehouse Library

The Art Department’s ‘Windrush 75’ installation in The Store has been used as a space of reflection during lessons and society meetings, allowing pupils to engage with a range of archival material and to complete tasks in response.  We were delighted to welcome Joshua Obichere of Skin Deep Education to host art workshops in The Store, where he worked with a selection of our Year 7, 9, 12 and 13 artists to create a collaborative canvas that responded to four different chapters of the 75 years of history since HMT Empire Windrush arrived in 1948.

Joshua Obichere, teacher and students with artwork

Art workshop with Joshua Obichere

As ever, the Union of Societies has played a vital role in our marking of Black History Month across the College, with pupils researching and presenting to their peers on a range of topics. Some notable examples include Politics Society’s talk on the Windrush Scandal by Koutaro Nomoto (Year 13) and Zaki Kabir (Year 13) and Chemistry Society’s exploration of Alice Ball’s treatment for leprosy.

Chemistry Society explore Alice Ball's treatment for leprosy

Chemistry Society explore Alice Ball's treatment for leprosy

In DUCKS, our pupils enjoyed listening to a variety of books read to them by our Senior Prefects, which included stories such as Coming to England by Baroness Floella Benjamin, Granny Came Here on the Empire Windrush by Patrice Lawrence, and We sang across the Sea by Benjamin Zephaniah. In the Kindergarten, pupils had fun riding their bikes and stopping at the Garrett Morgan replica traffic lights whilst also learning about road safety and creating some fabulous red, amber and green artwork.

DUCK pupils pointing to Garrett Morgan traffic lights

Pupil at the Garrett Morgan replica traffic lights

In the Junior School, pupils engaged with the Windrush 75 theme through some brilliant lesson activities. Year 5 and 6 focused on the Voices of Windrush, where pupils explored a range of biographies and autobiographies, written from the perspective of key members of the Windrush Generation, as they looked back on their experiences and contributions, including some more recent challenges. Year 3 explored the theme through their work creating video montages whilst Year 4 enjoyed engaging with Windrush 75 through a poetic lens.

Year 6 pupils watch Windrush video

Year 6 pupils watch the Black History Month video

We look forward to continuing to celebrate the contributions of the Windrush Generation, and Britain’s Black communities more broadly, across the remainder of the school year and are very grateful to all of our pupils and staff members who have made our celebration of Black History Month so engaging this year.

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