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Jocelyn Anita Barrow
*Dame Jocelyn Anita Barrow DBE was born on this date in 1929. She was a Black British educator, community activist, and politician.
Jocelyn Barrow was the daughter of Barbadian father Charles Newton Barrow and Olive Irene (nee Pierre). She was born in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, where she was active politically as a member of the People's National Movement. She undertook training to become a teacher and, in 1959, traveled to Britain for postgraduate studies, attending the University of London, where she read English.
As a senior teacher and later as a teacher-trainer at Furzedown Teachers College and the Institute of Education in the 1960s, she pioneered multicultural education, stressing the needs of the various ethnic groups in the UK. She was a member of the Taylor Committee of School Governors. Barrow was a founding member, general secretary, and later vice-chair of Campaign Against Racial Discrimination (CARD) – the organization responsible for the Race Relations Act 1965.
Barrow was also a leading member of the North London West Indian Association (NLWIA), set up in 1965 as a major component of the West Indian Standing Conference, which had been founded in 1958 after the Notting Hill riots to speak out on behalf of West Indians; among other activities, the NWLIA responded to prejudice against black children in the state education system, which was exposed in a leaked report. In 1968, she was appointed vice-chair of the International Human Rights Year Committee and a member of the Community Relations Commission from 1968 to 1972.
Barrow also held the post of vice president of the National Union of Townswomen's Guilds. In 1970, Barrow married barrister Henderson (Hendy) Downer of Lincoln's Inn and the Jamaican Bar, and they lived in Long Yard, Lamb's Conduit Street. In 1984, she co-founded Arawidi Publications, a children's publishing house. Named after a Caribbean sun deity, Arawidi published children's books in various language forms, including West Indian dialects and Glaswegian. Between 1981 and 1988, Barrow served as a governor of the BBC, the first black woman appointed to the corporation board. Barrow was also the Broadcasting Standards Council's founder and deputy chair (1989–95).
She was chair of the 2005 Mayor's Commission on African and Asian Heritage (MCAAH). It produced the report Delivering Shared Heritage, about which she said: "Our findings and resulting recommendations, far from being of interest only to African and Asian communities, set out a code of values for delivering inclusive and healthy heritage management practice for everyone." She was instrumental in establishing the North Atlantic Slavery Gallery and the Merseyside Maritime Museum in Liverpool.
She was a Trustee of the National Museums and Galleries on Merseyside, a Governor of the British Film Institute, and the first patron of the Black Cultural Archives (BCA). Acknowledging the key influence she had in the founding of BCA, their tribute to her stated: "Also known as the African People's Historical Monument Foundation, Dame Jocelyn recognized the need for a national monument like BCA to educate future generations." Jocelyn Anita Barrow died on April 9, 2020.