The King's Fund was proud to host the Open Wounds exhibition in its building from October 2022 – March 2023. This is an online and interactive version of that exhibition, featuring audio narration from Stafford Scott, one of the curators. Created and developed by Tottenham Rights, the exhibition explores the connections between health, racism and inequalities, and how this has affected generations of Black people. It does so through the eyes of the Black community themselves.

Author: Stafford Scott

‘Open Wounds’ means the history of colonisation and enslavement and its impact on modern day health and equalities on people of African diaspora... It’s recognised that wounds go both ways... For white people, who are in positions of leadership and authority, they have to recognise that they are part of that process, they have to go through their own journey to recognise that there are wounds. And they might also be part of the perpetration of those wounds.
Patrick Vernon

The Covid-19 pandemic is a recent, and alarming, case study of the issues that people of African descent continue to face today, alongside a wider range of examples that they have faced over centuries. Open Wounds undresses the suppressed and marginalised intergenerational experiences of people of African descent in the UK with institutional racism and, specifically, its role in modern health inequalities.

Institutional racism is defined, in part, as witting or unwitting complicity in discrimination. The term and concept became increasingly used and understood in the UK following the racist killing of 18-year-old, Stephen Lawrence, in south-east London in 1999. The historical context for institutional racism is often unknown, and is seen as being separate to personal responsibility for prejudice and the wider historical legacies of anti-Black racism that frame present day social dynamics. However, a simple glance at the history of the UK shows otherwise. Inequality, in all its manifestations, remains a complex and damaging reality that requires urgent accountability and a concurrent understanding of racism’s legacy and current-day impact to address it from its deepest roots.

Across history – from those whose journeys to the Caribbean and the UK were violently forced through chattel slavery during the 16th century, to the West Indian medical professionals who were invited in the 1940s by the UK government to rebuild the country after World War II – many generations of Black communities have been left to address the institutional and societal injustices, embedded in Western society, in silos. For more recent generations of Black Britons – who have campaigned against issues of deaths in custody, social exclusion, deprivation and hardship, and on behalf of access to better mental and physical health care (also during a global public health crisis) – the struggle to be recognised and treated with equal value continues.

This exhibition is a refusal to continue to ignore the wealth of testimony of lived experiences of Black people in the UK, and an opportunity to reveal the deeper wounds that exist and their origins, in order to redress the lasting damage of institutional racism with urgency.

New crises, old wounds:
the impact of Covid-19 

In early 2020, when news reports suggested that Covid-19 was a virus that would mainly target older people and those who are clinically vulnerable, many perceived that the brewing pandemic would likely not affect them. The perception among Black communities that Black populations in the UK were mostly younger and healthier was compounded by reports that amplified the belief that some people were less susceptible, and would only face flu-like symptoms should they catch the virus.

In March, the then-Prime Minister, Boris Johnson declared that the UK was ‘extremely well prepared’ for an outbreak of Covid-19 and he saw no reason to stop shaking hands. Shortly after this he was hospitalised and spent time in intensive care, having contracted the virus.

By the time Covid-19 had reached peaks in spring 2020, stringent lockdown rules were implemented globally and many people were disillusioned by the impact of the virus that had decimated everything they once knew – from access to work and travel, to being able to see families and loved ones, to unexpectedly burying loved ones. With rising death tolls and conflicting information, there was no end in sight.    

During the lockdown, while criminal activity had fallen dramatically across the board, criminalisation appeared to be prioritised over public health. The government had laid foundations for overzealous policing in the form of stop-and-searches, excessive use of tasers, poor responses to mental health crises and implementing restrictions on public protest – measures that fell hardest on Black people.

In the early months of the pandemic, the NHS, the biggest employer of Black people in the UK, failed to acknowledge the disproportionate death rates of Black people. Frontline workers and ordinary people bore the brunt of mishandling and unapologetic denial from the government. At the same time, differential treatment was afforded to political figures like the Prime Minister’s chief adviser Dominic Cummings, reinforcing the long-held belief that it was ‘one law for them and one law for us’.

