the brainchild of activist Claudia Cumberbatch Jones, Notting
Hill Carnival was, from its start, a tool of
hope and reconciliation.
Born in Belmont, Port of Spain, Trinidad in 1915, Jones knew a lot
about hatred and the conditions that can create it. At the age of eight,
her family of five had moved to New York's Harlem, hoping to escape
poverty. What they found instead were even harder
At thirteen, Claudia saw her mother die of overwork;
by seventeen, she herself was ill with tuberculosis. When her school
awarded the teen a Good Citizen prize, Claudia could not afford
new clothes to attend the ceremony.
Yet she was talented, opinionated and determined. When, in 1935, the
Communist Party defended the "Scottsboro nine" (young black Americans
falsely charged with rape), Jones decided to join the
Just six years later, she became its National Director. By 1948,
she was one of the top editors at The Daily Worker, its national newspaper.
By then, Jones was a well known figure, invited to speak across America,
in China, Russia and Japan. She stood up for her beliefs at great personal
cost and went to prison four separate times because of her activism.
In 1955, the
witch-hunts succeeded in ordering her deportation from America. Jones
was given political asylum in Britain.
Here she again became a busy political organizer, working for anti-racist
and anti-fascist campaigns, including the international effort to free
Nelson Mandela. In March of 1958, Jones published the first
issue of the West Indian Gazette. This was a campaigning newspaper
she would edit for the rest of her life.
CONTINUE READING how Claudia Jones began Carnival