Sarah Garrod has over twenty years’ experience as a professional archivist, including former posts in collections management and public services at the London Metropolitan Archives and Hampshire Record Office. Sarah joined the George Padmore Institute in 2003 and has been central to the development of the GPI Archives from its infancy, as well as managing staff and the GPI volunteer team. She is committed to the sharing of knowledge and making archives as accessible as possible through delivering workshops, managing creative residencies and exhibition work.
Teresa Palmiero has been the part-time office manager at the George Padmore Institute since November 2019. She has also worked in publishing for twenty-five years. She was Editorial Manager for Wasafiri: The Magazine of International Contemporary Literature for eleven years.
Roxy Harris is a founder Trustee (1991) of the George Padmore Institute and is its current Chair. He was a member of the Black Parents' Movement, played a major part in the International Bookfair of Radical Black and Third World Books, was a member of the New Cross Massacre Action Committee and for many years was a co-ordinator and teacher in the George Padmore Supplementary School. He has taught in secondary schools, further education colleges, adult education institutes and in universities. He has authored and edited numerous books and other publications. He is of Sierra Leonean descent.
Born in the Sudan, Ali Hussein came to the UK in 1972 and has lived and worked in the north of England ever since.
Ali was a co-founder of Griot International Books, Creation For Liberation (North) and of the Independent Black Collective. He worked as the co-ordinator for the Hall Place Studios at Leeds Metropolitan University, where he was responsible for policy training and education in the field of film, video and sound production. He is currently the deputy representative of the Sudanese People's Liberation Movement - North (SPLM-N).
Born in England, Sarah White’s first job was Soviet science consultant for the New Scientist, where she remained for about 15 years. In 1966, she and her partner John La Rose founded New Beacon Books, the UK’s first black publisher. Sarah was active in all aspects of its book business for 50 years before retiring at the end of 2016. This period covered major cultural, political and educational movements. Sarah is the founding Trustee/Secretary of the George Padmore Institute and has been involved in building its valuable archive. She has also worked actively with other trustees in developing its publishing programme.
Azim Hajee was a Prospect Negotiations Officer, representing engineers and professionals in electricity supply and museums. He helped found the European Works Council for Electricité de France, and negotiated their global agreement for corporate social responsibility. He was in the civil service union, PCS and led the first courts’ staff strike against PFI.
In the 1990s Azim worked with John La Rose on European Action for Racial Equality and Social Justice and on the organising committee for the International Book Fair of Radical Black and Third World Books. He was press officer for the Stephen Lawrence Family Campaign. Before that campaigned for black workers self-organisation, founding Camden Black Workers Group, and NALGO’s National Black Members Co-ordinating Committee. In 2019, he trekked across Palestine from Nablus Hebron, Jericho, Bethlehem and Jerusalem, and his group collectively raised over £70,000 for Medical Aid for Palestinians.
Born in Jamaica, Dr Aggrey Burke is a pioneering black psychiatrist who has spent most of his working life in the UK. His particular interests have been the role of racial discrimination in psychiatric disorders. In 1981, together with other black professionals, he set up a pioneering support group for the bereaved families following the New Cross fire. In 1986, he co-authored a ground-breaking paper exposing the ‘colour bar’ then existing in London medical schools.
Now retired, Aggrey lends his support to numerous causes from local black-led campaigns to being employed by the General Medical Council, to rule on whether erring doctors are “fit to practice”.
Born and raised in Canada, Chris Moffat is a writer and historian who lectures at Queen Mary University of London. Chris has published widely on anti-colonial politics in South Asia and is the author of India’s Revolutionary Inheritance: Politics and the Promise of Bhagat Singh (2019). He is now writing on architecture and history in Pakistan.
Chris began working with the GPI as a volunteer in 2012. His article ‘“Against Cultures of Hiatus”: History and the Archive in the Political Thought of John La Rose’ appears in the journal Small Axe: A Caribbean Journal of Criticism (March 2018).
Born in Grenada, Janice Durham came to Britain at the age of 12.
