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Keep smiling through: black londoners on the home front 1939 to 1945
The 'keep smiling through' exhibition, held from April 1 to November 1 2008, explored the contributions made by Black Londoners during the Second World War. Supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.
From air raid precaution wardens to popular entertainers, black Londoners carried out a variety of tasks on the home front during the Second World War. This exhibition uncovered stories from South London and beyond, exploring both the positive and negative experiences of black Londoners from 1939 to 1945 through rare photographs, music and film clips.
The exhibition revealed the voluntary roles on the home front of ordinary black men and women. It told stories of wartime courage, hardship and service to the community. It also showed how bombing, evacuation and rationing affected black people.
The exhibition told the story of community leaders such as Dr Harold Moody, a Peckham-based doctor, who became an ambassador for Britain's black community and a founding member of the League of Coloured Peoples. It also showed the role musicians and singers like Adelaide Hall and Ken "Snakehips" Johnson played in keeping up London's morale during the Blitz. The exhibition also revealed how Caribbean and African Commonwealth countries contributed to the war effort.
The exhibition is now available for loan or hire to community groups, museums, galleries or other organisations for short or long periods. For more information contact us.
Exhibition resource pack
The keep smiling through exhibition resource pack includes text and images from the exhibition and is available as a pdf file. To download the pdf file you will need Acrobat Reader.