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Though Afro-Caribbean people were encouraged to journey to Britain through immigration campaigns created by successive British governments, many new arrivals were to endure prejudice, intolerance and extreme racism from sectors of White British society.Early African-Caribbean immigrants found private employment and housing denied to them on the basis of race.Historian Winston James argues that the experience of racism in Britain was a major factor in the development of a shared Caribbean identity amongst immigrants from a range of different island and class backgrounds.The shared experience of employment by organisations such as London Transport and the National Health Service also played a role in the building of a British African-Caribbean identity.Clashes continued and worsened into the 1950s, and riots erupted in cities including London, Birmingham and Nottingham.In 1958, attacks in the London area of Notting Hill by white youths marred relations with West Indian residents, leading to the creation of the annual Notting Hill Carnival, which was initiated in 1959 as a positive response by the Caribbean community.
As a result of the losses during the war, the British government began to encourage mass immigration from the countries of the British Empire and Commonwealth to fill shortages in the labour market.Many only intended to stay in Britain for a few years, and although a number returned to the Caribbean, the majority remained to settle permanently.The arrival of the passengers has become an important landmark in the history of modern Britain, and the image of West Indians filing off the ship's gangplank has come to symbolise the beginning of modern British multicultural society.Some of the racism and intolerance was stoked by explicitly fascist or anti-immigration movements including Oswald Mosley's Union Movement, the League of Empire Loyalists, the White Defence League, the National Labour Party and others.
Influenced by this kind of propaganda, gangs of Teddy Boys would often attack blacks in London.
Trade unions would often not help African-Caribbean workers and some pubs, clubs, dance halls and churches would bar black people from entering.