Claudia Jones was born in Trinidad and Tobago in 1915 but moved to New York with her parents and siblings at the age of eight.
During most of her time in the US, she was as an active member of the American Communist Party and editor for the party’s paper. She was deported from the US in 1955 and sought asylum in the UK where she continued her activism and work with the African-Caribbean community.
She founded and edited Britain’s first major black community newspaper above a barber shop in Brixton called The West Indian Gazette in 1958. The paper became a key contributor to the rise of consciousness within the black British community.
In 1958, the Notting Hill race riots broke out. Hostility from middle-class 'teddy boys' against the increasing amount of Caribbean immigrants eventually led to a night of violent racial attacks on black residents.
After the Notting Hill race riots, Jones used her influence to host the “Caribbean Carnival” in St Pancras Town Hall to celebrate the culture of those being discriminated against. The celebrations were epitomised by the slogan “A people’s art is the genesis of their freedom”.
Eight years later, Jones “Caribbean Carnival” became one of the pillars that formed the Notting Hill Carnival as we know it today, the largest street festival in Europe that celebrates the best of Caribbean culture and tradition.
More than 60 years on from her untimely death, Claudia Jones is still seen as someone who not only played a key role in fighting for racial equality in the UK, but as someone who paved the way for integrating Caribbean culture into the British life in a time of adversity.
Her legacy will never be forgotten.