Among Black communities, the police killing of George Floyd in Minnesota, US, in May 2020 saw a resurgence of Black Lives Matter protests globally, and shone an even harsher light on current circumstances, revealing a fuller picture of the calamitous handling of Covid-19 and the broad spectrum of Black community issues across the globe. Those who marched in search of justice for George Floyd did so knowing that such large gatherings carried increased risks of transmission of the virus, but the threat of death while in the hands of the state was imminent and devastating, and demanded immediate and grave adjustments. Tens of thousands joined these protests to shine a light on what many regarded as a longstanding pandemic of racism that they knew too well.

As a direct result of these mass protests, the government established the Commission on Racial and Ethnic Disparities – with the alleged intention to specifically investigate structural race and ethnic disparities in the UK – and Public Health England published a review on the disparities in the risk and outcomes of Covid-19. The review revealed that the complex and layered lived experience of Black British communities is not considered a fundamental factor when attempting to hold institutions responsible for the care they provide, despite the extensive and very public displays of outrage that unfolded. The long-term impact of this layered institutional racism is most often seen in mistrust of the legal system, but equally, and perhaps more severely, in the health care system as well.

Covid-19 review 

Exactly one week after the murder of George Floyd, Public Health England released the findings of its Covid-19 review. The report was expected to be an important landmark – to provide direction on how to tackle issues raised. However, the report simply confirmed data that had been previously available, showing that ethnic minorities were disproportionately affected.

The report asserted that Black ethnic groups were most likely to have Covid-19 diagnosed, with 486 diagnoses per 100,000 population among females and 649 in males, compared to the lowest diagnosis rates in white ethnic group (220 per 100,000 in females and 224 in males). And when compared with previous years, all-cause mortality was almost four times higher than expected among Black males for this period, almost three times higher in Asian males, and almost two times higher in white males. Deaths were almost three times higher than expected in this period among Black, mixed, and other females, 2.4 times higher in Asian females, and 1.6 times higher in white females.

Out of 89 pages, 11 pages of the review focused on ethnicity with the remainder looking at obesity, age, sex and other factors, failing to provide adequate reason for over-representation of Black people in the data, nor make recommendations for what could be done to reduce the disparities.

While the NHS considers race to be a health risk factor for certain diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, clinicians have long been unable to find direct evidence of genetic explanations for ethnic differences in long-term disease despite extensive studies.

Absent from the report was any consideration of the role that institutional racism and inequality might have on morbidity and mortality rates. The question remained: ‘What is it about Black people that makes them more likely to catch the virus, and do Black Lives really Matter?’

Frontline disparities

Current evidence shows that a range of socio-economic and geographical factors contributed to the higher infection and mortality rates for ethnic minority groups. These include occupational exposure, population density, household composition and pre-existing health conditions. Some of the excess risk can be explained by greater exposure to coronavirus infection at home or work, and some by a higher risk of serious Covid-19 disease being linked to underlying health conditions and co-morbidities.

People from Black, Asian and minority ethnic groups are significantly over-represented in the health and care workforce in England in comparison to the general population, comprising more than 40 per cent of doctors and more than 20 per cent of nurses. In London, 44.9 per cent of the NHS staff come from a Black, Asian or minority ethnic group. And people from Black and minority ethnic groups were more likely to work in occupations with a much higher risk of Covid-19 exposure – this includes people in the health and social care workforce, as well as people working as cleaners, on public transport and in retail.

In avoiding any reference to the impact of the socio-economic conditions in the Public Health England review, the government was clearly abdicating wider responsibility for addressing inequalities in society that Covid-19 was now laying bare. Within the new context of the pandemic, many longstanding issues resurfaced and were compounded with newer issues, asserting an even stronger need among Black communities to ask further questions about the value of Black lives and the quality of care given by the state across all areas of life.

