2021 marks the 40th anniversary of the tragic New Cross Massacre and the highly significant Black People's Day of Action.
The New Cross Massacre took place on Sunday 18 January 1981, when 13 black teenagers died in a fire in New Cross, London. There was deep outrage at what was felt to be a racially motivated attack in the context of many other previous such attacks in South London and elsewhere, the weak police response and the negative media coverage. The New Cross Massacre Action Committee (NCMAC) was formed, with John La Rose as its chairman.
The Black People's Day of Action on Monday 2 March 1981 had 20,000 people marching through London for over eight hours from New Cross to Hyde Park. It deliberately took place on a working day in order to have more impact than the traditional weekend demonstration. The March intentionally took a route past Fleet Street and through the City of London and the West End, ensuring that the strength of public outrage could no longer be ignored by the authorities.
The fire and the subsequent campaign of action spearheaded by the NCMAC were historic events which bolstered the collective self-confidence of black people in the UK. The GPI, whose founding chairperson John La Rose led the NCMAC, holds valuable archives on the New Cross Massacre and many of the campaigns and actions that took place at that time.
In this 40th anniversary year, the GPI is making available to purchase two booklets that provide valuable contemporary reports.
The New Cross Massacre Story: interviews with John La Rose is a reprint of the original booklet published in 1984 by the Alliance of the Black Parents Movement, Black Youth Movement and Race Today Collective, containing two interviews with John from Socialist Challenge and Archipelago. The GPI first published this current edition in 2011. The significance of the period and the event are explored through a prologue by Linton Kwesi Johnson and an epilogue by Gus John, both leading members of the Alliance and the NCMAC, which mobilised people from all over Britain and abroad. Price £10.00 including p&p
The Black People's Day of Action 02.03.1981 by Vron Ware was published in 2020 by Café Royal Books. It contains black and white photographs that Vron took on the day as the march assembled in Fordham Park, New Cross and then proceeded for eight hours through south London streets, across Blackfriars Bridge into the city, up Fleet Street, in those days the home of the press, to Hyde Park. The photos are held in Autograph ABP’s digital and print archive. Price £8.00 including p&p
Both booklets can be purchased for a special price of £12.50 including p&p
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