Isolation from Family

Angela Smith: Roots

Angela was born in 1962 in London. Her parents came to England from Guyana and settled in Walthamstow where Angela lived with her eight brothers and sisters. At age five Angela went to a local special school. Then from the age of ten she attended two residential special schools run by the Spastics Society (now SCOPE), in Lincolnshire and Kent.

Here Angela describes the impact of the loss of her family relationships.

  • Angela Smith
  • Angela Smith
  • Angela Smith


I went to that school in the middle of nowhere, only one of four black children, so that was a shock to my system. I was very homesick, very, and because my parents didn't have enough money, they couldn't bring me home at the weekends and I used to go away for three months at a time and that's shocking i'nit? What happened was, unfortunately because I was away more than I was home, as I got older I became alienated from my family and it became very difficult to fit back in.

Initially I was excited, do you know when you have a big family, you get fed up of not having your own space, and that's how they caught me, they said 'Oh you'll have your own space' so I got caught up in that and they didn't really prepare me emotionally, and when I got there I remember typing a letter saying 'Dear Mum and Dad, I don't like it here, can I come home?' and the teacher tore it up!

I remember watching Roots, you know Roots, that was on TV and when I watched it, I almost cried myself to death 'cause I felt like I'd been sold as well.

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