This book tells the story of the struggles of West African students in Britain, and their battles to articulate a coherent, anti-colonial politics. Hakim Adi documents the emergence of the West African Students’ Union (WASU), and its alliances with political organisations in Britain – including both the CPGB and the Labour Party – as well as with organisations in Africa. WASU was an immensely vibrant organisation, and its members helped to pave the way for the successful independence movements later to influence so many African states.
In West Africans in Britain 1900-1960, Hakim Adi charts the achievements of the student movement in combating racism and the ‘colour bar’ in Britain, and shows how the hostility of British society served only to create a sense of unity amongst the students. This allowed WASU the ideological and political space tof form its critique of colonial rule.
Based on extensive research, the book is valuable for the light it sheds on the lives of black people living in Britain before the second world war. But the book is more than a simple account of Africans within the context of British society – it shows the influence these pioneers have had on a world scale.