No name

Collection Ref No.:

GB 2904 CAM

Date range:

1965-1995

Description

The Caribbean Artists Movement: Papers of Anne Walmsley, gathered for the creation of her book 'The Caribbean Artists Movement 1966-1972: A Literary and Cultural History', published by New Beacon Books 1992.
The following material is taken from, or relates to, the Caribbean Artists Movement, otherwise known as CAM. The collection is the product of extensive research undertaken by Anne Walmsley for the creation of her book 'The Caribbean Artists Movement 1966-1972: A Literary and Cultural History' [ISBN 1873201] published by New Beacon Books in 1992.

Contemporary CAM documents and sound recordings were obtained for this research. However, the material has been supplemented by conducting interviews with members or associates of CAM, by producing new transcripts of existing sound recordings, by photographing members, and by preserving correspondence and administrative papers. The complete research process has also been documented with the production of detailed notes, indexes, charts and timetables. Full editorial and administrative work prior to publication is included in the material. The collection concludes with documents detailing a celebration of 40 years of the works of Andrew Salkey, designed to coincide with the launch of Anne Walmsley's book in 1992.

The collection comprises:
CAM/1: CAM Newsletters, Nos. 1-12, Mar/Apr 1967-Aug 1970 and CAM (Jamaica) Newsletter no. 1 [Mar 1968].

CAM/2: flyers and circulars for CAM and CAM-related events, meetings and theatrical productions (1967-1972 + undated).

CAM/3: correspondence between CAM members, and with associated bodies or individuals (Nov 1966-Feb 1973).

CAM/4: CAM Conference material for three annual Conferences held 1967-1969, comprising transcripts of talks, presentations and debates.

CAM/5: CAM Meetings and Symposia (Dec 1966-Mar 1971), comprising transcripts of talks, presentations and debates.

CAM/6: transcripts of 84 interviews by Anne Walmsley with members or associates of CAM (1985-1991).

CAM/7: CAM administration files relating to individual projects, finances, and CAM Conference venues (1965-1986).

CAM/8: a set of 8 background files created by Anne Walmsley, divided by subjects such as culture, education and contemporary organisations (Jul 1969-Nov 1991).

CAM/9: sound recordings of CAM conference talks, symposia, and interviews (1966-1991).

CAM/10: photographs and images of CAM members and events, including those used in publication (c. 1950-1995).

CAM/11: charts and indexes created by Anne Walmsley during her research on CAM (1985-1988).

CAM/12: correspondence between Anne Walmsley and members or associates of CAM during her research (Jan 1982-Aug 1995).

CAM/13: correspondence from the Nottingham branch of CAM (1966-1969).

CAM/14: administrative files relating to the publication of Anne Walmsley's book (1967-1994).

CAM/15: material and transcripts from a celebration of 40 years of Andrew Salkey's work, including a symposium arranged by the 'Salkey's Score Committee' with the Commonwealth Institute, followed by a Voice Box Seminar at the South Bank Centre (19-21 Jun 1992).

Admin history:

The Caribbean Artists Movement (CAM) originated in London in late 1966.  The intention was to create a forum for writers, artists and critics from the English-speaking Caribbean, resident at that time in the United Kingdom.  A major literary and cultural Movement developed which expanded beyond West Indian writers and artists to encompass members from the United Kingdom, Europe, Africa, Black America and the Commonwealth.  Talks, discussions, conferences, recitals and art exhibitions provided an opportunity to explore new directions in Caribbean arts and culture at a time of political and social change.

There were three co-founders of the Movement: Edward Kamau Brathwaite, the poet, literary critic and historian born in Barbados; the poet, novelist, academic and broadcaster Andrew Salkey, born in Jamaica (1928-1995); and the political and cultural activist, poet, essayist and publisher John La Rose (1927-2006), born in Trinidad. 

The co-founders of the Movement were concerned that many Caribbean writers and artists resident in London and the United Kingdom were being marginalised and did not have the opportunity to meet up and discuss their work and interests.  The idea of forming a structured organisation was rejected in favour of a forum to allow people to meet in a more informal way.  There was to be no group ideology or manifesto defined in advance, and any attempts to convert CAM into a Black Power movement were strongly resisted.  CAM was to be seen as part of a wider movement for change in Caribbean society.  Writers, artists, dramatists, actors,  publishers, critics, and students were all encouraged to join.  CAM was inclusive rather than exclusive, and was essentially open to anyone who wanted to share and understand the needs and aspirations of Caribbean artists.

A small informal meeting was held in private on 19 Dec 1966 at the flat of Edward and Doris Brathwaite in Mecklenburgh Square, London.   The three co-founders were present, along with the writers and critics Louis James and Orlando Patterson, the playwright and scriptwriter Evan Jones, and Anthony Haynes, who was at the time working for Bookers.  The idea of creating a forum was discussed and met with enthusiasm, although Jones and Haynes had some reservations.  A 'dialogue' was then proposed for 6 Jan 1967 on the subject of 'Is There a West Indian Aesthetic?' to be delivered to the group in the London residence of Orlando Patterson.  The established artist Aubrey Williams was also invited to join the group.  The first talk and discussion was considered a success and at the end of this meeting the name 'Caribbean Artists Movement', suggested by Nerys Patterson, was decided upon by those present.

Informal meetings and discussions continued in private, held in members' flats and residences in London.  But from the start, there was always the intention to meet in a public place, to create a dialogue with readers, writers, artists and critics.  CAM was officially launched into the public domain on 10 Mar 1967 with a symposium 'New Directions in West Indian Writing', which was held at the West Indian Students Centre.  This took place a week after the successful reading by Edward Kamau Brathwaite of his work 'Rights of Passage'.  The public reading was presented by New Beacon Publications and the London Traverse Theatre Company, and was held at the Jeanetta Cochrane Theatre, London on 3 Mar 1967. 

The West Indian Students Centre (WISC) in Collingham Gardens, Earls Court, became the main venue for public sessions.  The building, opened in 1955, was not confined to full-time students, and had become a venue where West Indians had traditionally met.  CAM public sessions or 'symposia' were held monthly from March 1967 onwards, and encompassed talks, panel discussions, readings, and also book stalls, including access to books brought in by John La Rose and Sarah White from the recently established New Beacon Publications.  Other suitable venues were chosen for CAM art exhibitions, visits to artists' studios, and theatrical works.

Three annual conferences were held, the first two 1967-68 at the University of Kent, Canterbury, whilst a joint conference between CAM and the West Indian Students Union (WISU) was held at the West Indian Students Centre in 1969. 

The majority of talks, symposia and conference sessions were recorded on reel-to-reel tapes.  These recordings survive and have been transferred onto audio-cassette, with accompanying transcripts (see Custodial History below).

Membership of CAM was open to anyone by subscription for a small annual fee, to cover the production of newsletters and other literature, and to recompense the Board of the West Indian Students Centre for the use of their facilities. 

Edward Kamau Brathwaite envisaged starting a branch of CAM in Jamaica, leaving his post as Secretary of CAM for a trip to the Caribbean in Sep 1968.  Marina Maxwell became Acting Secretary for CAM during his absence.  However, the idea of a CAM (Jamaica) branch was not met with the enthusiasm expected, possibly as it coincided with the political unrest following the banning of Black Power writings, and the expulsion order served on Dr Walter Rodney.  Only one newsletter for CAM (Jamaica) was ever produced (see catalogue ref: CAM/1/13), and the idea of a Caribbean branch evaporated. 

A branch was, however, established in the UK in Nottingham, following a successful weekend school in January 1968.  CAM Nottingham was run by Robert Reinders, an active participant in CAM, with the help of acting officers.  The branch provided a focus for a number of cultural activities following the enthusiam shown for the Movement by local students.

Established writers and artists such as C. L. R. James, Wilson Harris, Ronald Moody and Aubrey Williams, along with the co-founders of the Movement, were active in CAM from the beginning.  They were soon joined by writers and critics such as Orlando Patterson, Louis James, Kenneth Ramchand, Gordon Rohlehr and Ivan Van Sertima.  Younger members included James Berry, Linton Kwesi Johnson, Christopher Laird and Errol Lloyd.  For a substantial list of the members or associates of CAM, see catalogue refs: CAM/6, and CAM/11.

The most active period for CAM was 1966-1972, although its impact can be traced through to the early 1990s, with the publication of  'Savacou: A Journal of the Caribbean Artists Movement'.
Many CAM members also went on to participate in the International Book Fair of Radical Black and Third World Books (1982-1995).

A celebration of 40 years of the works of Andrew Salkey took place in 1992, designed to coincide with the publication of Anne Walmsley's book. 

Related material: GB 2904 JLR/2. 
Material relating to Eric and Jessica Huntley can also be found in 'The Huntley Collections' held at the London Metropolitan Archives, references LMA/4462 (Bogle-L 'Ouverture Press Limited) and LMA/4463 (Huntley, Eric and Jessica: Personal).

Custodial History:

The documents were assembled by Anne Walmsley under the supervision of Professor Louis James of the University of Kent at Canterbury between 1985-1988, with the aid of a Leverhulme Fellowship.
 
The material shows the extensive research undertaken for the creation of the book 'The Caribbean Artists Movement 1966-1972: A Literary and Cultural History' published by New Beacon Books in 1992.

As a member of CAM, Anne Walmsley was able to draw on her own documents and experience.  This was supplemented by obtaining some original documents from other members of the Movement, items such as CAM Newsletters (CAM/1), publicity material etc (CAM/2) and correspondence, especially the receipt in 1998 of a gift of letters from Robert Reinders for CAM Nottingham (CAM/13).

Anne Walmsley was allowed access to files held by members of the Movement, especially the co-founders Andrew Salkey and Edward Kamau Brathwaite, and was given permission to photocopy documents, such as correspondence (CAM/3) or to transcribe text where the originals were too poor to copy.  This was achieved by reading text onto a tape recorder, to be transcribed later.

Anne Walmsley conducted interviews with 84 members or associates of CAM.  The interviews were recorded on audio cassette, and then transcribed.  Both transcripts (CAM/6) and sound recordings (CAM/9/2) are in the collection.

Permission was also given to transfer the sound recordings of CAM meetings, symposia and conference sessions, held by members of CAM on reel-to-reel tapes, to audio-cassette.  The cassettes were then transcribed.  Both transcripts (CAM/4 and CAM/5) and cassettes (CAM/9/1) are in the collection.

Research was carried out both in the UK and in the Caribbean, giving the opportunity to photograph members.  The resulting albums are in the collection (CAM/10).

The papers documenting research and editorial work prior to the publication of the book come directly from Anne Walmsley (CAM/ 11-12, plus CAM 14 ).

Collection Ref No.:

GB 2904 CVL

Date range:

1972-2006

Description

Most of this collection relates specifically to the Notting Hill Carnival in London with the exception of one part of the collection, titled The Politics, History, Art and Culture of Carnival, that relates more to Carnival in the Caribbean, especially in Trinidad, as well as to Carnival elsewhere in the world and Carnival as a general art form.

The collection comprises of the following sections:

CVL/1 Notting Hill Carnival Organisations
Correspondence, minutes and press reports relating to four Carnival organisations. This breaks down into the following series -

CVL/1/1 The Association for a People's Carnival (APC)
CVL/1/2 The Notting Hill International Carnival Committee
CVL/1/3 The Notting Hill Carnival and Arts Committee
CVL/1/4 The Notting Hill Carnival Support Group

CVL/2 Notting Hill Carnival Bands
Publicity material, correspondence, administrative documents, newsletters, publications and a costume relating to two Carnival bands. This breaks down into the following series -

CVL/2/1 The People's War Carnival Band
CVL/2/2 Lion Youth

CVL/3 Notting Hill Carnival Media and Publicity
Flyers, programmes and invitations from bands and other groups involved with Carnival, as well as press cuttings and magazines about Carnival. This breaks down into the following series -

CVL/3/1 General Publicity
CVL/3/2 1978 Carnival
CVL/3/3 Press Cuttings
CVL/3/4 Magazines

CVL/4/ The Politics, History, Art and Culture of Carnival
Items relating to the history of Carnival, especially in Trinidad; to the musical forms that developed with Carnival, especially steelband and pan music, Calypso and Kaiso and to the politics of Carnival, especially in the UK. This breaks down into the following series -

CVL/4/1 Carnival in Trinidad
CVL/4/2 Articles on the Meaning, Politics and Culture of Carnival

Admin history:

This collection has two distinct but interrelated parts: the first 3 sub-fonds (CVL/1-CVL/3) relate to Notting Hill Carnival in London, with particular emphasis on the organisations and bands formed by John La Rose's sons, Michael and Keith La Rose.The last sub-fonds (CVL/4) reflects both John and Michael La Rose's interest in the history and culture of Carnival, especially in Trinidad. The collection has largely been kept as it was found.
 
