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Claudia Jones’ life remembered

Published: 
Saturday, February 21, 2015
Writer, activist and community organiser will be celebrated this evening at the Cloth Propaganda Space, 34 Erthig Road, Belmont.

Today is the centenary of the birth of writer, activist and community organiser Claudia Jones. Unconquered will be hosting a celebration today.

The celebration kicks off at 6.30 pm at the Cloth Propaganda Space, 34 Erthig Road, Belmont.

The event will feature the screening of the documentary Looking for Claudia Jones. 

It will be followed by a panel discussion featuring Carole Boyce-Davies a Professor of Africana Studies at Cornell University. She is the author of two books on Claudia Jones: Left of Karl Marx: The Political Life of Claudia Jones (2008 ) and Claudia Jones- Beyond Containment (2011). 

Today’s event is one of many being planned by different organisations in the United States and England where Jones also lived and worked.

Jones was born in Trinidad on February 15, 1915. Her family moved to New York when she was eight years old. At age 20 in 1935 she got involved in organising for the Scottsboro Boys, which led to her becoming a member of The Communist Party and Young Communist League. 

She also began writing a column and was editor of a youth paper.

As she grew in the ranks of the Communist Party, she held various positions, from secretary of the Young Communist League, to NY State Chair of National Council Member, to secretary of the Women’s Commission, Communist Party USA. 

From 1955 to 1964 Jones worked with London’s African-Caribbean community doing political and cultural organising. She founded and edited The West Indian Gazette and the Afro-Asian Caribbean News, and in 1959 helped organise a series of cultural events that grew to become the Notting Hill Carnival. 

In 1958 she founded the West Indian Gazette. In 1959, in response to racially motivated riots in Notting Hill and the murder of Antiguan immigrant Kelso Cochrane, she organised the first Caribbean Carnival in England.

Jones died of heart failure in 1964. Today’s event is free of charge and open to the public. 

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