Sam Beaver King, Jamaican-born British political activist, Died at 90

Sam Beaver King was born on February 20, 1926, in Portland, Jamaica, and died on June 17, 2016.

He was a Jamaican-British campaigner.

King was the first black Mayor of Southwark.

Sam was one of ten siblings and helped on the family’s farm.

During 1944, King responded to an advertisement in The Gleaner that called for volunteers to join the British Royal Air Force to fight in the Second World War.

When he completed his initial training in Kingston, he was posted to an RAF training centre at Filey in Yorkshire and thence to RAF Hawkinge, a fighter base near Folkestone, where he worked as an engineer.

In 1947, Sam Beaver King was demobilised and returned to Jamaica.

Sam left the armed forces in 1953 and settled in Southwark, where he found work as a postman, the start of a 34-year career with the Post Office.

He was densely involved in London’s West Indian community, including the 1959 Caribbean-style carnival first organised by Claudia Jones in St Pancras Town Hall in January 1959 that was a precursor of the Notting Hill Carnival.

Sam contributed to the founding of the West Indian Gazette, the first British newspaper written specifically for black people, and was circulation manager in the mid-1950s.

He served as a local councillor for six months before being elected mayor of the London Borough of Southwark in 1983.

Sam Beaver King was the first black mayor in the borough and was, at the time, the only black mayor in London.

Sam Beaver King set up the Windrush Foundation, with Arthur Torrington, in 1993 to preserve the memories of those who arrived on that voyage and to campaign on behalf of West Indian immigrants.

King campaigned for the date of its arrival to be established as a public holiday to mark the contributions of immigrants to British society and became so closely associated with the cause that he was known as “Mr Windrush”.

King was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire in 1998 as part of the 50th-anniversary celebrations of “Windrush Day.

He was married and had 2 children, grand and great-grand children.

He died due to fall.

Sam Beaver King passed away at 90 yrs old.