Our Somewhat Visit to the Black Cultural Archives

Brandy Williams and Alexis Campbell

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After spending a good chunk of time at St. Paul’s Cathedral, we took a few minutes to refuel with coffee and pastries, then continued on our journey to the Black Cultural Archives in Brixton.

First things first, when we stepped out of the Tube station for Brixton (which is the terminal station for the Victoria line), we heard a lot of ruckus. In fact, trying to get out of the Tube station was pretty chaotic. Once we got out, we saw a street performer with a mic and an amp so loud, you’d have thought he was an announcer for a football area. We watched for a moment, then carried on. A few unintended detours later, we got on the correct walking route to the Archives. On the way, we passed the busiest (pedestrian-wise) streets either of us had seen since arriving, a lot of homeless people, another street performer, and an Evangelist with the same mic and amp setup as the first performer we’d encountered.

By the time we actually made it to the Black Cultural Archives, they had closed; we missed it by (literally) a minute. Unfortunately, we didn’t get a chance to go inside, but we got to see a little of one portion through the glass, and we saw a bright, geometric sculpture out front. Because of England’s rich colonial history, there is a lot to look at in terms of postcolonial influence, and that’s largely what the focus of the Archives is meant to be. We cannot yet confirm how effective this is, but we were intrigued enough by what we saw on the outside to want to find our way back, that is, if we can manage through the crowds.

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Even though we didn’t make it into the Black Cultural Archives, we got to see a decent bit of Brixton, which has a very distinct character from Kensington, so it was nice to see another side of London. Brixton didn’t seem nearly as touristy as St. Paul’s Cathedral did on the inside. Another upside: we got to see this really cool tribute to David Bowie and both were pretty excited.

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