Wandsworth Hears the Story of Claudia Jones

Four days of events about an inspiring political activist

The Story of Claudia Jones being told

Claudia Jones has been brought into the mainstream during this year’s Wandsworth Fringe.

As part of Windrush Day 2022 celebrations and Wandsworth’s Arts Fringe festival (WAF 2022), a collective of 160 school children, year 7 and above, over four days, were taken on a journey through her story. For an afternoon in four Wandsworth libraries - Balham, Battersea, Tooting, and York Gardens- they watched her story come to life through an innovative blend of drama, song, photography, and film.

The Trinidadian born, US immigrant, political activist was a victim of the USA McCarthy era repression. She was deported to England in the early 1960s and became known as the mother of the Caribbean Carnival in London, the precursor to the world-famous Notting Hill Carnival. Now buried beside Karl Marx in Highgate cemetery Claudia Jones was a force to be reckoned with.

This collaboration with Wandsworth libraries engaged with local schools, Harris Academy, Ark John Archer primary Academy, Graveney and Ernest Bevan schools, explored tools and techniques to help young people increase their emotional resilience and address serious issues such as bullying, peer pressure, youth violence and sexual exploitation.

The children involved learnt about Claudia’s fight against discrimination and it is to be hoped that some will be inspired to emulate her courage and determination.

The Story of Claudia Jones seeks to empower and inform its audiences and increase public understanding and appreciation of Black history and culture.

Dignitaries at the finale of the four days of events

The finale to four days with the schools was a full evening performance to a packed house at Battersea Arts Centre in the presence of the deputy mayor of Wandsworth Cllr. Sarmila Varatharaj, and the Jamaican High Commissioner Seth George Ramocan CD and his wife Dr Ramocan.


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July 6, 2022