Under the first sub-fonds, Notting Hill Carnival Organisations (CVL/1), there are substantial administrative items, letters and publications relating to the Association for a People's Carnival (APC) and the Notting Hill International Carnival Committee, both of which were formed in the autumn of 1989 as a response to the organisation and policing of the 1989 Carnival. Michael La Rose and the People's War Carnival Band were very active in the formation of both of these organisations. There is also some material relating to the Notting Hill Carnival and Arts Committee and the Notting Hill Carnival Support Group.
 
Under the second sub-fonds, Notting Hill Carnival Bands (CVL/2), there is substantial material relating to The People's War Carnival Band, which was formed by Michael and Keith La Rose in 1983. There is also material relating to the band Lion Youth, formed in 1977. Members of both bands knew each other. 
 
The third sub-fonds, Notting Hill Carnival Media and Publicity (CVL/3), mostly contains press cuttings about Carnival, with particular emphasis on the 1978 Carnival and the 1989 Carnival. The 1989 cuttings were collected by John and Michael La Rose and others as part of their response to the policing of the 1989 Carnival. Some of these cuttings were published in the Association for a People's Carnival report titled Police Carnival 1989. There is also some publicity material from various years relating to other Carnival bands and to Carnival in general.
 
The title of the fourth sub-fonds, The Politics, History, Art and Culture of Carnival (CVL/4), comes from John La Rose and reflects his interest in the history of Carnival, especially in Trinidad, and in the musical forms that developed with Carnival, especially steelband and pan music, Calypso and Kaiso. The collection is wide-ranging, containing academic and journalistic articles, as well as more political publications and transcripts written by Carnival practitioners. Whilst a number of the items relate specifically to Trinidad, there are also articles about Carnival as a general art form and about specific Carnivals in other countries, including Notting Hill Carnival in the UK.

Custodial History:

Collection gifted mainly by John La Rose with some material coming from Michael La Rose. This collection is accruing.

Collection Ref No.:

GB 2904 PPK

Date range:

1975-1998

Description

The material collected in this catalogue concerns the work of the Committee for the Release of Political Prisoners in Kenya (CRPPK), a London-based organisation established on 2 July 1982 and coordinated by John La Rose from New Beacon's Stroud Green address. The Committee emerged as a response to evidence of increasingly repressive tendencies in the Kenyan government under President Daniel Arap Moi, promising to act as a 'solidarity organisation' for those arrested, detained or harassed for their political activities in Kenya. The CRPPK was committed to exposing Moi's 'systematic attacks on intellectual, political and cultural life' to an international audience, focusing broadly on the struggles of 'lecturers, students, writers, lawyers, peasants, workers and members of parliament'. It continued its campaign work throughout the 1980s and into the 1990s, publishing the influential Kenya News bulletin and coordinating with other Kenyan democratic and solidarity movements abroad. Aside from compiling materials on CRPPK campaigns and events, this collection also gathers documents for groups like the London-based UMOJA-Kenya and the underground organisation Mwakenya, the latter working against Moi's Kenya African National Union (KANU) government inside Kenya itself.

The collection contents are as follows:

PPK Series 01: Committee for the Release of Political Prisoners in Kenya (CRPPK)
- PPK/01/01: Releases and Statements (including: Campaign Letters; Press Releases and Briefings; Draft Statements);
- PPK/01/02: Meeting Minutes;
- PPK/01/03: Administrative Materials;
- PPK/01/04: Correspondence;
- PPK/01/05: Kenya News (including: Published Issues; Research Materials);
- PPK/01/06: Pamphlets;
- PPK/01/07: Events;
- PPK/01/08: Large-Size Posters.

PPK Series 02: Non-CRPPK Organisations
- PPK/02/01: Umoja-Kenya Documents and Press Releases;
- PPK/02/02: MWAKENYA Documents and Press Releases;
- PPK/02/03: UKenya (London);
- PPK/02/04: Kenyan United Front for Democracy (London);
- PPK/02/05: Africa Centre (London);
- PPK/02/06: Committee for Human Rights in Kenya (New York);
- PPK/02/07: Organisation for Democracy in Kenya (Stockholm);
- PPK/02/08: Amnesty International;
- PPK/02/09: University of Dar es Salaam - Statements on Kenya;
- PPK/02/10: December Twelve Movement (Kenya).

PPK Series 03: Non-CRPPK Campaigns and Events
- PPK/03/01: The Trial of Dedan Kimathi (Play);
- PPK/03/02: Postcard Campaign for Political Prisoners;
- PPK/03/03: Unity Conference (London 1987);
- PPK/03/04: One Million Signature Campaign (London 1991);
- PPK/03/05: Sabasaba Protest Anniversary (London 1991);
- PPK/03/06: Petitions and Public Appeals;
- PPK/03/07: Large-Size Posters.

PPK Series 04: Detention Materials
- PPK/04/01: Detention of Ngugi wa Thiong'o;
- PPK/04/02: Detention of Wanyiri Kihoro;
- PPK/04/03: Detention of Koigi wa Wamwere;
- PPK/04/04: Detention of Maina wa Kinyatti.

PPK Series 05: Press and Media
- PPK/05/01: Clippings - Kenya Repression and Arrests;
- PPK/05/02: Clippings - Kenya State Politics;
- PPK/05/03: Clippings - Kenya Economy;
- PPK/05/04: Clippings - Kenya Health and Society;
- PPK/05/05: Clippings - Kenya Arts and Culture;
- PPK/05/06: Clippings - Kenya Coup Attempt (1982);
- PPK/05/07: Newsmagazine Materials;
- PPK/05/08: The Weekly Review.

PPK Series 06: Publications
- PPK/06/01: Academic Articles;
- PPK/06/02: Published Texts;
- PPK/06/03: Tourism.

Admin history:

The Committee for the Release of Political Prisoners in Kenya (CRPPK) was a London-based campaign group founded on 2 July 1982 and coordinated by John La Rose from New Beacon's Stroud Green Address. While most active during the 1980s, its work continued well into the 1990s: indeed, the government of Daniel Arap Moi - against which the CRPPK directed its activities - remained in power in Kenya until 2002. The CRPPK defined itself as a response to the repressive and dictatorial tendencies of Moi's Kenya African National Union (KANU) government, promising to act as a 'solidarity organisation' for those arrested, detained or harassed for their political activities in Kenya. The CRPPK was committed to exposing KANU's 'systematic attacks on intellectual, political and cultural life' to an international audience, focusing broadly on the struggles of 'lecturers, students, writers, lawyers, peasants, workers and members of parliament'.
 
The establishment of the CRPPK in July 1982 was preceded shortly by a June 1982 amendment to the Kenyan constitution, which transformed the de facto condition of one-party rule in the country into an official, de jure one-party state. KANU had been the sole political party operating in Kenya since independence from British rule in 1963, but this situation would now be secured by law.  
 
The pre-history of the CRPPK can be linked, moreover, to earlier controversies under the government of Moi's predecessor, the celebrated nationalist leader Jomo Kenyatta: in particular, the arrest of the writer Ngugi wa Thiong'o on 31 December 1977 and his detention in Kamiti Maximum Security Prison for a year without charge. Ngugi had recently published a novel ('Petals of Blood') critical of neo-colonial tendencies in post-colonial Kenya, and was also overseeing the production of his play 'Ngaahika Ndeenda' (I Will Marry When I Want) in an open air peasant and worker's theatre in Limuru. He was arrested on New Year's Eve under 'Public Security Regulations' and Ngaahika Ndeenda was banned. By January 1978, Amnesty International had adopted Ngugi as a 'Prisoner of Conscience' and appeals for his release were made across the world. The writer would remain in prison, however, until the end of the year; continued harassment from government officials after his release and fear of a plot against his life led Ngugi to leave Kenya for exile in the United Kingdom. His presence in London from 1982 allowed him to be an important interlocutor for the CRPPK. (See especially PPK/04/01).
 
Daniel Arap Moi, who had been Kenyatta's Vice-President, became the head of state following Kenyatta's death in August 1978, carrying on his predecessor's style of governing and particularly his committed anticommunism. Early documents following the CRPPK foundation in 1982 describe a 'new wave' of arrests unfolding in Kenya since May of that year: in June, notably, the Kenyatta University history lecturer Maina wa Kinyatti was arrested and subsequently jailed for 6 years for 'possession of seditious publications' (see PPK/04/04). The CRPPK would announce in these early days a picket to be held outside the Kenyan High Commission in London on 30 July 1982, protesting specifically the decision to grant territory in Kenya to the United States for the purpose of establishing military bases.
 
The scene would change dramatically following an attempted coup against Moi's rule led by members of the Kenyan Air Force on 1 August 1982: the rebellion was quashed ruthlessly by government military and police forces, and a good deal of the subsequent repression was directed at students from the University of Nairobi who had supported the coup. The panic prompted by the Air Force's short-lived putsch presented Moi with the opportunity to change the legal system in Kenya: the aftermath of the coup was characterized by mass detentions without trial, hurried court proceedings, death sentences, enormous jail terms, the routine confiscation of passports and ever more intrusive immigration controls. Evidence of the emboldened repressive tendencies of the KANU regime prompted the nascent CRPPK to action, and a series of pamphlets, events and letter campaigns in the collection refer directly to the coup and its aftermath. 
 
The CRPPK focused its attention on the detention of several key opposition figures during this time: see, for instance, the file on Koigi wa Wamwere, an 'outspoken' member of the Kenyan parliament arrested in August 1982 while acting representative for Nakuru North. Wamwere was detained previously for three years under the Kenyatta government, and imprisoned again here without trial, released only in 1984 while maintaining he had no involvement with the coup (see PPK/04/03). The mass arrest of students and especially student politicians became a feature of life after the coup: several individuals were charged with sedition, for instance, after being accused of 'rejoicing' having heard news of the coup. This sequence and the regular deployment of riot police on Nairobi campuses is traced across several CRPPK pamphlets: see, in particular, 'Repression Intensifies in Kenya Since the August 1st Coup Attempt' (January 1983); 'University Destroyed: Moi Crowns Ten Years of Government Terror in Kenya' (May 1983). (PPK/01/06). 
 
Throughout the 1980s members of the CRPPK met regularly in London, and a comprehensive collection of meeting minutes and campaign agendas for the decade are included in PPK/01/02. Of particular concern was the publication of the CRPPK's official bulletin, Kenya News, which was circulated widely as an authoritative, uncensored voice on current events in Kenya. The bulletin drew on vast amounts of research completed by John La Rose and other affiliates of the CRPPK, the breadth of which is partially revealed in the 'Press and Media' (PPK/05) series of the collection. Here, hundreds of news clippings trace countless individual arrests and detentions, as well as issues related to the state, law, economy, public health and culture.  All issues of Kenya News - bar Issue 6 - are included in PPK/01/05/. 
 
The CRPPK was joined in its work by a number of campaign organisations around the world. This global conversation is traced in the collection, which includes materials on bodies as diverse as the New York-based Committee for Human Rights in Kenya and the Stockholm-based Organisation for Democracy in Kenya (see PPK/02). International solidarity work is reflected importantly in the foundation of UMOJA in 1987, emerging as a union of seven Kenyan political organisations working abroad and aiming to present a platform of unity against the KANU government. UMOJA's membership was spread across the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia, Denmark, Italy, Norway, and Sweden, with a Central Secretariat based in London. In Britain, UMOJA absorbed the organisation UKenya, whose chair Yusuf Hassan would continue as acting coordinator for the new organisation. Hassan would be succeeded in this role first by Ngugi and later by Abdillatif Abdalla.
 
From its 1987 beginnings, UMOJA expressed solidarity with the dissident group Mwakenya ('Union of Patriots for the Liberation of Kenya'), an organisation established in Nairobi in 1985 and working clandestinely for political change in Kenya. Mwakenya traced its origins to the 1982 coup via a series of progressive cells and particularly the underground newspaper Mpatanishi. It described itself as 'a democratic party of the workers, peasants, progressive intelligentsia and all the patriotic Kenyans fighting for the interests of the oppressed, exploited and humiliated majority of the people in all the nationalities of Kenya.' The group's draft minimum programme (1987), as well as the later 'Democracy Plank' (1990), is included in PPK/02/02. President Moi's anxiety over Mwakenya is reflected in several arrests made over supposed 'oaths' given to the secret organisation, and indeed the more general labelling of any opponent to the KANU regime as a member of Mwakenya (whether or not such a connection actually existed). The spectre of Mwakenya became, arguably, as politically productive as the group's actual activities. 
 
Aside from Mwakenya, materials on the December Twelve Movement (DTM) and their organ Pambana appear in the PPK collection. The group's name referring to the date of Kenya's independence from British rule (12 December 1963), the DTM called for radical change in Kenya from the early 1980s: Shiraz Durrani was an active member. The group's mouthpiece, Pambana, first appeared in May 1982, promising to 'unite the poor and the exploited against the Kenyan ruling class and their foreign masters'. It is within such rhetoric - both domestically in Kenya and abroad - that the figure of Dedan Kemathi becomes important. Kimathi was the iconic leader of the Mau Mau uprising against colonial rule in the 1950s, hanged for his activities in 1957, and his image recurs in the struggle against Moi as a demonstration of courage in the face of repression. In the 1970s, Ngugi authored a play on the 'Trial of Dedan Kimathi', the production of which becomes an important element of mobilization abroad: see, especially, PPK/03/01. Other events organised by solidarity groups outside Kenya, including the CRPPK, take as their object the celebration of Kimathi's birth anniversary.
 
