his project owes everything to the spiritual guidance of Claudia Jones
with signs too many to identify. At every step of the way, she made
her presence felt in ways so remarkable that only conversations with friends
who understand the blurring that exists between the worlds which we inhabit
could appreciate. The many anecdotes that surround this narrative are best
left to that realm of Caribbean realism that we share over good food and
drinks, wakes, and assorted rituals.
Diane Langford, the erstwhile guardian of the Claudia Jones papers, is
owed a special debt of gratitude for her trust in me and her confidence that I
was the person she was waiting for and that Claudia’s papers would be safe
with me. Diane has become a wonderful friend, supportive reader, and source
of encouragement from across the Atlantic, providing at times surprising
photos, letters, and other bits of information. Ricky Cambridge, a trusted
comrade and Claudia’s last assistant, came into my life at a particular time in
this project, as though he were sent by Claudia herself to help guide me to her
papers in Hampstead, to reassure Diane that all of this was going to be in
good hands, to escort me through some of her ideas, to cross-check informa-
tion and be good ‘‘keeping company’’ through numerous pleasurable hours of
sharing. Janice Shinebourne has been an important link in all of the London
processes. Also, in London, thanks are also due to several former friends and
colleagues of Claudia Jones with whom I had interviews and conversations at
various times. These include Ranjana Ash, Pansy Jeffries, the now deceased
Billy Strachan, and John La Rose of New Beacon Books, Jessica and Eric
Huntley of Bogle L’Ouverture Publishing, and Donald Hinds. Buzz Johnson
is acknowledged for initially pointing me in the direction of this project.
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