PAD/ 017 – for god’s sake, we must stop this coloured invasion

Stop the Coloured Invasion Protest Meeting, Trafalgar Square, London, 1959. Taken from Black Britain: A Photographic History, Ed’s. Stuart Hall and Paul Gilroy

a white banner shifts against Nelson’s Column, ‘KEEP BRITAIN WHITE.’

a bright white suspension of unwelcome and hate

ladies and gentlemen with heads turned up as if taking direction from God himself, listen to the message

from a man, on the platform, with Union Jack legs

as if whiteness and rightness runs through him like quickening sap/

the threat is real murmurs through the crowd/ a gathering searching for answers to stop the invasion

let me enter the scene/ from the extreme right/

let me mingle at the back/ near the man in a flat cap

let me feel the heat of the air/

let me sense the crackle of fear in their white, wholesome bodies

my body would be one of those coloured they want to stop

my body would be one of those aliens they want to exterminate

but what they don’t care to know is that this body belongs to a love evangelist

who’s at pains to show them how love can save us all

if only they’d part their ways and let me through

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