It is clear from this collection that the CRPPK's campaign strategy was varied in its methods: there appear, at once, informative pamphlets, polemical press releases, incisive bulletins, and calls to the picket line, alongside advertisements for public discussions and cultural events. Many documents reflect the CRPPK's emphasis on a letter-writing appeal to the Kenyan High Commission in London and indeed to President Moi's office in Kenya itself. Gus John, one of the founders of GPI and a long-time comrade of La Rose, recalls an anecdote regarding the barrage of letters said to be continually arriving in Moi's office. According the story, Moi was heard to exclaim in frustration about the Trinidad-born La Rose: 'What does this descendent of slaves know about Kenyan affairs and about Africa?' An ambitious aide apparently interjected: 'Why don't you have him arrested?' (See Gus John's 8 April 2006 Memorial Lecture to La Rose online at:  http://www.georgepadmoreinstitute.org/node/108)
 
The PPK collection presents the documentary history of a truly international movement, binding together campaigners, exiles, prisoners, international bodies and underground organisations across the world on the issue of repression and tyranny in Kenyan politics. The reader will find a wealth of information in correspondence and pamphlets, but also a rich archive in posters, adverts and clippings from the press. The collection follows the career of organisations - like UMOJA or Mwakenya - but also dwells on singular events and individual campaigns, such as the exile Wanyiri Kihoro's One Million Signature Campaign in 1991, or the Sabasaba Protest Anniversary organised in London the same year. Insight is provided into African diaspora politics in London, such as those related to the Africa Centre, London WC2, as well as relations between local politics and supranational organisations like Amnesty International and International PEN (Poets, Essayists and Novelists).

Custodial History:

This material has been gifted to the George Padmore Institute by John La Rose. 

Collection Ref No.:

GB 2904 EAC

Date range:

1980s-1990s

Description

European Action for Racial Equality and Social Justice (EARESJ or European Action) was an alliance of individuals and organisations engaged in the struggle against racism, fascism, nazism and xenophobia in Europe. The alliance was most active during the years 1990-1993 and brought together anti-racists and anti-fascists, irrespective of their ideologies, through forums, campaigning activities and the interchange of ideas and experiences. European Action advocated an independent, radical, democratic and non-sectarian approach (see Constitution document GB 2904 EAC/01/01/03). Campaign action was centered on the Mission to Maastricht in Dec 1991 (see GB 2904 EAC/02/01). The alliance also debated and opposed the new asylum and immigration legislation (1991-1993) and expressed solidarity with those condemning attacks on asylum-seekers, immigrants and the socially weak (see GB 2904 EAC/02/02). European Action made its strongest ties with Germany, Belgium, France and Italy, as well as with the United Kingdom. European Action was co-chaired by Ian Macdonald QC, the leading barrister and specialist in the field of immigration law and by John La Rose, political and cultural activist, poet, essayist, publisher, founder of New Beacon Books and Director of The International Book Fair of Radical Black and Third World Books (see collection GB 2904 BFC).

The collection comprises:
EAC/01: Foundation, divided into five series:
EAC/01/01: Constitution
EAC/01/02: Committees
EAC/01/03: Summary Pack
EAC/01/04: Finance
EAC/01/05: Contact Details

EAC/02: Action, divided into 3 series:
EAC/02/01: Mission to Maastricht
EAC/02/02: Immigration and Asylum
EAC/02/03: Stephen Lawrence Family Campaign

EAC/03: Forums, Conferences and Interviews, divided into three series:
EAC/03/01: European Action Forums, Conferences and Interviews
EAC/03/02: External Forums and Events
EAC/03/03: TUC Black Workers Conference

EAC/04: Alliance Building, divided into five series:
EAC/04/01: Networking
EAC/04/02: Active Organisations and Movements
EAC/04/03: Information Supplied to European Action
EAC/04/04: Anti-Racist Alliance and Anti-Nazi League
EAC/04/05: Support from Trade Unions

EAC/05: Research, divided into seven series:
EAC/05/01: Europe, General
EAC/05/02: Netherlands
EAC/05/03: France
EAC/05/04: Germany
EAC/05/05: Spain
EAC/05/06: United Kingdom
EAC/05/07: America

EAC/06: Press Coverage, divided into five series:
EAC/06/01: Newspapers and Newspaper Cuttings: 1983-1988
EAC/06/02: Newspapers and Newspaper Cuttings: 1990
EAC/06/03: Newspapers and Newspaper Cuttings: 1991
EAC/06/04: Newspapers and Newspaper Cuttings: 1992
EAC/06/05: Newspapers and Newspaper Cuttings: 1993-1998

Admin history:

European Action for Racial Equality and Social Justice (EARESJ or European Action) was an alliance of individuals and organisations engaged in the struggle against racism, fascism, nazism and xenophobia in Europe. The alliance was most active during the years 1990-1993 and brought together anti-racists and anti-fascists, irrespective of their ideologies, through forums, campaigning activities and the interchange of ideas and experiences. European Action advocated an independent, radical, democratic and non-sectarian approach (see Constitution document GB 2904 EAC/01/01/03). Campaign action was centered on the Mission to Maastricht in Dec 1991 (see section 2 below). The alliance also debated and opposed the new asylum and immigration legislation (1991-1993) and expressed solidarity with those condemning attacks on asylum-seekers, immigrants and the socially weak (see section 2 below). European Action made its strongest ties with Germany, Belgium, France and Italy, as well as with the United Kingdom. European Action was co-chaired by Ian Macdonald QC, the leading barrister and specialist in the field of immigration law and by John La Rose, political and cultural activist, poet, essayist, publisher, founder of New Beacon Books and Director of The International Book Fair of Radical Black and Third World Books (see collection GB 2904 BFC).

1) Foundation and Constitution:

GB 2904 EAC/01

European Action was initiated after an influential workshop titled 'Racism, Nazism, Fascism and Racial Attacks: the European response' which took place on 23 March 1990 at the Ninth International Book Fair of Radical Black and Third World Books (see GB 2904 BFC/09/06/01/03). The forum highlighted the European struggle against racial inequality and social injustice at a time of increasing unrest and uncertainty following the fall of the Berlin Wall. The European Action alliance aimed to work in solidarity with other Europeans as a broad, united front of people to oppose all forms of racism, nazism, fascism and racial attacks.

The momentum behind European Action increased following participation in the Tenth International Book Fair forum 'Racism, Fascism, Xenophobia in Europe: the struggle against it' held in Manchester on 28 Feb 1991 and again in London on 6 Mar 1991 (see GB 2904 BFC/10/06/01/01). The forum included an examination of the economic impact of events within Europe. For example, diminishing support within Germany for reunification, the sharp rise in unemployment during the 1991 recession and the fear that foreign workers were taking jobs became triggers for anti-immigration attacks and increased support for far-right parties. The result was a string of violent attacks on asylum-seekers and refugees, such as those carried out at Molln, Rostock and the firebombing of the crematorium on the site of the Ravensbruck concentration camp (1992-1993) 

For more details on the participation of European Action in the International Book Fairs of Radical Black and Third World Books, see section 3) Forums and Meetings below.

An Interim Organising Committee for European Action was in existence by 13 May 1990, with an Interim Secretariat by 3 June 1990. The first General Membership meetings recorded in the Collection occur during July 1990, with an anticipated launch of a European Action Constitution document in Jan 1991 (see GB 2904 EAC/01/02/01). The key aims and objectives taken from the Constitution of European Action for Racial Equality and Social Justice were as follows:

"The organisation has been set up to examine and provide information on and to oppose the rising tide of racism, nazism, fascism and xenophobia in Europe and to work towards the elimination of racial and national inequality and social injustice in all its forms."

"The organisation will seek to create a European perspective towards the above objective and will seek to promote the interchange of ideas and experiences and to coordinate and initiate campaigning activities to that end in all different countries of Europe."

"The organisation will liaise with, form alliances with and support the work of those who are engaged in campaigning action aimed at the elimination of racial and national inequality and social injustice."

"The organisation will act in an independent, democratic, radical and non-sectarian way and will seek to promote the self-activity of those struggling against prejudice and discrimination, inequality and injustice, and promote these organisational principles as well as those of mutual solidarity amongst its members and other individuals and organisations working towards these ends." (GB 2904 EAC/ 01/01/03).

European Action adopted the slogan "Don't Wait Until the Ovens Begin to Burn", a quotation from Malcolm X speaking in 1965 during his visit to Britain. This allusion to the gas chambers of the Holocaust symbolised the fear felt by those engaged in the struggle against racism, fascism, nazism and xenophobia throughout Europe and also the determination that such horrors would never be repeated.

Founding Members:

The founding members of European Action included:

John La Rose, co-chair of European Action for Racial Equality and Social Justice: poet, essayist, founder of New Beacon Books (1966) and co-founder of the Caribbean Artists Movement (see GB 2904 CAM). Also a committed social and political activist advancing initiatives such as the Black Education and Black Parents Movements (see GB 2904 BEM; GB 2904 BPM) before becoming Chairman of the New Cross Massacre Action Committee in 1981 (see GB 2904 NCM). John La Rose was Director of the International Book Fair of Radical Black and Third World Books 1982-1995 (see GB 2904 BFC). For a full biography of John La Rose see entry in the Dictionary of National Biography (www.oxforddnb.com).

Ian Macdonald QC, co-chair of European Action for Racial Equality and Social Justice: the leading barrister and specialist in the field of immigration law, who headed the Macdonald Inquiry into Racism and Racial Violence in Manchester Schools in 1986 (set up after the death of Ahmed Iqbal Ullah at Burnage High School. The full report of the Committee's findings was published as Murder in the Playground.)

Gus John, Secretary of European Action for Racial Equality and Social Justice: lecturer and educational consultant; Director of Education for Hackney and co-author of the Macdonald Inquiry into Racism and Racial Violence in Manchester Schools in 1986 (see above). Member of the Black Parents Movement in Manchester (see GB 2904 BPM), the New Cross Massacre Action Committee (see GB 2904 NCM) and the International Book Fair of Radical Black and Third World Books (see GB 2904 BFC).

Linton Kwesi Johnson: poet, reggae artist and founder of reggae poetry. Also a committed political activist participating in the UK Black Panthers, the Black Parents Movement (see GB 2904 BPM), the Race Today Collective, the New Cross Massacre Action Committee (see GB 2904 NCM) and the International Book Fair of Radical Black and Third World Books (see GB 2904 BFC).

Mogniss Abdallah: Co-ordinator of Agence IM'media (Agence de l'Immigration et des Cultures Urbaines), an independent media organisation in France. Also an activist involved in the organisation of campaigns against racist attacks and murders in France and Europe, including the historic March pour l'Egalite et Contre le Racisme in Paris.

Said Bouamama: author, political activist and a participant in Memoire Fertile (France).

Nii Addy: a founding member of the Initiativ Schwarze Deutsche (Afro-German Movement) which was formed in 1986. Also active in other groups, including the Immigrant Political Forum.

Obi Addy: a black political activist from Berlin. Member of the Initiativ Schwarze Deutsche (Afro-German Movement) which was formed in 1986.

May Ayim (Opitz): activist, founder member of the Initiativ Schwarze Deutsche (Afro-German Movement) and in 1989 of LiteraturFrauen, an association to support and promote women writers, especially black and migrant writers. Author of Showing Our Colours: the Struggles of Afro-German Women.

Biplab Basu: a member of Antiracistische Initiativ and active in anti-racist struggles in Germany.

Tarlochan Gata-Aura: a leading defendant in the Bradford 12 trial (see GB 2904 BPM/03/01/03/04). Also a member of the Lothian Black Forum and active in campaigns against racist attacks in Scotland.

Azim Hajee, interim chairman of the London section of European Action for Racial Equality and Social Justice (1993): a negotiating officer for the National Union of Civil and Public Servants and a secretary of NALGO's National Black Members Coordinating Committee. Also spokesman for the Stephen Lawrence Family.

Suresh Grover: a founder of the Southall Youth Movement, active during the Chagger uprising (4 Jun 1976), the main coordinator of the Southall Campaign and Defence Committee organised to inquire into the death of Blair Peach and to defend the people charged after the 1979 demonstration where Blair Peach was alleged to have been murdered. Chairman of the national mobilising committee for the defence of the Bradford 12 (see GB 2904 BPM/03/01/03/04). Also a founder of the Southall Monitoring Group and its coordinator since 1989.

Balwinder Gill: a member of the Southall Monitoring Group. Involved in many struggles including the Sekhon Family Campaign, the Blair Peach Campaign, against opt-out schools in Southall area and against the rise of communalism and fundamentalism.

Nirmala Rajasingham: founder of the Sri Lanka Democracy Forum and member of the South Asia Solidarity Group.