She trained as a nurse but has been working with New Beacon Books since 1979. She is their Book Service Manager, dealing with the supplies of books to libraries, colleges, schools and overseas institutions. She was a member of the Black Youth Movement and an executive member of the Peoples War Carnival Band. She has been an active participant in the carnival movement.
Linton Kwesi Johnson was born in Jamaica in 1952. He joined his mother in the UK in 1963, attended Tulse Hill Secondary School in London and studied sociology at Goldsmiths College, University of London. He was a member of the Black Panther Movement. His poetry collections include Dread Beat an Blood (Bogle-L’Ouverture 1975), Inglan Is A Bitch (Race Today Publications 1980), Tings An Times (Bloodaxe/LKJ Music 1991) and Mi Revalueshanary Fren: Selected Poems (Penguin 2002). His reggae albums include Dread Beat an Blood (Virgin 1978), Bass Culture (Island 1980), and More Time (LKJ Records 1998).He has worked as a journalist and broadcaster and wrote and presented the 10-part series, From Mento To Lovers Rock for BBC radio in 1983. He was awarded the Order of Distinction – Commander Class by the Jamaican government in 2014. He became a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 2013. In 2020 LKJ received the Pen Pinter Award.
Michael La Rose was born in Trinidad and migrated to London in the early 1960s. He was the second ever Chair of the George Padmore Institute between 2006 and 2016. Michael is a cultural and political activist and also an author, researcher and lecturer on popular culture of the African diaspora. He is a director of New Beacon Books and was band leader and mas’ designer of the Peoples War Carnival Band. Michael was elected vice-chairperson of the Carnival Development Committee (CDC) and later founded the campaigning Association for a Peoples Carnival (APC) and Reclaim Our Carnival (ROC). He is currently director of Savannah View, a cultural and educational promotion group (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Dr Nisha Obano was Assistant Editor of Wasafiri, the magazine of International writing, before her role as a juror on a protracted case involving minors in 2011 propelled her into secondary teaching. She now works as an English teacher, negotiating the curriculum in a state setting in South London. Deeply concerned with issues around education, diversity and literature, Nisha has published numerous articles and interviews in all three of these areas. During her fifteen years at Wasafiri magazine, she developed a relationship with, and appreciation for, the GPI and its work which continues now through her role as a trustee.
Born in Scotland, Pat Harris trained as both a nursery and a primary school teacher. After teaching in Scotland for four years, she moved to London where she has taught in a wide variety of schools in North London over the past 25 years.
She currently specialises in issues of children’s language. She contributed to both editions of the popular New Beacon Calendar of Black Children in Britain. She has been a consistent supporter of, and volunteer worker at, New Beacon Books.
Rob Waters is a lecturer in Modern British History at Queen Mary University of London. He first visited the George Padmore Institute as an undergraduate researcher in 2007. His work focuses on black political culture in twentieth-century Britain. His book, Thinking Black: Britain, 1964-1985 (University of California Press, 2018), made extensive use of the GPI’s collections on black politics, art and social activism. Rob is a convenor of the Institute of Historical Research’s Black British History seminar series.
Sharmilla Beezmohun has worked in publishing since 1994, training at Virago and at Heinemann (African and Caribbean Writers Series). For eleven years she was Deputy Editor of Wasafiri magazine. In 2010 she co-founded Speaking Volumes Live Literature Productions with Sarah Sanders, for which she edited ‘Not Quite Right for Us’: Forty Writers Speak Volumes (flipped eye, 2021), an anthology celebrating ten years of the organisation. She edited Continental Shifts, Shifts in Perception: Black Cultures and Identities in Europe (2016) and her work has been published in various journals and translated into Finnish. Sharmilla’s first novel was published in translation in Spain in 2010.
Milverton Wallace was involved in digital media and online journalism from the 1980s. He worked for South magazine and Third World Quarterly, before becoming editor of the Jamaica Record newspaper in 1988. There he built the first networked newsroom outside North America. He moved to London’s City University in 1992 where he developed and taught the first UK Internet course for journalism students. He founded and ran the annual Net Media conferences and Internet and European Online Journalism Awards (1995-2003). He worked in digital media particularly with younger generations. He also pursued his other great interest – poetry – which he both wrote and performed.
Milverton Wallace sadly died on 5 July 2021.