As part of Black History month, The George Padmore Institute ran a black archive event last week. The archive and book shop were conceived by John Le Rose who was originally from Trinidad and relocated to England in the 60s. His aim was to provide information to hand down through the generations to keep black history, culture and politics alive. The collection includes an archive of black activism, the Caribbean Artists Movement, the Black Parents Movement, rare newspapers, journals, sound recordings and ephemera.
In 1981, 13 died during a house fire and at the time there was racial tension in the black community which was fuelled by the police’s first suspicions of arson. The committee organized a peaceful demonstration in London of 20,000 and the archive shows a typed document with suggested slogans for the placards such as ‘New Cross massacre police cover up’ and ‘Equal rights and justice for all’.
The New Beacon Bookshop was founded by John as a specialist Caribbean publisher and used as a channel to keep Black culture, history and politics thriving.
Both the book shop and archive are based in Finsbury Park, are open to the public and well worth the visit.