2) Campaign Action:

GB 2904 EAC/02

Mission to Maastricht: (7-11 Dec 1991)

See GB 2904 EAC/02/01

The Inter-Governmental Conference of the Twelve European Community Heads of State was held in Maastricht 9-10 Dec 1991. The European Summit was to be surrounded by demonstrations and pickets drawing attention to the perceived rise in racial attacks and murders, fascist activities, xenophobia and nationalism sweeping through Europe, particularly in Germany and France. There was concern about the increase in support for allegedly fascist groups and electoral parties such as the Vlaams Blok in Belgium and Jean-Marie Le Pen's Front National in France, whilst Prime Minister John Major was arguing for the introduction of stricter immigration controls and placing restrictions on the rights of refugees. With the twelve Heads of State deliberating on economic and monetary union, political union and defence issues, it was felt that concerns over the growth of racism and fascism would be largely sidelined, suppressed or ignored completely.

Overseas Ghanaians and other Africans expressed concern about recent killings in Germany and in Oct 1991 they spoke of helping to build up some form of European solidarity movement with European Action. As a result, European Action initiated a Combined Delegation from England and Scotland to travel to Maastricht to coordinate with delegations from Germany, France and other countries. Named 'Mission to Maastricht', this campaign was supported by a number of organisations, including the following: NALGO and a number of Black Workers Groups; Southall Monitoring Group; United Revolutionary Front of Ghana (URF); New Nigeria Forum; Africa Research and Information Bureau (ARIB); Black Parents Movement (BPM);  Black Members Council National Union of Journalists; South Asia Solidarity; Refugees Ad Hoc Committee For Asylum Rights; Newham Monitoring Project; Sekhon Family Support Group; the Sudanese People Liberation Movement (SPLM); Anti-Racist Alliance (ARA). European Action appointed Tarlochan Gata-Aura and Gus John as Coordinators for the Mission.

Following an initial planning meeting (13 Nov 1991) it was decided that some form of picketing or demonstration should also take place within Britain. This was to compensate for the inability of some members of the alliance to travel to Maastricht. The second meeting approved a picket outside Downing Street on 7 Dec 1991 to protest against the rise in racial attacks throughout Europe and the failure of European Heads of State to act purposefully in response to the rise of racism, fascism and nazism (see GB 2904 EAC/02/01/01/01). Letters of protest were sent to Chancellor Helmut Kohl and delivered by hand to Prime Minister John Major during the picket of Downing Street (see GB 2904 EAC/02/01/05).

Travel and accommodation were arranged by contacting organisations throughout Europe and in Maastricht, the delegates arranging to stay at the Henk Schram Centrum in Houthem Valkenburg near Maastricht. A public meeting was held in Glasgow on 30 Nov 1991 organised by European Action, the Sekhon Family Support Group and also by individuals from the national black members of NALGO, with guest speakers Gus John, Balwinder Gill and Tarlochan Gata-Aura (see GB 2904 EAC/02/01/03/03). The meeting was to allow discussion and debate around the issues of racism, fascism and xenophobia. Particular emphasis was placed on people learning to work together in an open and equal way and dealing with any opposition from established community leaders. A press statement dated 3 Dec 1991 was issued by the Combined Delegation from England and Scotland prior to the commencement of the Mission to Maastricht (see GB 2904 EAC/02/01/02/03).

Picket of 10 Downing Street (7 Dec 1991):

See GB 2904 EAC/02/01/05

Action began with a picket outside 10 Downing Street on 7 Dec at 1.00pm before Prime Minister John Major left for the European Summit. The picket was organised by European Action and was supported by the Anti-Racist Alliance (ARA). The group stationed themselves, with about 70 other people, on the corner of Richmond Terrace and Whitehall and a coffin was symbolically carried across the road to Downing Street, headed by Ian Macdonald QC, Irma La Rose, Yen Nyeya and Balvinder Gill (?). A letter was delivered to John Major, signed by Ian Macdonald QC and Balvinder Gill (see GB 2904 EAC/02/01/04/03). The flyer for the event carries the European Action slogan "Don't Wait Until the Ovens Begin to Burn. Act Now!" and highlights the threat of stricter immigration controls as well as the placing of restrictions on the rights of refugees.

Demonstrations in Maastricht:

See GB 2904 EAC/02/01/06

Thirteen representatives from the Combined Delegation travelled to Maastricht for the period 8-10 December 1991. Two members of the delegation, John La Rose and Tarlochan Gata-Aura, left in advance of the rest to make contact with those in Europe who had pledged their support, such as Groen Links (The Green Left) in Maastricht.

The Combined Delegation was one of only two organisations to hold pickets in the centre of Maastricht. This was due to a ban on demonstrations during the conference period. The European Summit was to take place at the MECC building, the Maastricht Exhibition and Congress Centre, newly built in the late 1980s. The Dutch referred to the Summit meeting as the 'Euro-top'; the Dutch meaning of the word 'top' means not only 'tip' or 'summit' but also 'top people'. 

The Delegation managed to hold a picket outside the Europa Pavilion (European Pavilion) in Vrijhof, Maastricht on 8 Dec 1991, where Dutch Prime Minister Rudd Lubbers was conducting an official opening ceremony. The picket received local press coverage, as well as featuring in front page articles in the newspapers de Limburger and the Limburgs Dagblad (9 Dec 1991 - see GB 2904 EAC/02/01/06/05). The Caribbean Times incorporating the African Times includes a full page article on the Mission to Maastricht, with a picture of John La Rose standing outside the Europa Pavilion (7 Jan 1992 - see GB 2904 EAC/02/01/06/06).

The Delegation also participated in local discussion forums, organised a bookstall outside the bandstand in the main square at Vrijhof and held press conferences. Press statements are included in the Collection: "To defeat racism and fascism, we must build coalitions of organisations and individuals. We take very seriously the task of building a combined front, involving all those opposed to racism and fascism, and willing to fight for social justice. Such a front must be genuinely non-sectarian and non-chauvinist. We must not repeat the mistakes of the thirties." (John La Rose speaking at a press conference in Maastricht - see GB 2904 EAC/02/01/06/06).

The Mission was to demonstrate the ability to build alliances with others intent on defeating the growth of racism and fascism in Europe and this was illustrated by the Delegation participating in a combined press conference and demonstration through the streets of Maastricht.

One week later, on 18 Dec 1991, the Delegation held a report back meeting in London to review what they had done in Maastricht, what they had accomplished and began to discuss plans for the future. The Mission to Maastricht was considered a success, the only regret being that the German organisations and supporters, such as Nii Addy and Initiativ Schwarze Deutsche, with whom European Action had built strong links, were unable to attend the demonstrations in Maastricht.

Immigration and Asylum (1988-1993):

See GB 2904 EAC/02/02

A major reform of the asylum procedures in Britain began in 1991 when the Asylum Bill 1991 was published, together with a draft of the new Immigration Rules. The Asylum Bill legislation passed through Parliament in Dec 1991 after its second reading on 13 Nov 1991. The Bill was then dropped because of the general elections in Apr 1992 before being reintroduced later the same year and was finally enacted in Jul 1993 as the Asylum and Immigration Appeals Act 1993. The Commission of the European Communities - now the European Commission - brought two communications to the Council and the European Parliament, the first on the Right of Asylum: Brussels 11 Oct 1991 and the second on Immigration: Brussels 23 Oct 1991.

Ian Macdonald QC, leading barrister and specialist in the field of immigration law and co-chair of European Action, gave a talk at the Annual Bar Conference in 1991 on the following subject: 'Problems for Immigrants of Freedom of Movement in a Europe Without Frontiers' (dated 10 Feb 1992 - see GB 2904 EAC/02/02/01/02).

European Action had similarly written in a letter to Chancellor Helmut Kohl (2 Dec 1991):

"While national frontiers are in the process of being dismantled throughout Europe, we find it unacceptable that new walls and frontiers based on race, colour, national or ethnic origin should be erected…" (GB 2904 EAC/02/01/04/02).

SCORE (the Standing Conference on Racial Equality in Europe) also launched a Mass Petition Campaign on 22 Jun 1992 for European Community legislation against racial discrimination.

In Sep 1992 letters, headed The Resurgence of Racism, Fascism and Nazism in Europe, were sent from European Action to Leaders of the European Council (see GB 2904 EAC/02/02/03/01). Letters exist for Chancellor Helmut Kohl and Prime Minister John Major. European Action were calling upon the Government and President of the Federal Republic of Germany, the President of the European Parliament, the President of the European Commission and the Current Presidency of the European Community (British Government) to support an international campaign against the resurgence of racism, fascism and nazism in Europe, especially in Germany and also urged twinned towns and cities in Europe to come together as an expression of solidarity. Similar letters were sent to Borough Councils in London, possibly to City Councils, and also to 'Chief Executives' (unidentified). 

Local and National demonstrations against the Asylum Bill escalated, including the picketing of the Home Office (7 Aug 1992) and a National Demonstration against the Asylum Bill, held in Trafalgar Square (21 Nov 1992 - see GB 2904 EAC/02/02/03/02).

Meetings in Scotland (Dec 1992):

See GB 2904 EAC/02/02/03

European Action also participated in forums and events organised by Scottish Action Against Racism and Fascism in Europe (SAARFE) in Dec 1992. This was timed to coincide with the Edinburgh Conference of Heads of State (10-12 Dec 1992). The forums were organised in memory of Ahmed Sheikh, a Somalian refugee who was murdered on 16 Jan 1989 in the Cowgate, Edinburgh. The programme included two major forums, one on Immigration Controls 1905-1992, with speakers Ian Macdonald QC and Nirmala Rajasingam, and the other on Racism, Fascism and Xenophobia in Europe -the Fight Back, with speakers Obi Addy, Gus John, Bali Gill, Liz Fekete, Ajad Rehman and Satwat Rehman (see GB 2904 EAC/02/02/03/03).

No Nazis in Hounslow Campaign (1993):

See GB 2904 EAC/02/02/04

The European Action Collection includes examples of material demonstrating the tension created by the presence of the far Right. For example, the No Nazis in Hounslow Campaign was organised by the West London Alliance against Racism and Fascism, in response to intimidation and attacks in Isleworth, allegedly by members of the National Front and the BNP (British National Party).

Stephen Lawrence Family Campaign (Apr 1993 onwards):

See GB 2904 EAC/02/03

Members of European Action offered their support to the Stephen Lawrence Family Campaign and Azim Hajee became spokesman for the Stephen Lawrence Family as they sought justice following the death of their son. Stephen Lawrence, aged 18, was found stabbed to death at a bus stop in Eltham, South-East London on 22 Apr 1993.  The family soon rejected support by the Anti-Racist Alliance (ARA) and the Anti-Nazi League (ANL) when they saw some of the campaigners using their son's death as a "political football" (GB 2904 EAC/02/03/01/02).

3)Forums and Meetings:

See GB 2904 EAC/03

An essential part of European Action's work was allowing opportunity for discussion and debate. Meetings for members were held on a regular basis, usually once a month, although the frequency increased at times of activity, such as planning the Mission to Maastricht. Forums were also held to allow public debate of the latest issues and this reflected the birth of European Action from the International Book Fairs of Radical Black and Third World Books (see collection GB 2904 BFC).

The Ninth International Book Fair of Radical Black and Third World Books included the workshop 'Racism, Nazism, Fascism and Racial Attacks: the European response' which took place on 23 March 1990. The concerns and sentiments voiced during the workshop led to the conception of the European Action alliance. A major document in the Collection is the publication of the transcript from this workshop (23 March 1990) in the form of an orange booklet titled 'Racism, Nazism, Fascism and Racial Attacks: the European response' (see GB 2904 EAC/02/01/02/01/03). This was published jointly by European Action and the International Book Fair in Nov 1991 with a Foreword, written by Ian Macdonald QC and accompanied by the key aims and objectives taken from the Constitution document of European Action (GB 2904 EAC/01/01/03). Ian Macdonald speaks of "the enormous degree of resistance and struggle being waged by large sections of the population throughout Europe for racial equality and social justice. These struggles are largely ignored by the press and media. The publication of the proceedings of the forum is one small step to redress this balance." (Foreword to 'Racism, Nazism, Fascism and Racial Attacks: the European response'). European Action made sure that the booklet was widely distributed through New Beacon Books Ltd, at meetings, forums and to European organisations engaged in social and political struggles against national inequality and social injustice.