The evidence showing that Black people experience poorer health outcomes, wellbeing, income, employment, housing and criminal justice isn’t new. But this new revelation we saw of government negligence, alongside the apparent complicity and ineptitude of the NHS – a supposed beacon for health and equality – prompted a critical and urgent call for radical redress and accountability of state bodies.

Even though Public Health England eventually published the data on socio-economic conditions missing from its report some two weeks later, many in the Black community had stopped listening. In not publishing the data Public Health England had allowed prejudiced debate focusing on genetics to continue. As a result, many people within the Black community believed that the senior leadership of the NHS was aware of the government’s duplicity, choosing to follow an unwritten code of confidentiality as opposed to a commitment to serving its patients.

This mistrust was compounded by the publication of the findings of the Commission on Racial and Ethnic Disparities – which denied the existence of institutional racism in the UK.

While a broad understanding of the historical struggles of Black communities in the UK was unveiled during the Black Lives Matter protests in 2020, the roots of racism in colonial heritage from the Caribbean, Africa and the transatlantic slave trade are still not understood widely or fully enough to accurately contextualise the true reality of Black lives in the UK.

Roots of racism:
from slavery to post-emancipation 

When English privateers invaded the Caribbean in the early 16th century, there were many justifications for the enslavement of Africans. The transatlantic slave trade was championed as an invaluable resource to build the economic and material prosperity of Britain. As a result, ideologies of African inferiority became entrenched in academic and professional discourse, across anthropology, medicine and science.

In 1650, an enslaved person from Africa could be bought for just £7. By contrast, a white indentured labourer would cost £10 for a few years. The economic benefits outweighed any ethical concerns. Comparisons between Africans and primitive animals, labelling Africans as ‘uncivilised’ and subhuman beings, bound to depraved religions and rituals, justified their brutal subjugation and erasure of rights.

In the Caribbean and Americas, Africans were advertised as ‘cargo’ and considered only as property; biologically built to withstand harsh physical labour and heat on plantations. As the plantocracy – the ruling class of slave owners and plantation owners – and their plantations grew, African populations on Caribbean islands grew to majorities of up to 80 per cent, which came with an increased fear of rebellion.

Following numerous uprisings of enslaved African populations across Haiti and Jamaica, Europeans used further brutality to suppress any spirit of rebellion. As a result, enslaved Africans were viewed as being complicit in their own oppression.

For enslaved people, estate infirmaries, sick bays, alms houses and lunatic asylums formed the institutional framework of health care provision, though they were not cared for beyond what was needed to keep them fit for employment. Medical officers, often recruited from abroad, typically attended to colonial administrators, the plantocracy and military personnel.

These attitudes are well illustrated by the words of the Medical Inspector for St Kitts in 1855, who disapproved of ‘the general habits of the black and coloured population... a dislike to regular medical attendance upon them; they prefer to quack themselves with herbs and Barks’.

The resulting policy of depriving access to medical services backfired within 16 years of freedom when a cholera epidemic rocked the region. As planters brought in indentured labour from India to make up for the loss of Black labour, they also brought an epidemic that spread rampant. In islands such as Guyana, Jamaica and St Kitts, the population losses of those of African heritage were documented as being between 12–15 per cent.

The epidemic exposed the poor living conditions of the free villages and generated fear and panic among local elites, who were forced to make policy changes regarding health and sanitation. As a result, the first steps towards establishing public health services in the British Caribbean were stimulated.

Yet these measures weren’t sufficient, and colonial officials continued to avoid a universal response to Caribbean health care, and instead recommended programmes that could be integrated into pre-existing territorial structures. Colonies were to be responsible for financing any programmes themselves, despite their constant economic constraints and continued debt to Britain. This resulted in highly disparate and delayed developments in social policy for British colonies, with more comprehensive social protection programmes only introduced post-independence and in select countries.

The birth of the NHS and rebranding Britain’s social conscience 

The NHS in the UK was established in 1948. It was considered a beacon of hope, with the aim of providing high-quality health care services for all citizens, free at the point of use. However, by the late 1940s, Britain had been embroiled in two world wars, with significant losses to the UK workforce and damage to the country’s infrastructure.

