Vron Ware speaks on a new film by the GPI about the New Cross Massacre

February 17, 2021

The George Padmore Insitute (GPI) has produced a new, exclusive film about the Institute’s New Cross Massacre Action Committee archive collection. Five speakers, including GPI Trustees Roxy Harris and Linton Kwesi Johnson, feature, as does Vron Ware, who gives her personal insight into the Black People’s Day of Action protest march on 2 March 1981. She reflects on the photographs she took and the central role the GPI’s archive collection continues to play in ensuring the tragic events of the New Cross Massacre in January 1981 are never forgotten.

Ware is well known for her work as an academic and a pioneer in the study of anti-racism, feminism and culture in contemporary Britain, but she also created an important body of documentary photography. While working as editor of the anti-racist magazine Searchlight, Ware photographed the Black People’s Day of Action, when 20,000 members of the black community marched across London to protest the government’s failure to acknowledge the tragedy of the New Cross Massacre as well as the inadequate and biased police investigation. In 2017, a selection of Ware's photographs was exhibited in the ‘13 Dead, Nothing Said’ exhibition at Goldsmiths, University of London. A booklet of the photographs, The Black People’s Day of Action 02.03.1981, was published by Café Royal in 2020.

Ware went on to teach cultural geography at the University of Greenwich (1992-1999) before moving to the USA in 1999, where she taught sociology, women's and gender studies at Yale University (1999-2005). From 2007-2014 she worked as a research fellow at the Open University before taking up a post as Professor of Sociology at Kingston University.

As a scholar and activist, Ware’s early works include a pamphlet Women and the National Front in 1978 and a book Beyond the Pale: White Women, Racism and History in 1992. Her extensive research has played a crucial role in shaping a new international field of study that has become known as Critical Whiteness Studies. In 2007, Who Cares About Britishness? A Global View of The National Identity Debate was commissioned by the British Council, which discusses the notions of citizenship, belonging and national identity in the UK. In 2008, her research took a new direction when she began to look at Britishness and militarization in the UK, resulting in the book Military Migrants: Fighting for YOUR country in 2012.

Copies of Vron Ware’s The Black People’s Day of Action 02.03.1981 and the GPI’s The New Cross Massacre Story: Interviews with John La Rose are available to purchase. For further details email info@georgepadmoreinstitute.org

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Phot of Black People's Day of Action
(c) Vron Ware