Bidnall, Amanda M. “"The Birth pangs of a new nation": West Indian artists in London, 1945-1965”, PhD, Boston College, 2010. http://hdl.handle.net/2345/bc-ir:104400.
This dissertation examines the careers and cultural productions of West Indian artists and entertainers working in London between 1945 and 1965, a period of large-scale West Indian migration to Britain. It argues that these artists espoused a collective cultural politics that was both ethnically aware and actively integrationist. Their work emphasized the historic cultural ties between the "mother country" and the Caribbean colonies, but did so in an effort to challenge prevailing media depictions of New Commonwealth migration as an unwanted foreign deluge. As a result, these migrant artists were among the first to express the potential of Commonwealth multiculturalism in Britain. Unlike many post-war histories of British race relations that emphasize the marginalization of black artists from mainstream culture, this study will show how the first wave of post-war West Indian artists, like Edric and Pearl Connor, Cy Grant, Ronald Moody, and Lloyd and Barry Reckord, sought to reach out to a wider British audience. Although their careers and artistic expressions were shaped - and at times stifled - by British cultural institutions that exercised their own assumptions and priorities, they posed alternatives to racism in a nation painfully coming to terms with its imperial legacy and multicultural future.