In 1949, the Ministry of Health and Labour, alongside the Colonial Office, launched a recruitment campaign to draw candidates from the colonies to work as auxiliaries and trainee nurses. As subjects of the empire, the law placed no restriction on West Indians’ ability to live in the UK.

Across the UK, the Colour Bar restricted people arriving from the Caribbean to arduous jobs in mines, shipping, and food and clothing production, working night shifts and without union cover. Landlords refused Black tenants, or added a ‘colour tax’ to the rent, forcing people from the Caribbean to rely on the use of pardner hand systems and shared ownership of homes, even if it meant that they were overcrowded.

Post-war arrivals met in salons and churches, and built on interwar organisations – including the Pan African Federation, The League of Coloured Peoples, and the West Indian Students Union – to advance their collective rights. In 1966, the average take-home pay for Black workers was 22 per cent below that of white workers. The Race Relations Act was extended in 1968 to encompass employment, housing, and access to services, the same year Conservative MP, Enoch Powell, made his infamous speech proclaiming that he envisioned the ‘rivers of blood... flowing’ in response to migration to the UK.

In 1975, Commonwealth migrants made up 30 per cent of nurse pupils and 29 per cent of student midwives. In 1975, 18 per cent of GPs and 32 per cent of those working in the hospital service were born outside the UK.

Black nurses continued to complain of being relegated to domestic tasks only and being paid £7–9 per week. Until 1986 there were two tiers of nurses, which hindered the chances for those of Black and ethnic minority heritage to progress. Black nurses were placed under the discrete, yet very different, position of state-enrolled nurses, and were often promised the opportunity to train for state-registered nurse roles, which had better opportunities for progression. Any promotion required the patronage of the ward nurse, many of whom did not believe it was in the best interest of patients to have more senior Black nurses on the basis that their patients would not be receptive.  Many nurses were left unable to pursue their dreams of career progression within the NHS.

In 1972, the majority of Black ancillary workers pushed for the first nationwide strike in the history of the NHS. Unions did not readily embrace West Indian workers whose undervalued labour they considered a threat to their bargaining power. While union officials asked for a £4 a week wage increase, ancillary workers demanded £8 more a week, longer holidays, fewer hours and gender parity. Union leaders undercut the strike, but the ancillaries had shifted the framework for what should be expected of working life.

British people themselves were unprepared for the influx of large numbers of migrants. There are many stories of the challenges faced by Black people of the ‘Windrush generation’ – experiences of racism, isolation and rejection as they tried to fulfil the duties they were assigned to. Many found that their qualifications from the Caribbean were not validated in the UK and they had to work twice as hard to ‘regain’ the recognition and professional levels they arrived with. Sadly, many never did.

Our Jamaican problem

As the reality of a more diverse UK became apparent, hostility towards Black people became more frequent, violent and contemptuous. While many of the Windrush generation had left families behind in the Caribbean to start what they hoped would be a prosperous life in the UK, once settled, in the late 1950s and 1960s they sent home for their children to be reunited with them. Within the British school system, West Indian children were classified as ‘dull’ or ‘slow’ due to differences in cultural upbringing and language, and placed in institutions known as ‘schools for the educationally subnormal’ without the consent or knowledge of their parents. Instead of pastoral support, Black children who found it hard to adjust or expressed emotional difficulty were quickly labelled ‘disruptive’.

Simultaneously, the public fearmongering surrounding Black youth also reared its head in the moral panic of ‘mugging’ – leaning on the stereotype of white femininity and frailty to cause media-led uproar – with many Black children being given custodial sentences and sent to borstals, a type of youth detention centre. Under Sus laws – stop and search laws that required no victim or witness and gave the police the power to arrest someone ‘suspected’ of intent to commit a crime – youths were remanded in court, often without legal representation or any guardians present.

When the Sus laws were repealed, borstals were forced to close. But policing continued to be ratcheted up to ‘address’ areas where Black people lived or congregated – known as front lines – which led to numerous incidents of physical conflict between police and youth in cities across the UK during the 1980s.

