Blog 3: Antonette

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My Name is Eulinda Antonette Clarke Akalanne

I am a retired General Nurse, Midwife, Psychiatric Nurse, Health Visitor and Qualified Social Worker

My job roles involved working with patients who had medical and surgical condition, children and families some of whom had child protection issues or causes for concern.  As a midwife I delivered over 1000 babies.  I was a Senior Charge Nurse in a Medium Secure forensic psychiatric Unit where I assessed patients from Secure hospitals with the consultant, for their suitability to be discharged to a medium Secure unit with a view to eventual discharge into the community.  In my social work rold I worked in Child Protection in Sedgemoor DistrictCouncil.

Before coming to England, at the age of 18 years old,  I was taught nothing in school about slavery, migration and I did not even know that I was black.  At that time I was called ‘red’ to describe my colour.  I got a shock when I arrived in England ‘The Mother Country’ and learnt that I was black. The superior feeling I had against darker members of my ethnic group soon disappeared when and I became one and the same with them.  IT was in England that I learnt about slavery and that I was part African.  Growing up in Barbados, we had distasteful views about Africans. All that changed in England and I ended up married to a Nigerian Barrister. This was much to the disapproval of my mother who cut me and my children out of her will because I married to an African.  I had disgraced the family.

Migration has been going on since the beginning of mankind when Homo sapiens and Homo erectus left Africa to populate the world.  In contemporary   times people migrate for a variety of reasons some of these are: education, economic, famine, conflict, holiday and for a better life to name a few. Despite its long history, some people in Britain and Western nations abhor ‘aliens’ settling in their countries.  During the 1960’s discrimination against immigrants focused on Irish people then the Afro–Caribbean then Asians.  The focus is now on Eastern Europeans however I feel that once the latter group has had children who speak English they will be assimilated as English etc however regardless of how many generations of African Caribbean have been born here the colour will produce difference and it is that differenced that helps in discrimination against the immigrant.

I have had no experience at all in interviewing the public however this course has increased my confidence and I now feel able to do this.  The course has also given me interviewing the skills which I will use in my dissertation.

I have experience in conducting research but none in archival research. The induction which the archivist gave has familiarise me with this method of research.   I plan to use what I have learnt in my family history research.

On day one, I explored how BME people are represented by the union jack.  I conclude that they are invisible.  For instance, in the first and second world wars the black and ethnic minority solders were not given the honours that they earned.  It appears to be only in the sports arena that BME people are honoured for their contributions. Though we contribute to the British society we are denied the praise.

This course is excellent. It has really increased my understanding of race and migration and has stimulated me in further studies in these areas.