Yesterday, England’s first public statue of a black woman was unveiled. The ceremony was attended by VIPs from the black community, including attorney general Baroness Scotland and Doreen Lawrence.
The Bronze Woman monument represents the culmination of a dream that began 30 years ago. That was when Guyanese-born Cecile Nobrega, 89, wrote The Bronze Woman, a poem celebrating the achievements of black women in Britain.
The 10ft bronze of a woman holding her child aloft was designed by the sculptor Ian Walters, who also made the statue of Nelson Mandela in Parliament Square. Ian Walters died before he could finish the piece and Aleix Barbat took over the project. The statue is the first one of a black woman to be displayed publicly in England.
Ms Nobrega unveiled the new monument in Stockwell Memorial Gardens, where 60 years ago a former air raid shelter was used as temporary housing for the first Carribean immigrants arriving on the SS Windrush.
Tanzeen Ahmed of Olmec, a community investment foundation which backed the project, said the statue was being completed in a highly significant year for the black community.
"It is the 60th anniversary of the Windrush and last year it was 200 years since the Act of Parliament abolishing the transatlantic slave trade," she said.
"For us the poem – and the statue – is about hope. It is a message of strength.
"The bond between the mother and child is a bond of hope – he represents something positive that she wants for the new generation."