While front lines were considered to be safe spaces for delivery of services such as food provision, employment support and educational spaces, compensating for the gaps in provision left by the government, they were targeted by the authorities as being hostile and dangerous environments. As Sir Kenneth Newman said when outlining the communities he saw as challenges to British society: ‘In the Jamaican people, we have a group that is constitutionally disorderly,’ echoing colonial legacies and a need for forceful policing.

Contrary to the stereotypes of people of African descent, these communities were empowered and intentional about building a fair, equal and progressive life for themselves and those with shared experiences, and identities, whom they loved. The disparity in experiences between the first generation Black British and their parents – who were born and raised in Caribbean islands that were still fighting for independence and shedding colonial legacies – was felt in their household relations, alongside the daily stresses of racism, which remained felt across both generations.

By 1974, unemployment in Britain stood at 500,000 and the decline in available work intensified already dire conditions for young Black people who had been failed by multiple public services, including the education system and the police.

As the first generation of Black British children, en masse their voices remained a crucial element in understanding Black life in Britain and equality; their lives continue to act as a marker for social progress to this day. The realities of institutional racism can be seen distinctly through the course of their experiences with the state – from their arrival or birth in Britain; their experiences with the education system; being unjustly over-policed, labelled, institutionalised and criminalised. The consequences were often felt throughout adulthood in the form of employment, housing and health inequalities. For many of these youth, the impact is damming and, at the intersection of multiple failings due to institutional racism, has been fatal:

On 5 August 1986, a 27-year-old Black man, Stephen Bogle, was taken ill at a chip shop in Hackney, London. An ambulance was called, which Bogle refused to get into, and soon a police officer arrived and took him to Hackney Police Station. There, he was remanded in custody for a week after the officer learned Bogle was the subject of an outstanding arrest warrant for minor driving charges and possession of ‘a small amount of cannabis’. In the hospital wing at Brixton Prison, medical staff discovered that Bogle had a history of mental illness and also the genetic blood disorder sickle cell disease (SCD). His fluid balance chart from this hospital stay showed a substantial loss of fluid, which was not corrected despite the risk that dehydration poses to SCD patients.

He was pronounced fit to attend court on 12 August, and – unable to stand – was transported in a wheelchair to Thames Magistrates Court where he was placed in a court cell at 11am. Several witnesses at the court subsequently testified that police officers had called Bogle ‘a malingerer’, not ‘cooperative’ and was in a wheelchair because he was ‘able but not willing to walk’. A police surgeon called for an ambulance but when they returned, Bogle was not breathing, and he died shortly before 1pm.

An inquest found that Bogle died from ‘natural causes aggravated by a lack of care’. In his last days, Stephen Bogle was caught between two branches of the post-war British state—the criminal justice system and the health service.

In the Hackney chip shop, he had been claimed by both a police car and an ambulance when he was first taken ill. In the custody of the carceral state, his physical illness was interpreted as resistance to police intervention and reluctance to face justice, and he died as a result.

Stephen Bogle died as a result of multiple failings across different arms of the state. Had his humanity been considered rather than the deeply entrenched stigma attached to being a Black man in the UK, the outcomes – between the health care professionals he came across, and the police who instigated the carceral chain of events – may well be very different. This story is one of many, but a clear example of the intersections of institutional racism that threaten the health and existence of Black people daily

Closing the wounds

In the 21st century, it is widely understood that human need – as an area of policy making and social thinking – requires social security and care. At a structural level, we all deserve to be engaged in and supported by – through fair means – services that benefit our health, development and protection.

The Covid-19 pandemic was not only a stark reminder of the depth of this message, but it also unveiled the many gaps in societies, globally, that require voices from the margins to be brought to the fore to address the fraught conditions threatening the health, livelihood and stability of the majority, worldwide. As we have seen, across the intergenerational experiences of Black people, in the UK and worldwide, cries for urgent redress are often ignored with grave and longstanding consequences and even fatalities being the result.

