Windrush or Mayflower ? Sam King

Sam King as Mayor of Southwark

Sam King as Mayor of Southwark

The Windrush Generation, who saved London Transport and the NHS, came to support industry.

My strongest memory from the 90s. leading a team working in Southwark’s failing schools was an assembly, in  a school, in Peckham, largely Afro-Carribean was addressed by a black man, followed by a security guard.

That man was Sam King, Mayor of Southwark, he had worn the real, chain of office. So he was followed by a security guard.   40 roundels in gold, each worth £1,000. I don’t remember what Sam said.   But I do remember the look on those kids’ faces.  If ever there was a role model and inspiration, here he was. It’s possibly he set me off on my path of interviewing inspirational people. People who quickly disappear from History.


When he was nominated to become Mayor of Southwark, The National Front let it be known “that if Sam King became the Mayor of Southwark “they were going to slit my throat and burn down my house. My reply was … I am not against them slitting my throat, but they must not burn down my house, because it is not a council house.”


“After about six months as a councillor, they said they were going to make me the mayor of Southwark,” he said. “When I went home, my wife was in bed and I said, ‘Mother, you know these people are silly; they said they want to make me the mayor.’ She replied, ‘Sam, you’ve got no ambition. You can be anything if you want it.’”
Sam King set up the Windrush Foundation with his friend Arthur Torrington in 1996 to celebrate the arrival of people from the Caribbean to Britain following World War Two.

Mr Torrington said Mr King believed “the ship was no different from the Mayflower” which transported English separatists to America in 1620.
“He was the one who really kept alive the importance of the Windrush”, he said.
Despite the blue plaque, Southwark has not yet named June 9th as Windrush Day, which would be a fitting tribute to Sam

Sam King, community activist and politician, born 20 February 1926; died 17 June 2016

We will be interviewing Thornton heath residents, who knew Sam or who have family members or memories of Windrush. Leave details at St. Paul’s Church for Community Plug-in Fridays 10 to 12.30.

©2017 Christina of the Green


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