In 1991, members of European Action participated in the 10th Book Fair forum 'Racism, Fascism, Xenophobia in Europe: the struggle against it' (28 Feb 1991). By 1993 (the Book Fair was held biannually from 1991 onwards) the annual forum had become a Day Conference and Film, held jointly with European Action, and titled 'Bigotry, Racism, Nazism and Fascism in Europe: strategies for change (see GB 2904 BFC/11/06/01/01). This included the showing of the film 'Sweet France' directed by Mogniss Abdallah, member of Agence IM'media, France. The conference brought together cultural, social and political activists from black and migrant communities, especially from Germany, Italy, Belgium, France, England and Scotland. Speakers, such as Nii Addy and May Ayim, spoke of the rapid escalation in neo-nazi violence and the attacks on refugee hostels at Molln, Hoyesverda, Cottbus and Rostock. Other speakers included Udo Enwereuzor, co-founder of Africa Insieme, a civil rights group in Tuscany, and Jan Fermon, a lawyer and member of the Parti de Travail de Belgique (PTB), who worked with the campaign Objectif to introduce a bill into the Belgium Parliament demanding that migrants should have the automatic right to nationality after five years residence. Author and political activist Said Bouamama, from Memoire Fertile, warned that the extreme right in France was in some ways even more dangerous than in Germany because mainstream parties were beginning to incorporate their political agenda. Ian Macdonald then introduced a draft set of proposals on behalf of European Action to form the basis for discussion between British and European activists and encourage the development of a united front of people determined to combat racial inequality and social injustice.

European Action also held Open Forums and their initial 'launch' to the public came with an Inaugural Meeting on 8 March 1992. The Open Forums covered topics such as 'Mass Unemployment, Racism and Fascist Violence Across Europe - Which Way Forward in the 1990s?' (31 Oct 1992) and 'Fortress Europe, Racism and Britain's New Asylum Bill' (19 Nov 1992). These two forums were designed to coincide with and track the progress of the new Asylum and Immigration Bill that was fuelling such unrest across Britain and Europe. In the months overshadowed by the horrors of Bosnia, people were increasingly encouraged to come out and demonstrate against the new Bill, culminating in a National demonstration on 21 Nov 1992.

Black trade unionists, NALGO and members of Black Workers Groups had all lent their support to European Action and the alliance held an open forum at the 1993 TUC Black Workers Conference on 7 May 1993 (see EAC/03/03).

4) Alliance Building:

See GB 2904 EAC/04

The Constitution document for European Action states the desire to build coalitions and alliances with organisations and individuals in the struggle against racial inequality and social injustice, both in Britain and Europe. However, the document specifies that each organisation should retain its own autonomy and that European Action - and by implication any other organisation- "will act in an independent, democratic, radical and non-sectarian way…." (GB 2904 EAC/01/01/03). The collection contains several examples of such alliances and networking, including AFA (Anti-Fascist Action), founded by Unmesh Desai of the Newham Monitoring Project and the Antirassistiche Initiative, centered on the Berlin Black Community.

In an open letter from European Action to the Anti-Racist Alliance (ARA) and the Anti-Nazi League (ANL) (8 Mar 1992), European Action commences:

"We are concerned about the serious divisions which have arisen in the anti-nazi, anti-fascist, anti-racist movement in Britain, since the launch of the Anti-Racist Alliance [Nov 1991] and the re-launch of the Anti-Nazi League." [Jan 1992].

The Anti-Racist Alliance (ARA) set out to create a wide alliance between black and minority organisations, trade unions, MPs and individuals in order to fight racism and the extreme right. The Anti-Nazi League was re-launched as a much narrower anti-fascist organisation, controlled by the Socialist Workers' Party (SWP). In the eyes of European Action and a number of other organisations and individuals, the result was to split the anti-racist and anti-fascist movement. Some alleged that the decision was simply to promote the SWP.

The ARA put forward its case that the ANL/SWP had been preventing the formation of a genuine anti-racist, anti-fascist movement and that the ARA would benefit from the split. The ANL felt that the two organizations would complement each other. The ARA argued that the two could not co-exist. During a demonstration against the Asylum Bill, it was alleged that the SWP used violence against the black community in order to take over the march for the ANL/SWP. On 2 Apr 1992 the ANL organised its first event on the same day as a long advertised event by the ARA.

European Action called on the ARA, the ANL and all other organisations and their supporters "to contain and abandon this sectarianism" (open letter - as above) which was preventing organisations from coalescing and concentrating on the main issues.

5-6) Research and Press Coverage:

See GB 2904 EAC/05 and EAC/06

The Collection contains a substantial amount of contextual material gathered by and circulated within European Action recording alleged racist and fascist attacks, activism, tensions and resistance both in the United Kingdom and throughout Europe. There are also direct references to European Action, for example, the Caribbean Times (7 Jan 1992) page 5 has an article titled Don't Wait Until the Ovens Begin to Burn regarding the Combined Delegation for the Mission to Maastricht, with a quotation from John La Rose speaking at a press conference (GB 2904 EAC/06/04).

Conclusion:

In a letter to Mahoma Mwaungulu (11 Jan 1992), John La Rose spoke of the success of the Combined Delegation in bringing together a network of alliances and individuals for the demonstrations in Maastricht. However, John La Rose was careful to maintain a realistic outlook throughout: "[b]oth you all in Germany and we in Britain are doing fairly well so far. We should not set ourselves too many activities which we cannot then accomplish. That demoralises people" (GB 2904 EAC/04/01/01). By acting in an independent, democratic, radical and non-sectarian way European Action was able to promote self-activity and was successful in developing a united front of people determined to combat racial inequality and social injustice.

Related material: European Action for Racial Equality and Social Justice was created following influential forums held during the International Book Fairs of Radical Black and Third World Books (see collection GB 2904 BFC).

Custodial History:

The European Action for Racial Equality and Social Justice collection was gifted to the George Padmore Institute by John La Rose (1927-2006).

Collection Ref No.:

GB 2904 JLR

Date range:

1952-1996

Description

Ephemeral material collected by John La Rose

This fonds consists of some of the material collected by John La Rose between the 1950s and the 1980s. Selected items from the 1990s are also included. The material chosen here covers political and cultural trends during the period, especially in the UK and Caribbean.

The JLR fonds is made up of published material, correspondence, and publicity material. The catalogue structure corresponds to the boxes in which the material was collected over the years. The 8 sub-fonds (UK Community Relations, UK Culture, UK Society and Politics, Africa, Caribbean, Cuba, East - covering the Middle East, Asia and Australasia - and North America) provide a starting point for research.

The material has been catalogued by bundle, file, or by individual publication.

Within each of the Caribbean, Africa, East, and North America sub-fonds, the material is organised into series corresponding to countries. Within the UK and Cuba sub-fonds, material is organised into series corresponding to the type and location of the producers of the records.

Within each sub-fonds there are also series for journals and/or newspapers, apart from the UK and Caribbean sub-fonds, whose journals and newspapers are located in collections GB 2904 JOU and GB 2904 NEW respectively.

All runs of journals and/or newspapers are currently incomplete, and the GPI Archive only holds one issue of some publications; please check the extent field. Often an organisation's records will be catalogued in GB 2904 JLR, for example publicity and organisational material produced by the West Indian Students Union, while any journals or newsletters, in this case the 'WISU Newsletter', is catalogued in GB 2904 JOU.

Researchers are advised to note the GPI Archive's other collections, including the Caribbean Artists Movement (GB 2904 CAM) and the New Cross Massacre Action Committee GB (2904 NCM), in both of which John La Rose was an active participant.

Related Material: GB 2904 JOU - often an organisation's records will be catalogued in the collection GB 2904 JLR, while any journals or newsletters produced by the oranisation are catalogued in GB 2904 JOU. Where this occurs, material has been cross-referenced.

Material relating to Eric and Jessica Huntley can also be found in 'The Huntley Collections' held at the London Metropolitan Archives, references LMA/4462 (Bogle-L 'Ouverture Press Limited) and LMA/4463 (Huntley, Eric and Jessica: Personal).

Admin history:

Biography:

John La Rose was born in Arima, Trinidad, in 1927.  At nine he won a scholarship to St Mary's College, where he later taught before becoming an insurance executive.  He also taught in Venezuela.  He was an executive member of the Youth Council in Trinidad and produced their radio programme, 'Voice of Youth'.  In the mid-1950s he co-authored with the calypsonian Ramond Quevedo - Atilla the Hun - a pioneering study of calypso entitled Kaiso: A Review, republished in 1983 as Atilla's Kaiso.

In the 1940s John La Rose helped to found the Workers Freedom Movement and edited their journal Freedom.  He was an executive member of the Federated Workers Trade Union, later merged into the National Union of Government and Federated Workers.  He became General Secretary of the West Indian Independence Party and contested a seat in the 1956 General Election for the party.  He was also involved with the Oilfields Workers Trade Union, becoming their European representative from 1962 onwards.

John La Rose arrived in Britain in 1961. In 1966 he founded New Beacon Books, the first Caribbean publishing house, bookshop and international book service.  Growing up in a colonial society in the Caribbean made him acutely aware that colonial policy was based on a deliberate withholding of information from the population.  There was also a discontinuity of information from generation to generation.  Publishing, therefore, was a vehicle to give an independent validation to one's own culture, history and politics - a sense of self - and to make a break with discontinuity.

In 1966 John La Rose, along with the Jamaican writer and broadcaster Andrew Salkey and the Barbadian poet and historian Edward Kamau Brathwaite, co-founded the Caribbean Artists Movement, providing a platform for Caribbean artists, poets, writers, dramatists, actors and musicians (see GB 2904 CAM).  In 1972/73 he was Chairman of the Institute of Race Relations and Towards Racial Justice.

John La Rose was involved in the Black Education Movement from the late 1960s, particularly in the struggle against banding, and the placing of West Indian children in schools for the educationally sub-normal.  He founded the George Padmore Supplementary School for West Indian children in 1969 and helped found the Caribbean Education and Community Workers Association.  In the 1980s he was instrumental in setting up the National Association of Supplementary Schools, and was its Chairman for a time (see GB 2904 BEM).

In 1975, after a black schoolboy was assaulted by the police in Haringey, John La Rose and concerned parents founded the Black Parents Movement to combat the brutalisation and criminalisation of young blacks, and to agitate for youth and parent power and decent education.  The Black Parents Movement, in alliance with the Race Today Collective and the Black Youth Movement, became one of the most powerful cultural and political movements organised by blacks in Britain (see GB 2904 BPM).  The alliance formed the New Cross Massacre Action Committee in response to the New Cross fire which resulted in the death of 14 young blacks, and mobilised 20,000 black people and their supporters in March 1981 to protest the death of the young people and the failure of the police to conduct a proper investigation.  John La Rose was the Chairman of the New Cross Massacre Action Committee and gave tremendous support to the bereaved families (see GB 2904 NCM).

John La Rose was also part of many organisations focusing on international concerns.  In 1982 he helped to found Africa Solidarity, supporting the struggle against dictatorship and tyranny in Africa, and he also became Chairman of the Committee for the Release of Political Prisoners in Kenya, also founded in 1982.  In response to the rise in fascism and xenophobia, he helped to found European Action for Racial Equality and Social Justice in the late 1980s, bringing together anti-racists and anti-fascists from Britain, Belgium, Italy, France and Germany.

One of John La Rose's greatest achievements was the International Book Fair of Radical Black and Third World Books (1982-95), organised jointly with Bogle L'Ouverture Books and Race Today Publications.  He was joint director with Jessica Huntley of the Book Fair and from 1984 its sole director.  John La Rose was the editor at New Beacon Books and of their journal, New Beacon Review, and published two volumes of his own poetry, Foundations (1966) and Eyelets of Truth Within Me (1992).  He also did some filmmaking in the 1970s.

The George Padmore Institute was established in 1991 and chaired by John La Rose.  The Institute continues the traditions and methods of work that New Beacon Books and the organisations connected with it have developed since 1966.

John La Rose died on 28 February 2006.  He is part of a Caribbean tradition of radical and revolutionary activism whose input has reverberated across continents.

Custodial History:

The material in this collection was gifted to the George Padmore Institute by John La Rose (1927-2006).  The collection is accruing and more deposits are expected over time.

Collection Ref No.:

GB 2904 JOU

Date range:

1961-1995

Description

Journals and newsletters published in the UK and Caribbean (excluding Cuba) are found in this collection, catalogued at series and file level. This is an accruing collection with the majority of the currently catalogued items belonging to the 1960s and 1970s.
The 1960s and 1970s was a very active period of black struggles in both the UK and the Caribbean. In the UK organisations were formed to fight against acts of racism in society and to protect the rights and promote the culture of the new immigrant population. In the post-independent Caribbean it was a period of new radical and cultural ideas. There was also a lot of contact and mutual influence between the population of the Caribbean and the UK at this time. Many people from the Caribbean came to the British universities to study and there was a movement of people and ideas between the two regions.
The George Padmore Institute collection includes such journals as Race Today, Black Liberator, Black Ram and Caribbean Insight from the UK and New World Quarterly, New World Fortnightly, Jamaica Journal, New Beginning Movement and Kontakto Antiyano from the Caribbean.
For journals and newsletters published in Cuba, North America, East -covering the Middle East, Asia and Australasia - or Africa, see the fonds GB 2904 JLR. All runs of journals are incomplete, and the GPI Archive only holds one issue of some journals; please check the extent field. Often an organisation's records will be catalogued in GB 2904 JLR, for example publicity and organisational material produced by the West Indian Students Union, while any journals or newsletters, in this case the 'WISU Newsletter', are catalogued in GB 2904 JOU.
Editorial details and publishing histories are included, where known.
Related material: GB 2904 JLR - often an organisation's records will be catalogued in the collection GB 2904 JLR, while any journals or newsletters produced by the organisation are catalogued in GB 2904 JOU. Where this occurs, material has been cross-referenced.