While the contributions of the Black community are solidified within the foundations of UK society as we know it, each generation of Black people in the UK, those within its former colonies or on the continent of Africa, has its own unique – yet related – story of alienation, isolation, institutionalisation, abuse and neglect. This not only adds to the compounded feeling that Black lives do not matter; it asserts that they will not, in future, be granted the status of equality and belonging that they require to survive, despite the publication of reports and updated jargon that profess to seek answers, justice and change.

In Dr Joy Degruy Leary’s Post traumatic slave syndrome, she observes the cognitive dissonance faced by those who experience mental discomfort resulting from holding conflicting beliefs, values, or attitudes. In the case of Covid-19, we see how – despite the distress of Black people globally – the responses from public health institutions, the government and other institutions were minimal. They were unscrutinised and resulted in misinformation that clearly contributed to a disparate death toll and inadequate safety precautions being put in place, particularly, for those who were on the front lines and willingly contributed to the fair and equal society that the UK claims to be.

Calls for allyship, solidarity and community care were both valid and noticeable throughout the course of 2020. As the UK continues to face economic, social and political struggles, as the effects of the pandemic begin to crystallise, those who belong to a profession of care need to be bold and ask exposing questions about whose reality shapes their own position and powers in everyday life. What power do they hold that can bridge the gap, that begins with historical wrongs, but immeasurably hinders present possibilities for those who remain most vulnerable?

For those multiple generations of Black communities that have migrated, or been born in the UK, and continue to expose the discrimination towards Black people in the UK, the Covid-19 pandemic is the newest iteration, in a long line of state failures, which highlights the hypocrisy of a society that boasts itself as exemplar for human rights, diversity and equality.

The impact of institutional racism is striking, dire and continues to require urgent redress. Whether that’s in the form of infringing the rights and autonomy of individuals, or through excluding Black communities from being able to establish infrastructure and financial security through protected employment and housings rights; through not allowing communities of shared identity and experience to gather and organise; or, in the form of public service providers upholding racist power dynamics in the form of stereotyping, or implicit bias, by projecting notions of Black service users as being insubordinate and unwilling to engage. 

If, at a time when the whole world is vulnerable, evidence shows that Black people are that much more susceptible to fatal experiences under the care of the British state and its public bodies, be it police or health care providers, that evidence tell us exactly where we can take accountability.

  • Black vulnerability and susceptibility to poor health outcomes is not considered with enough socio-economic and historical context to situate the extent of existing health conditions, co-morbidities or account for the physiological impact of weathering.
  • The stigma, shame and mistrust that grows as Black communities attempt to access health services – or that deters people from doing so – is not an inherent characteristic of Blackness, but often, a learned response from centuries of abuses of power. The degradation of Black people’s humanity by services that are legally required to provide services of care or responding to social needs has been the reality for the duration of the relationship between people of African descent and Europe. Historically, this has only changed when it benefitted those in power.
  • Stereotypes of Black people, that have longstanding legacies in the context of wider global history, continue to undermine Black people’s access to health services. The issue of ‘implicit bias’ needs to be addressed through education and sharing accurate stories of people’s lived experience and an understanding of collective trauma.
  • The labelling and marginalisation of Black people’s experiences when trying to access services is a reflection of many different arms of institutional racism and often works in tandem with them. Those in positions of responsibility to care for the public require a wider understanding of the intersections of power abuses and dynamics between the state and Black communities to understand the wider power dynamics that they operate within and can be complicit in.
  • There remains a lack of urgency and an often neglectful or poorly informed response to our health concerns, even when we are dying at alarming rates and the evidence is undeniable. Being required to advocate, alone, for ourselves creates a vicious cycle, which impacts on our esteem and resources.

Among Black communities, the term ‘No justice, just us!’ rings true. The result of authorities not seeking, or accepting, direct testimonies from those on the ground is dismissive and erases the true extent of the damage.

