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Papers of Melba Wilson

Identifier: Wilson


  • Creation: 1977-1989

Conditions Governing Access

Some parts of the collection is closed due to GDPR

Biographical / Historical

The collection spans over 40 years of Melba Wilson’s work in national and regional mental health programmes, policy units and services, including grassroots and community activism alongside formal policy work and leadership. The materials in the collection reflect unprecedented efforts at national, regional and local levels to tackle inequalities in mental health services from the 1980’s-2010.

In a professional capacity, Wilson's work includes a broad public policy portfolio in health and social welfare, in both the statutory and voluntary sectors including work for Mind, as Policy Officer, Race and Mental Health Adviser and finally, as Policy Director during a six-year period, leading a team focused on campaigning and service development.

Her ongoing public policy and service development work with bodies include The King's Fund, the former National Mental Health Development Unit, and a number of NHS, governmental and voluntary as well as with Black and minority ethnic community groups. Previously, she was a Non-Executive Director of South West London and St. George's Mental Health NHS Trust. She was involved in various government working groups, including the London Race Equality Group and the NHS Appointments Commission's Advisory and Black and Minority Ethnic Advisory Groups. Melba Wilson was made an OBE in 2007 for her services to healthcare.

Melba Wilson was born in in 1947 in Virginia, USA and raised in Texas. Wilson trained a journalist, gaining a degree in Mass Communication in 1977. She moved to the UK later that year and continued her career as a journalist, specialising in health reporting. Concurrently Melba Wilson also began to write more politically focused pieces about Britain’s Black communities and became a part of the burgeoning Black Women’s Movement. Her work within the Brixton Black Women’s Group, a ground-breaking socialist feminist organisation (1973-1985) alongside her wider involvement in campaigning for the rights for Black women, particularly in the field of healthcare, are also reflected within the collection.


57 boxes (Material relating to Wilson's work with mental health and the Black Women's Movement)

Language of Materials


Language of description
Script of description
The cataloguing of this collection was funded by the Wellcome Trust under the title 'Undaunted.'

Repository Details

Part of the Archives Collection Repository

Black Cultural Archives
1 Windrush Square