Admin history:

Custodial History:

Collection Ref No.:

GB 2904 AME

Date range:

1960-2006

Description

The following material is taken from, or relates to, the National Antiracist Movement in Education (1985-2004) otherwise known as NAME, and the organisations which preceded it, dating back to the 1960s. NAME was a voluntary organisation solely concerned with race equality and schooling. Its origins can be traced to c.1965 with the birth of ATEPO - the Association(s) of Teachers of English to Pupils from Overseas. In Spring 1969, individual ATEPOs came together to form the Federation of ATEPOs (FATEPO). The name was then changed to the Association(s) for the Education of Pupils from Overseas [keeping the same ATEPO acronym].
In 1973 a group from the Federation created the National Association for Multiracial Education (NAME) following concerns from members that the Association was not participating sufficiently in national affairs. The change was also aimed at increasing financial stability. The structure grew to become London NAME overseeing several regional branches, around 40 in number by March 1983.
In 1984, NAME changed its title to the National Antiracist Movement in Education [keeping the same acronym] in order to focus more specifically on racism in society and the education system. This was seen by some as a controversial move, sparking a debate between multiculturalism and antiracism and may have contributed to the steady decline in membership from over 1500 members in England, Wales and Scotland in the early 1980s to less than 100 by the year 2000. Because of the decline in membership, NAME formed itself into a smaller, centrally led pressure group during the 1990s, responding to government papers, OFSTED publications and similar. A decision was taken to close NAME down in 2004, leaving a few members to complete a survey of Race Equality Policies in Schools (commenced March 2004 and published 2006).

The collection comprises:

AME/1: Administration and Correspondence
AME/1/1: Joint Work: NUT Meetings and Administration
AME/1/2: Correspondence and Communications
AME/1/3: General Administration
AME/1/4: Membership

AME/2: Meetings and Briefings
AME/2/1: ATEPO Minutes
AME/2/2: NAME [National Association for Multiracial Education] Minutes
AME/2/3: NAME [National Antiracist Movement in Education] Executive Committee Papers

AME/3: AGMs and Conferences
AME/3/1: NAME AGMs and Conferences
AME/3/2: Other Conferences

AME/4: Reports, Responses and Consultation
AME/4/1: Responses to Government and Other Papers
AME/4/2: NAME Fieldwork
AME/4/3: Statements, Policies and Evidence

AME/5: ATEPO and NAME Publications
AME/5/1: ATEPO and NAME Journals and Newsletters
AME/5/2: Handbooks
AME/5/3: Branch Publications
AME/5/4: Other NAME Publications

AME/6: Regional Branches
AME/6/1: Hounslow

AME/7: Related Material
AME/7/1: External Publications
AME/7/2: Various Journals and Papers
AME/7/3: Gloucestershire County Council Education Department

AME/8: NAMERAP - NAME Research and Archive Programme

Admin history:

Summary:
The following material is taken from, or relates to, the National Antiracist Movement in Education (1985-2004) otherwise known as NAME, and the organisations which preceded it, dating back to the 1960s. NAME was a voluntary organisation solely concerned with race equality and schooling. Its origins can be traced to c.1965 with the birth of ATEPO - the Association(s) of Teachers of English to Pupils from Overseas. In Spring 1969, individual ATEPOs came together to form the Federation of ATEPOs (FATEPO). The name was then changed to the Association(s) for the Education of Pupils from Overseas [keeping the same ATEPO acronym]. 
In 1973 a group from the Federation created the National Association for Multiracial Education (NAME) following concerns from members that the Association was not participating sufficiently in national affairs. The change was also aimed at increasing financial stability. The structure grew to become London NAME overseeing several regional branches, around 40 in number by March 1983. 
In 1984, NAME changed its title to the National Antiracist Movement in Education [keeping the same acronym] in order to focus more specifically on racism in society and the education system. This was seen by some as a controversial move, sparking a debate between multiculturalism and antiracism and may have contributed to the steady decline in membership from over 1500 members in England, Wales and Scotland in the early 1980s to less than 100 by the year 2000. Because of the decline in membership, NAME formed itself into a smaller, centrally led pressure group during the 1990s, responding to government papers, OFSTED publications and similar. A decision was taken to close NAME down in 2004, leaving a few members to complete a survey of Race Equality Policies in Schools (commenced March 2004 and published 2006).
Between 1971-2006 ATEPO and NAME produced a number of national publications, including a set of ATEPO booklets, 7 NAME handbooks, Teacher Education (1984), NAME on Swann (1985), Antiracist Education in White Areas: Conference Report (1987) and Race Equality Policies in Schools (2006). Four journals were issued: English for Immigrants (1967-1971); Multiracial School (1971-1978); NAME: New Approaches to Multiracial Education (1978-1980); and Multiracial Education (1980-1985) plus the newsletter ARENA: Anti-Racist Education News (1984-2004).
 
An overview of each organisation is given below:
 
ATEPO: the Association(s) of Teachers of English to Pupils from Overseas (1965-1969)/ the Association(s) for the Education of Pupils from Overseas (1969-1973):
 
For a detailed history of ATEPO, see the following documents:
The Work of ATEPO by Hugh Boulter (1971), (AME/5/2/1). 
For an assessment of the future of ATEPO written in 1973, see the journal Multiracial School Vol. 2 No. 2 (Spring 1973): p.35-38 (AME/5/1/2).
 
Foundation and Development of ATEPO: 
ATEPO began as a grass roots organisation in the mid 1960s. The London and Birmingham branches of ATEPO were formed c.1965 and have been described as "two of the largest conurbations....where the pressure of immigrant children first stimulated teachers to get together and discuss ways of meeting their new found problems" (The Work of ATEPO by Hugh Boulter, Leeds 1971 p.3 - AME/5/2/1). The addresses (Secretaries) for six Associations are listed in the first issue of the ATEPO journal English for Immigrants (Summer 1967): Bedford, Birmingham (Midlands), Bradford (West Riding), Coventry, Derby and London. Slough is mentioned in the news section. 
On 18 November 1967, members from Huddersfield, Birmingham, Bradford, Coventry, Derby and London attended a meeting at Bishop Lonsdale College in Derby where a decision was made to bring individual ATEPOs into a federal structure called the National Federation of Associations for the Teaching of English to Pupils from Overseas (FATEPO). The National Federation met three times a year (Spring, Summer and Autumn terms) and also published the English for Immigrants journal (AME/5/1/1).
Details about the newly formed FATEPO and also ATEFL (Association of Teachers of English as a Foreign Language) can be found in English for Immigrants Issue 2 Spring 1968 (AME/5/1/1). 
 
On 19 April 1969, the first conference of the National Federation was held in Walsall, followed on 3 May by an AGM in Birmingham where the Federation Constitution was ratified and the name of the Federation changed to the National Federation of Associations for the Education of Pupils from Overseas [keeping the same ATEPO acronym]. For further details, see English for Immigrants Vol. 2 Issue 3 Summer 1969 (AME/5/1/1). This change came about because of concerns over the use of the word 'English':
 "Some members feel that a very misleading idea of the functions of the various ATEPOs, and of this Journal, is given by stressing the language aspects of our interests to the exclusion of wider educational concerns." (English for Immigrants Vol. 2 No. 1 Autumn 1968 - AME/5/1/1).
The change of name was "simply a clearer indication to those outside the Associations of the continuing breadth of interests: it is intended to provide an umbrella title under which existing local ATEPOs may continue as 'Teachers of English' or not, as they wish, and to which new groups may affiliate under any label they choose" (English for Immigrants Vol. 2 No. 3 Summer 1969 - AME/5/1/1)
In 1971, Hugh Boulter comments that "[the] Association still remains, and one hopes always will remain, concerned with teaching English to non-English speaking pupils. Its field, however, is constantly widening - hence the change in name - and there has been a move more recently to become more generally concerned with the social as well as the strictly educational aspects of immigration." (The Work of ATEPO by Hugh Boulter 1971 p.3. - AME/5/2/1).
Between November 1968 and November 1971, the number of Associations grew significantly from 11 to 20. This was the result of an expansion programme which included a series of 1 day courses titled School and Community in areas unrepresented by ATEPO. More courses were planned for 1972-73. However, the positive expansion brought with it administrative problems and a rise in Secretarial and Executive expenses. 
A working party on the re-organisation of ATEPO was set up after the annual conference in Walsall in December 1972 to address a number of concerns. Members felt that the Association was not participating sufficiently in national affairs, although records show that ATEPO was already in contact with the Schools Council, the DES and unions such as the NUT. The Association was being given national responsibility but it was operating from a local base with insufficient administrative and financial support. The DES supported ATEPO with an annual grant of £500 for 3 years but this was due to run out in 1973.
It was noted that the source of income from subscription payments was poor as individual membership was low - about 150 members, compared with 85 institutional members - despite high turnout at meetings. ATEPO did not therefore have sufficient money coming in to sustain itself into the future.
The journal Multiracial School Vol. 2 No. 2 p.35-38 Spring 1973 (AME/5/1/2) gives a detailed assessment of the future of ATEPO and the option of changing its constitution from a Federation to a National Association. See below for details on the National Association for Multiracial Education (NAME).
 
Membership of ATEPO:
Members of the Association represented different sections of education including infant, junior and secondary school teachers, lecturers and college students. ATEPO also looked outside of the classroom, encouraging advisers, administrators and Education Welfare Officers - essentially anyone working directly with students from overseas - to become members.
 
Aims and Objectives of ATEPO:
The Objects of Federation ratified at the AGM in Birmingham on 3 May 1969 were as follows:
"to co-ordinate the activities of the local Associations
to disseminate information
to promote interest in the education of pupils from overseas
to offer advice and services to, and co-operate with, other professional and educational organisations, Local Education Authorities, and Government bodies wherever possible
to provide opportunities for teachers to learn of and to develop new methods appropriate to multi-racial classes
to safeguard the interests of such pupils" (AME/2/1/1)
 
Journals issued by ATEPO: 
English for Immigrants (1967-1971): (AME/5/1/1)
Issued 3 times a year (Spring, Summer and Autumn) and published by the Oxford University Press. The first issue, dated Summer 1967, is described in the Editorial as "a development of the Bulletin produced by the London Association of Teachers of English to Pupils from Overseas at the beginning of this year" [1967] (Euan Reid, editor). The journal was to be "a national publication in which could appear news and information, accounts of good teaching practice, reviews of books and materials on the teaching of English to immigrants as well as on the relevant educational and social background" (Editorial - AME/5/1/1). 
 
Multiracial School (1971-1978): (AME/5/1/2)
Issued 3 times a year (Spring, Summer and Autumn terms). The first issue is dated Autumn 1971. Editor: Alan James. Published by Oxford University Press. NB: This journal continues under the National Association for Multiracial Education (NAME) (see below). 
 
 
National Association for Multiracial Education (NAME) (1973-1984):
 
Development of the National Association for Multiracial Education:
A change came in 1973 when a group from ATEPO created the National Association for Multiracial Education (NAME). The decision was largely financial. Writing in December 1972, the Working Party on Reorganisation of ATEPO put forward 2 options: to seek annual grants from bodies such as the DES, or to revise subscriptions to make the Association self-sustaining. The latter was considered the best way forward so that the Association could become more independent and thus play a full part in national affairs as a free agent. "Whether we like it or not the issues that are relevant to our members and to the society that we are involved in promoting - a multi-cultural one - are inevitably controversial (West Indian children in ESN schools, testing, Ugandan resettlement). Any financial attachment is likely to be an embarrassment" (Working Party on Reorganisation of ATEPO (AME/2/1/1). 
Writing in Multiracial School Vol. 3 No. 1 Summer 1974, Alan James speaks of the association as:
"[having] achieved the objectives set at the Walsall conference in 1972, being transformed into an effective national organisation which can and should have a real influence at national and local levels - relying not on publicity-winning shock tactics, but on the pressure that can be exerted by people with experience, a wide range of expertise, and commitment to persist." (AME/5/1/2). 
The structure grew to become London NAME overseeing several regional Branches, around 40 in number by March 1983. NAME was primarily concerned with assisting teachers and advisors working in multiracial and multicultural environments, whether inside or outside the classroom. The Association provided information through publications and journals plus created opportunities to discuss and debate issues at local events and national conferences, held annually. NAME also lobbied local and national governments on issues of importance in the field of multiracial education. NAME worked with or alongside bodies such as ARTEN [Anti Racist Teacher Education Network] and NATE [National Association for the Teaching of English] in the development of courses and materials. 
The focal points of NAME were language skills, especially the use of mother-tongue as a medium of instruction; the curriculum and qualifications; the provision of and access to Teacher Education courses; monitoring employment in the Education Service; and ensuring access by teachers and parents to advice and information.
The organisation received no long-term financial support from central government or from local authority resources. Limited financial support in the form of grants, some from the DES, mostly covered the cost of producing publications. A three year grant from the Barrow and Geraldine S. Cadbury Trust led to the appointment of the first full-time General Secretary, Madeleine Blakeley, in 1978. Two fieldworkers, the Birmingham fieldworker Chris Orford and the national Fieldworker, Mary Baker, were funded by the Inner City Partnership and a grant from the CRE respectively (News of Name issue 1, Mar 1983 - AME/5/4/1). The National Association was financially dependent on the branches and each branch was asked to contribute a percentage of its annual subscription income. Between 1983 and 1984, a new charitable Trust called the National Council for Research and Development in Multiracial Education was planned, to be launched Spring 1985. This was sponsored by NAME in order to achieve charitable status (NAME was not a charity because of its campaigning role). The plan was to employ a fieldworker from Spring 1985 onwards to establish the Trust on a firm footing but grant applications to the Commission for Racial Equality failed due to a lack of available funds.
 
