Black Parents Movement 1975-1993

April 12, 2021

The Black Parents Movement (BPM) is one of the archive collections held at the George Padmore Institute (GPI). This organisation was set up in April 1975 and dealt with a wide range of issues affecting black people. The BPM campaigned against racism in society and maltreatment by police, contested suspensions and expulsions in schools, provided legal defence, especially for juveniles, challenged deportation orders and helped resolve problems with housing and unemployment.

The catalyst behind the formation of the BPM was the arrest and assault of Cliff McDaniel, a 17-year-old black youth, outside his school in north London. Pupils and parents of the George Padmore Supplementary School knew McDaniel and many of the parents and teachers, including GPI co-founder John La Rose, set up the BPM as a result. Forming an alliance with the Black Students Movement, the two organisations were successful in defeating the police in McDaniel’s case.

The BPM built alliances with other similar organisations such as the Race Today Collective (RTC) and the Bradford Black Collective (BBC). Campaigns included promoting awareness of the widespread exclusion of black pupils from schools and the exhortation to self-help, which led to an expansion of black supplementary schools.

Members of the BPM and the Alliance were the first to intervene following the New Cross fire in 1981 and were quick to establish the New Cross Massacre Action Committee, for which John La Rose was the Chair.

More details on the BPM’s history and extensive activism, including its international campaigns, can be found at the archive catalogue on the GPI website here.

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A BPM protest supporting Cliff McDaniel (Credit: Julian Stapleton)