Sir Sam King, MBE. British-Jamaican co-founder of Notting Hill Carnival
Inspired by Sam King, an RAF Service-man in World War II, who after being demobbed to Jamaica in 1947, returned to England on the ship Empire Windrush on 21 June 1948. He was a Royal Mail manager, a community organiser, and Mayor of the London Borough of Southwark
I consider Sam king to be a very impressive and remarkable man;
Considering his perseverance, strength and ambition, without doubt he made a positive stand.
He was born in the tropical island of Jamaica in 1926,
And among his sibling he was the oldest son on the list.
Let me share with you a few examples of the things he did;
When Sam was a young man it was difficult to survive where he lived;
His mother said, ‘the mother country cannot beat Germany alone go and help if you survive-
It will be a good thing.’
In fact thousands were prepared to risk their lives and they too joined in.
Sam passed a variety of tests and then joined the Royal Air Force,
Yes, he took his mother’s advice and he was ready and willing to give his support.
In November 1944 he trained at Filie in Yorkshire, doing square bashing -
He acquired many other skills including gun combating.
They were taught to march, to take the civilian out of them and transform them into soldiers,
He learned engineering at Hawking near Folkestone, old-time aircrafts skills, sat well on his shoulders.
Sam was proud to be British having served with men from Norway to Sudan,
Despite the fact that food was limited and many a time he was a cold and hungry man.
Blacks and whites lived like close family and their lives depended on each other;
If a soldier was in danger he had to rely on the others to provide cover.
But Sam was disappointed when he was demobbed to Jamaica; the country having suffered a hurricane, everything was destroyed -
The coconut, banana and other crops and he knew the expected 5-year poverty would be impossible to avoid.
What’s more, Sam wanted to remain in England because he was doing a sanitary engineering course -
Which he did by letter may I add, but his request the authorities refused to endorse.
They said, 'unless you are married to an English girl or a college has accepted you, you cannot stay,'
So reluctantly, he returned to Jamaica in confusion and dismay.
Sam wanted to finish his studies, not become a farmworker as expected being the oldest son -
Selling bananas was very painstaking work to which he had no desire to succumb.
The British government announced that they had much work to do and required help,
Reassuring that candidates would be welcome and would generate their wealth.
Such an opportunity Sam was not prepared to miss
And he was determined to be on their list.
Therefore in 1948 he paid for his ticket and boarded the Wind Rush,
On arrival many of the 230 migrants were transported to an underground war shelter on a minibus.
No doubt Sam had concerns about the other migrants and wondered what would happen,
But at least he had dwellings and could avoid the gloomy underground shelter in Clapham.
Later while looking for accommodation Sam recognized that even if he knew the landlord from the Royal Air Force, he was betrayed -
Because most house owners were too concerned about what their neighbours would say.
In fact, even white women were forced to hide their black partner if they were renting a room,
Knowing that when their partners were present their chances were doomed.
But the worse discrimination came from the system that invited the Caribbean's over to their land -
They refused to lend the mortgage to Sam despite the fact that he was a respectable man.
He wanted to buy a house with his brother due to an array of accommodation setbacks,
And he had the required deposit with an active post office account but the bank refused to fill the gap.
Meanwhile, he wanted to join the police force as a career,
But soon he discovered how deeply the system was twisted and unfair.
He went to New Scotland Yard filled out an application, took the test and passed.
However when he went before a selection panel they asked,
Why do you want to become a policeman? Carpentry is your trade -
The panel even implied that he only wanted the position for an easy life and wage.
When the interview ended the panel told Sam that he would receive the outcome in the post in due course,
Four days later he received the usual response, very sorry you cannot join the metropolitan police force.
Although he reassured the MET that he was pursuing a meaningful career
They refused him, (the Windrush pioneers C.D. exhibits his account please compare).
Imagine, Sam had all the necessary requirements but due to his colour he failed;
Thereafter among other things he was a community organiser and a manager for the Royal Mail.
Sadly, the authorities showed no appreciation towards black people, for their contribution during the war -
Once again they had no use for their services and lost respect for them once more.
However, Sam King’s reputation was so floorless that by 1983 he was a mayor with a big chain around his neck -
And he was asked by the commissioner of police to encourage BLACK people to join the Met.
He remained in good health long enough to see his fourth generation.
What’s more, he remained strong despite the intense trepidations.
Yet his generation did not carry knives, guns, fight for territory or glory,
Hence! Most lived to a ripe old age to convey their stories.
What’s more, he remained strong despite the surrounding trepidation.
His generation did not carry knives, guns, fight for territory or glory,
Yet most are still here, at a ripe old age to convey their stories.
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