Membership of the National Association for Multiracial Education:
There were 4 types of membership under NAME: full (individual); student; institutional; and affiliate. Annual conferences were attended by up to 200 members and by the early 1980s there were more than 1500 members spread across England, Wales and Scotland. 
 
Aims and Objectives of the National Association for Multiracial Education: 
The general aim of NAME was "to play an active role in making the changes required in the education system which will further the development of a just multi-racial society."
The following aims were set out in the new constitution and ratified at Edgehill College of Education in Ormskirk on 14 April 1973:
"a) to encourage and co-ordinate the efforts of individual members working in education within a multi-racial society.
b) enable its membership to express its collective viewpoint on local and national affairs which relate to a multi-racial society
c) promote the teaching and development of language throughout the education system
d) ensure that full attention is given to the needs of linguistically disadvantaged children irrespective of nationality or origin
e) influence the curriculum of schools to reflect the multi-racial and multi-cultural aspects of our society
f) promote the interests of all children attending multi-racial schools"
 
However, by 1980, there are signs that the Association is beginning to reconsider its aims and objectives. A promotional leaflet c.1980 (AME/5/4/1) suggests that 
 "Minority ethnic groups are at a disadvantage in such areas of life as employment, housing and education". Moreover, "in spite of the efforts of many individuals working within it, the present education system tends to perpetuate injustice rather than to eliminate it ..." In May 1983, we find an announcement that the Aims leaflet has been rewritten (News of NAME - issue 2 May 1983 (AME/5/4/1). NAME now describes itself as follows:
"The National Association for Multiracial Education recognises the fact that racism both individual and institutional pervades all social, political and economic aspects of this country ... NAME, therefore, is an anti-racist organisation ..." (AME 5/4/1). Although issued under the National Association for Multiracial Education in May 1983, these rewritten aims underpin the National Antiracist Movement in Education (see below). 
 
Journals issued by the National Association for Multiracial Education:
Multiracial School (1971-1978), started under ATEPO but continued under NAME (AME/5/1/2) 
NAME: New Approaches to Multiracial Education (1978-1980) - (AME/5/1/3). 
Multiracial Education (1980-1985) - (AME/5/1/4). 
Newsletter ARENA: Anti-Racist Education News (1984-2004) - (AME/5/1/5). 
NB: The first 4 issues of this were published under the National Association for Multiracial Education but this was primarily a National Antiracist Movement in Education publication (see below).
 
 
National Antiracist Movement in Education (NAME) (1984-2004):
 
Development of the National Antiracist Movement in Education:
In 1984, NAME changed its title to the National Antiracist Movement in Education in order to focus on racism in society and the education system. This followed a debate which started up within the organisation around 1980 and moved steadily "from what might be called radical liberation to liberal radicalism" (p. 8 Anti-Racist Education: The Three O's by Chris Mullard (NAME pamphlet 1984 AME/5/2/8). Several years of tension followed between advocates of 'multicultural' and 'antiracist' approaches in education. Many of the publications issued during the mid to the late 1980s reflect both sides of the debate, for example NAME on Swann (1985); the NAME conference report titled Antiracist Education in White Areas (1987); and Mainstream Curricula in a Multicultural Society, published following a joint project with the Further Education Unit (1989). 
The controversial change of name may well have contributed to the decline in NAME membership, from over 1500 members in more than 30 branches in England, Wales and Scotland in the early 1980s to less than 100 by the year 2000. Another contributing factor was a greater awareness of the need for race equality in the education system and in society in general. Because of the decline in membership, NAME formed itself into a smaller, centrally led pressure group during the 1990s. The group focused on responding to government white papers and consultations, OFSTED publications plus standards and codes of practice put forward by the Commission for Racial Equality. 
Annual conferences continued to be held (usually in April or May) to allow discussion of current issues, followed by the AGM, where the National Executive Committee was elected. However, the cancellation of the 1995 NAME conference generated a signed proposal from 2 members of the Committee suggesting that a marketing subcommittee be constituted to help generate more income for the Movement. The last NAME conference to be held was on 8 May 1999, titled 2000 AD - Whose Millennium? Cultural Imperialism or an Opportunity for Anti-racist Celebration? A joint conference between NAME and SCSC [Second City; Second Chance] took place in 2000, titled Social Exclusion and Pupil Support (SIPS); Minority Perspective. NAME AGMs continued between 2000 and 2003. 
A decision was taken to close NAME down from July 2004. A final AGM was held on 3 July 2004 and an Administration Committee was set up to carry out any outstanding business. Meetings were held on 2 October 2004 and 22 January 2005. The few remaining members completed a survey of Race Equality Policies in Schools, conducted voluntarily by the Administrative Committee, with the survey report issued in January 2006 (AME/5/4/2).
 
Membership of the National Antiracist Movement in Education: 
NAME continued to offer 4 types of membership: full (individual); student; institutional; and affiliate. There was a broad representation of minority ethnic communities in NAME, whose perspectives played an increasingly significant part in forming the policies of the organisation, especially from the mid-1980s to early 1990s.
 
Aims and Objectives of the National Antiracist Movement in Education:
NAME declared itself an anti-racist organisation "combating racism in society in general (employment, housing allocation, career opportunities, law enforcement, social services) and in the education system in particular (inappropriate exam criteria, inadequate teaching materials, teachers unprepared to widen the curriculum to include non-European cultures)." (AME/5/4/2). However, NAME rejected the view that race relations and multiracial education should be seen in political terms, and anyone involved labelled a political, rather than an educational, activist.
The following aims appear inside the back cover of the NAME on Swann publication (1985):
"NAME strives to develop strategies for combating racism within education. For example, it encourages the development of antiracist teaching materials and methods which challenge individual and institutional racism throughout the education system; tries to prevent racist legislation from reaching the statute book and campaigns against such legislation already there.
NAME accepts that fighting racism within education is linked to the general struggle against racism. A commitment to this struggle entails actively striving against racism in our place of work and our personal lives.
NAME, through its network of local branches, works to extend the level of awareness of its members and all their colleagues. By improving the resources and expertise available to teachers we seek to bring about an improvement in education for all." (AME/5/4/2)
The constitution was revisited on a regular basis, usually at the annual AGM. By 1989, the fight against racism within education stood side by side with the need "to achieve justice for black people and other oppressed groups in our places of work and personal lives" and " to be active in opposing those practices, attitudes, procedures and conditions which are racist and unfairly discriminatory"(Branch Pack - AME/1/4/2).  
 
Journals and Newsletters issued by the National Antiracist Movement in Education: 
Newsletter ARENA (1984-2000) - (AME/5/1/5). 
NB: The first 4 issues of this were published under the National Association for Multiracial Education but this was primarily a National Antiracist Movement in Education publication. 
 

 

Custodial History:

NAMERAP (NAME Research and Archive Programme) was formed in 2006 by a number of ex-members of NAME, most of whom had served as officers on NAME's National Executive Committee, with the intention of compiling a NAME archive as a basis for research. The archive was later gifted to the George Padmore Institute. 
The material forming the majority of the archive collection was transferred from 3 members of the Committee. Permission was given to amalgamate the 3 sets of files into one collection. Additional material is accruing.
The collection includes one box file full of material transferred to NAME from Samidha Garg. This includes a file belonging to John Rowe, Official, NUT Education Department (AME/1/1/1). Also an envelope of documents (AME/1/1/2) addressed to Madeleine Lake was sent with a covering letter from Samidha Garg, Principal Officer (Race Equality and International Relations), Education, Equality and Professional Development, NUT on 16 July 2009. The NUT files have been catalogued in one sub-series in the order found.

Collection Ref No.:

GB 2904 NASS

Date range:

1979-2005

Description

The National Association of Supplementary Schools (NASS) was formally set up in October 1987 to unite and guide the work of Black Supplementary Schools nationally. NASS had grown out of the Black Education Movement (GB 2904 BEM) and Black Parents Movement (GB 2904 BPM) active since the late 60s to secure improvements in the education of Black children.

Admin history:

The National Association of Supplementary Schools (NASS) was formally set up in October 1987 to unite and guide the work of Black Supplementary Schools nationally. NASS had grown out of the Black Education Movement (GB 2904 BEM) and Black Parents Movement (GB 2904 BPM) active since the late 60s to secure improvements in the education of Black children.
 
NASS elected officers at the Inaugural Meeting on 18 October 1987 were: 
Chairman: John La Rose; Vice Chair: Valentino Jones; Secretary: Mavis Milner-Brown; Assistant Secretary: Anthea Thorpe; Treasurer: Andrew Johnson; Assistant Treasurer: Sam Robin-Koker; Public Relations Officer: Gordon de la Mothe.
 
Based on the principle of self-reliance and self-help, NASS had a membership fee of £20, and its motto was "We are our own educators". Its key aims were:
 
(a) To provide guidance and support to community groups wishing to establish new supplementary schools.
(b) To influence governmental and Local Educational Authorities policies to introduce changes in mainstream school curriculum and practices.
(c) To promote partnerships between parents, mainstream schools and supplementary schools.
(d) To build a resource unit to assist in the dissemination of relevant information to parents, teachers and young people.
 
The funding contribution made by the Inner London Education Authority (ILEA) enabled affiliated NASS members to develop courses on Black history, culture and identity alongside national curriculum subjects. This extended provision enabled the development of Black community and youth services, which was instrumental in the building of skills and self-confidence of young Black people.
 
The abolition of the Inner London Education Authority (ILEA) in 1989 by the then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher impacted on the work of NASS and its members in an important way, as its projects were funded by the ILEA. 
 
By the 1990s, the formal role of NASS was weakened, even though correspondence and documents relating to various black educational issues continued to be received and collected beyond the year 2000.
 
The Fonds consists of records accumulated by John La Rose and other NASS members. It includes letters, minutes, reports, flyers, brochures, notes and newspaper articles.

Custodial History:

The material in this collection was gifted to the George Padmore Institute by John La Rose.

Collection Ref No.:

GB 2904 NTW

Date range:

1962-1967

Description

The following material relates to the Negro Theatre Workshop, otherwise known as NTW. The collection consists of programmes, photographs and documents relating to theatrical and musical productions staged during the most active period of NTW (1964 -1967) together with administrative documents, correspondence and financial records.

Admin history:

The Negro Theatre Workshop was established in London in 1961 with the object of maintaining continuous productions of dramas, revues and musicals, so as to give negro artists experience and writers a chance to see their work performed and, in so doing, to develop and improve standards amongst negro artists and technicians in every branch of the theatre.
(Tanya Morgan - doc NTW/3/1/5). The founding members included Pearl Connor-Mogotsi together with Lloyd Reckord, Bari Johnson, Horace James, George Brown, Bobby Naidoo, Nina Baden-Semper, Tony Cyrus and Ena Cabayo. 
 
As an ensemble of professional and amateur actors, directors and writers, the NTW performed original works in community centres, town halls, churches and cathedrals up and down the country as well as representing the United Kingdom at the First World Festival of Negro Arts in Dakar (Senegal).
 
The driving force behind the NTW was Pearl Connor-Mogotsi who, as Administrator and Honorary Secretary used her energy, commitment and contacts to forge links with a broad range of organisations, individuals and movements such as the Movement for Colonial Freedom, War on Want, West Indian Standing Conference, The Church Army, and The Council for British African Relations. The NTW had  an impressive list of Patrons including The Archbishop of Canterbury, Joan Littlewood, Sir Laurence Olivier and Sir Learie Constantine. On the Board of Trustees were The Earl of Listowel, Andrew Salkey, Christian Simpson and David Pitt  and the NTW was  supported by major figures in show business such as Sidney Poitier, Spike Milligan and Tony Richardson.
 
Initially NTW's activities were run by an Organising Committee of Pearl Connor (Hon. Secretary), June Baden-Semper (Assistant Secretary), Tanya Morgan (Treasurer) and June Leach (Assistant Treasurer) with Christian Simpson of the BBC as Artistic Co-ordinator together with the actors and theatre directors Bari Johnson and Horace James as Additional Organising Committee Members.With the support of Michael Slattery, who arranged for  the NTW to have free use of the Africa Centre for rehearsals, a number of productions - many touring - were organised between December 1964 and December 1965. These included Bethlehem Blues, The Dark Disciples and The Prodigal Son. Most of these productions were performed in churches throughout London because they offered their facilities free of charge. However in January 1966 The Prodigal Son was performed  at Lewisham Town Hall and Hackney's Baths Hall and a BBC television production of The Dark Disciples, subsequently selected as the British entry for the First World Festival of Negro Arts in Dakar (Senegal),  was broadcast at Easter 1966. 
  