While we may not be able to erase the age-old wounds of state-sponsored and culturally entrenched anti-Blackness, there are responsibilities, resources and profound capacity in each of our positions today. Equally, we belong – for better or for worse – to one larger community, one that extends itself to future generations, and the impact on all requires intentional, compassionate and open active contributions.

Institutionally led reports continue to document, challenge and criticise the lack of sustained progress or investment in the betterment of access to better quality social standards for Black people, promising thorough scrutiny and key recommendations to rectify harm and damages; and yet, with no discerning intention, endurance, strategy or commitment behind it, histories of discrimination and dis-proportionality proliferate.

Rather than committing to notions of ‘hard-to-reach’ communities, the response to disengagement – given the extensively hostile histories of Black communities with UK institutions – should look like an informed and sincere understanding of the stories behind each individual, the communities that have long provided for and sustained them through their resistance and self-empowerment, and a critical evaluation of the mismatch between UK institutional approaches and grassroots approaches and demands for change.

The responsibility to understand these complex experiences lies with those with the authority to educate and serve the public – where a moral commitment to understanding the humanity in others would lead to a more empathetic, culturally sensitive and fitting public health service.

If we use a holistic approach, we can begin to reconcile the Open Wounds.

Credits

Open Wounds was curated by Stafford and Kamara Scott from Tottenham Rights, a community-led initiative that address issues around social injustice and structural racial inequalities in Tottenham and beyond. The director of Tottenham Rights, Stafford Scott, is a trusted engagement expert whose lived experience and development has placed him in a central position in Black British race advocacy. He has worked within the NHS and in the then Department of Health, as a race equality consultant and is a frequent facilitator on The King’s Fund's Top Manager Programme (TMP). His most recent exhibition was the ground-breaking War inna Babylon at the ICA, which looked into the systemic racism within the police force and judicial system.  

Project team: Allison Trimble, Emma Sheffield, Helen Joubert, Hong-Anh Nguyen, Jane Thomas, Jordan Reid, Megan Price, Nick Willsher, Sharon Jones

Original exhibition design and illustration: Abi Wright www.abiwrightdesign.co

Image credits 

‘Black women & nursing: a job like any other’, Race Today, August 1974, attribution unknown 

‘Racism is the biggest pandemic’ protest sign by Marco Allasio, Pexels 

‘Racism is the deadliest virus #HealthEmergency’ by Backbone Campaign, licensed under CC BY 2.0. 

‘Covid memorial wall / UK’ by Images George Rex, marked with CC0 1.0. 

‘Crop nurse in mask and gloves with papers’ by Laura James, Pexels 

‘Health workers wearing face mask’ by Cottonbro Studio, Pexels 

‘Types of mankind or ethnological researches, based upon the ancient monuments, paintings, sculptures, and crania of races, and upon their natural, geographical, philological, and biblical history’ (Nott, Gliddon, 1854) (J.C. Nott and Geo. R. Gliddon/Google Books), licensed under CC BY 4.0. 

The Maroons in ambush on the Dromilly estate in the parish of Trelawney, Jamaica. An aquatint (from a painting by F. J. Bourgoin) depicting British troops caught in an ambush by a group of Maroons in 1795’, licensed under CC BY 4.0. 

‘Slave revolt in Jamaica’ by François-Anne David, licensed under CC BY 4.0. 

‘Notice of slave sale, "Public sale!...consisting of three slaves..."’ from Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, free to use without restriction

‘Jamaican immigrants welcomed by RAF officials from the Colonial Office after Empire Windrush arrived on 22 June 1948’, © PA Images/Alamy Images 

‘COHSE nurses and midwives pay protest, Nottingham, UK, November 1988’. © John Birdsall / Alamy Stock Photo 

‘National Front (NF) march in London during the 1970s’, © Simon Webster / Alamy Stock Photo 

‘Elizabeth Anionwu consulting with a patient at Brent Sickle Cell Centre’, attribution unknown 

Created and developed by Tottenham Rights, this exhibition explores the connections between health, racism and inequalities, and how this has affected generations of Black people.