Chapter 23 » 23.34

Social justice

Discrimination and disadvantage

Testimony concerning Dorothy Case (1901–1978):

In the mid-50s, West Indians started coming to this country in great numbers, and Dorothy had more and more of their small children in her nursery. With two Friends from Streatham Meeting, Dorothy joined a Racial Brotherhood Association started by the Mayor of Lambeth and a West Indian Brixton resident. The Association could not find premises suitable for a community centre, largely because of colour prejudice, and, when the Mayor left the district, the once flourishing association nearly collapsed. But largely through the determination of Dorothy and the two Streatham Friends, it was revived, Dorothy agreeing to become secretary. To find premises was always the problem and in 1958 Dorothy wrote: ‘Last year I felt that if we didn’t function somehow, we’d had it, and as I’m keen on cricket, I booked a pitch on the Common and collected a few of the West Indian fathers of babies at my nursery, and their friends. It surpassed all our expectations and we had a wonderful season.’ When winter came, although they only had two small basement rooms, they functioned as best they could as a true community centre. At this time Dorothy had helpful contacts with the International Centre and with Friends Race Relations Committee of which she was a member from 1964–1974, sharing her particular concerns for the West Indian community in Lambeth with it and, as race relations correspondent, with her meeting. A former member of Westminster Meeting recalls that Dorothy was a source of inspiration to her West Indian neighbours, standing by them in difficult situations, and offering them encouragement at all times.

Purley & Sutton Monthly Meeting, 1978

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