In December 1965, at the behest of their legal advisor, Anthony Steel, the position of the NTW was formalised and it was registered as an Educational Trust whose Trustees 'shall hold the Trust Fund....for the  promotion and encouragement of  the study, commissioning and public performance of plays, musical drama and other forms of theatrical enterprises by the Trust which shall provide opportunities for actors and actresses and other performers of Negro and of any other race to participate.......' (Clause 3 of the Trust Deed; doc ref NTW/3/1/3).
 
At the inaugural meeting of the Negro Theatre Workshop Trust on 10 March 1966, chaired by George Lamming, the Management Council and a number of committees and sub committees were formally constituted.
 
Throughout its life NTW's development was restricted by lack of funds and a permanent base. Negotiations for an annual grant from the Arts Council, Trusts and charities were handicapped by their lack of a permanent home and performance space. For some time negotiations with the GLC for a lease to occupy  Wilton's Music Hall looked promising but in the end came to nothing.
 
Although the NTW was comparatively short lived, it was a seminal organisation in several ways. Through its productions it helped to train numerous actors, dancers, writers and directors; built the reputations and raised the profiles of many in the profession and in this way enabled them to obtain their equity cards. 

Custodial History:

The collection was gifted to the George Padmore Institute by June Guiness, nee Leech, who was deeply involved with the Negro Theatre Workshop from its early days.  For June Leech "they were happy and interesting days but, of course, quite grim for the artistes themselves as work opportunities  were not thick on the ground." [letter, dated 4th January 2007, accompanying gift agreement to the George Padmore Institute.]

Collection Ref No.:

GB 2904 NCM

Date range:

1980-1985

Description

The following material concerns the New Cross Massacre Campaign, and the work of the New Cross Massacre Action Committee. The Campaign formed during the aftermath of the alleged firebombing of the home of a West Indian family at 439 New Cross Road, South London on 18 Jan 1981. The fire resulted in the deaths of thirteen young black persons. Twenty seven others were seriously injured. An Inquest into the fire was held in Apr 1981, and again in 2004. No-one to date has been charged in relation to the fire, an open verdict being delivered on both occasions.

The collection comprises:
NCM/1: Campaign Action, divided into three series:
NCM/1/1: New Cross Massacre Action Committee [NCMAC] and associated committees.
NCM/1/2: The Black People's Day of Action.
NCM/1/3: Campaign Publicity.

NCM/2: The New Cross Investigation and Inquest, divided into four series:
NCM/2/1: The Fact Finding Commission.
NCM/2/2: Inquest into the New Cross Fire 1981.
NCM/2/3: Application to Attorney General for Judicial Review and Appeal.
NCM/2/4: International Commission of Inquiry, and Appeal Against the Inquest Verdict.

NCM/3: Support for the New Cross Campaign, divided into four series:
NCM/3/1: The New Cross Fire Fund.
NCM/3/2: Families of the New Cross Victims.
NCM/3/3: Support for the New Cross Campaign, General.
NCM/3/4: Placards, Photographs and Posters.

NCM/4: Media Interest, divided into three series:
NCM/4/1: Newspapers and publications.
NCM/4/2: Media Coverage.
NCM/4/3: Allegations of Distorted Media Coverage.

Admin history:

The New Cross Massacre Action Committee [NCMAC] was formed on 20 Jan 1981 within two days of the alleged firebombing of the home of a West Indian family at 439 New Cross Road, Lewisham, South London.  The house fire occurred in the early morning of 18 Jan 1981 during a birthday party for Yvonne Ruddock (aged 16) and Angela Jackson (aged 18).  The fire resulted in the deaths of thirteen young black persons, aged 14 to 22.  Twenty seven others were seriously injured.

The following people lost their lives:

Humphrey Brown (4 Jul 1962-18 Jan 1981); Peter Campbell (23 Feb 1962-18 Jan 1981); Steve Collins (2 May 1963-18 Jan 1981); Patrick Cummings (24 Sep 1964-18 Jan 1981); Gerry Paul Francis (21 Aug 1963-18 Jan 1981); Andrew Gooding (18 Feb 1966-18 Jan 1981); Lloyd Hall (29 Nov 1960-19 Jan 1981); Lillian Rosalind Henry (23 Aug 1964-18 Jan 1981); Patricia Johnson (16 May 1965-18 Jan 1981); Glen Powell (19 Jan 1965-25 Jan 1981); Paul Ruddock (19 Nov 1958-9 Feb 1981); Yvonne Ruddock (17 Jan 1965-24 Jan 1981); Owen Wesley Thompson (11 Sep 1964-18 Jan 1981).

A fourteenth person, Anthony Berbeck, caught up in the fire, was believed to have committed suicide following the trauma of the event, in Jul 1983.  [An inquest was subsequently held 16 Aug 1983 in Southwark.]

The first intervention by the future New Cross Massacre Action Committee occurred when three members of the Black Parents Movement - Darcus Howe, John La Rose, and Roxy Harris, together with Alex Pascall - formed a delegation and visited Mrs Gee Ruddock, owner of 439 New Cross Road, at the house of black community leader Sybil Phoenix.  Mrs Ruddock, who had lost both of her children in the fire, agreed to be interviewed by the delegation.  This was broadcast on Alex Pascall's daily Black Londoners BBC Radio London programme, together with an interview between Darcus Howe, John La Rose and the police. 

The New Cross Massacre Action Committee, chaired by John La Rose, was mobilised to protest at the apparent bias and mishandling of the police investigation into the fire, to challenge the indifference shown by the government, and to highlight distorted media coverage.  Fuelled by a history of attacks on black people, including several incidents in the Lewisham, New Cross and Deptford areas - eg: the Sunderland Road bombing, and the burning down of the old Moonshot Youth Club building - suspicions soon arose about police methods of detection and inherent racism.

The New Cross Massacre Action Committee (or NCMAC) was established at a public meeting on 20 Jan 1981, and part of its work became known as the Black People's Assembly.  Documents also refer to this as The General Assembly.  The Assembly was open to all those people who supported the aims of the Campaign, and any recommendations made by the Assembly were then passed to the NCMAC, who made decisions as to how to proceed.

A series of public meetings were held across London to encourage support.  There were also regional committees set up across the country, in Leicester, Manchester and Rugby, as well as committees in North, West, and South East London.

An inquiry was launched, led by South London head of CID, Commander Graham Stockwell.  Relations between the police and the local community were already strained, with the Metropolitan Police accused of lacking urgency.  There was a rejection of moves by police to bring the black community behind the Community Relations Councils (CRCs) and the Commission for Racial Equality, as this was seen as undermining an independent struggle for justice.

The NCMAC also established a Fact Finding Commission on 20 Jan 1981 to compile its own evidence through interviews with survivors and with the bereaved.  It not only carried out an independent investigation as to what had happened, but also found out through such interviews about the methods that the police were using to obtain their information.  Allegations were made that some of those interviewed by police had been forced into signing false statements under pressure.  Claims were also made that rumours of a racist attack carried out by far right groups were too easily overlooked by the police.

There was anger at the failure of the Thatcher government and the Queen to express any sympathy about the incident, in contrast to government and royal sympathy shown towards victims of a recent fire at a discotheque in Ireland. It was not until a delegation from the NCMAC met with members of the House of Commons on 25 Feb 1981 that any reaction was forthcoming by Parliament. The delegation achieved an Early Day Motion for 2 Mar 1981 (see 'Black People's Day of Action' below) expressing sympathy and condemning racist attacks on the black population.

Distorted media coverage was also condemned.  An example of this was the confusion caused by an article in the Daily Mail on 25 Feb 1981 headed 'Killer Blaze Charge Soon', dismissed by Scotland Yard Press Office as completely untrue.  Newspapers were also hostile to the carefully planned Black People's Day of Action (see below), with headlines such as 'Rampage of a Mob' [Daily Express], and 'The Day the Blacks Ran Riot in London' [The Sun].

Black People's Day of Action:

On 2 Mar 1981 an estimated 15-20,000 black people and their supporters, under the banner of the New Cross Massacre Action Committee, demonstrated through the streets of London in an organised march named 'The Black People's Day of Action'.  The march followed a pre-planned route from 439 New Cross Road through the City and Central London to Hyde Park, and lasted for about eight hours.

The demonstration was decided upon at a meeting on 27 Jan 1981, when the important decision was made to march on a Monday rather than at the weekend.  This would indicate the serious nature of the march and also maximise the impact on workers.  Tactical negotiations with the police secured a route which would attract the attention of journalists by taking the march down Fleet Street.  A week day also allowed Parliament to carry through the agreed Early Day Motion (see above).

A delegation of the representatives of the NCMAC and families, headed by John La Rose, made a planned departure from the march to deliver a declaration - 'The Declaration of New Cross' - to 10 Downing Street, the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, and the Houses of Parliament.  Despite a signed agreement with the Metropolitan Police as to the route the march would take, police in riot gear tried to block the march at Blackfriars Bridge.  The march stewards recognised this as a planned provocation by the police and avoided the marchers being drawn into a violent clash with the police.  Eventually, the truck leading the protestors managed to break through and the march continued as planned.

Inquest:

The NCMAC closely monitored the Inquest proceedings, which began at County Hall in London on 21 Apr 1981.  The families of the victims were represented by Michael Mansfield, Rock Tansey and Ian Macdonald.  Four theories were advanced from the police: 1) a firebomb attack from outside the building; 2) an opportunist arson attack from outside the building; 3) a deliberate fire from inside the building; 4) an accidental fire from inside the building.  However, it was soon clear that racial motives were being ruled out as theories 1 and 2 were abandoned, despite the revelation from forensics that a possible incendiary device had been found at the scene.  The speed and force of the fire had also caused a police officer at the scene to conclude that a petrol bomb had been thrown into the house, but this theory was dismissed.  The Coroner, Dr. Arthur Gordon Davies, refused to take any notes of evidence during the hearing, preferring to read from police statements.  The jury returned an open verdict.

Appeal:

Families with the support of the NCMAC appealed for the inquest verdict to be quashed and demanded a new inquest, considering the hearing to have been biased.  The fact that the Coroner refused to take notes during the hearing was considered to be illegal under Section 6 of the Coroner's Act 1887, and the Attorney General authorised the Appeal lodged by the relatives of the dead.  The integrity of the initial investigation was also called into question.  On 10 May 1982, the relatives won leave to Appeal, and an Appeal date was set for 5 Jul 1982.  However, the inquest jury refused to quash the open verdict. Despite attempts by the courts to avoid a second inquest, the NCMAC and relatives of the victims demanded that a new inquest should take place.

International Commission of Inquiry:

An International Commission of Inquiry was also planned by the NCMAC, although it never took place.  In an unfortunate decision, the Courts decided to hear the Appeal during the same period planned for the International Commission of Inquiry.  The latter had already been postponed from Jan 1982 due to the unavailability of some of the Commissioners chosen.  In Jun 1983, the NCMAC was at last planning to hold its own independent inquiry, but decided to postpone it again after detectives suggested that they might be on the verge of a breakthrough. This subsequently turned out to be misleading.

Fire Fund:

The NCMAC also established a Fire Fund to support the families involved, to raise money to help families to bury their dead, and to care for the injured.  The fund was chaired by Alex Pascall, member of NCMAC, and broadcaster of the daily Black Londoners BBC Radio London programme.  Access to broadcasting proved invaluable for interviewing relatives and members of the NCMAC, reporting on the New Cross Massacre Campaign, encouraging public support, and analysing social and political tensions.  A total of £27,000 was raised by the Fire Fund.

Annual vigils and memorial services continued to be held on the anniversary of the fire. The New Cross Memorial Trust was also set up in 1981 by the families of the victims.  Following a request from black community leader Sybil Phoenix, Lewisham council erected a memorial to the victims of the New Cross fire in 1997. 

Despite repeated requests, the opportunity for a second inquest did not come until 1997, when the police re-opened the investigation.  Calls for a new inquest were twice rejected, until the High Court finally agreed in 2002.  A second Inquest began in Feb 2004, 23 years after the New Cross fire occurred.  An open verdict was again returned.

Custodial History:

The material in this collection was largely gathered from the personal archives of those individuals who led the New Cross Massacre Action Committee, namely the Chairman John La Rose, Irma La Rose, Roxy Harris, Darcus Howe and Alex Pascall.  Material from the Manchester section of the Committee, formed from the Manchester Black Parents Organisation (MBPO), was gifted by Gus [Augustine] John. Material from other regions was sent down to the New Cross Massacre Action Committee during the Campaign.  Documents relating to Inquest proceedings were gifted by Ian Macdonald.