Fostering Independence

Large numbers of West Africans came to Britain to study in the postwar years. Many placed their children in the care of white, working-class families. Jordanna Bailkin describes how it was not just Britain’s diplomatic relationships that were transformed at the end of empire but also social and personal ones.

A Nigerian orphanage in 1955, where British and Nigerian women worked together to care for Nigerian babies. In Britain, the care of African children would become a point of political contention. Getty Images‘Squeezing Gold from Babies!’ ‘Babies for Hire!’ ‘White Girls Exploited by City Harpies!’ These panic headlines from British newspapers in the late 1960s described, in increasingly negative terms, the private fostering of West African children in Britain.

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