The Empire Needs Men Exhibition

Narrative Eye

Stripped to the waist and sweated chest

Midday’s reprieve brings much-needed rest

From trenches deep toward the sky.

Non-fighting troops and yet we die.

– extract from The Black Soldier’s Lament by George A. Borden

28 June 1914, this date is a defining date for world history – Archduke Ferdinand was shot dead by a Serbian.

The assassination of the heir to the Austria-Hungary throne led to the mobilisation of troops in 4 different continents, resulting in casualties of over 37 million people worldwide and at the end, the disintegration of two empires.

But how did the death of one man, lead to such a catastrophe, and what does it have to do with Africans?

Narrative Eye’s  Empire Needs Men Exhibition travels throughout London with a thought-provoking display of images and artefacts charting the First World War from an African perspective.

To 28 February. Pimlico Library.

2-28 March. Croydon Supplementary Education Project

30 March – 25 April. Dalston CLR James Library

27 April – 30 May. Stratford Library

1 – 27 June. The Gate Library, Forest Gate

29 June – 1 August. Ealing Library

3 – 29 August. Hounslow Library

31 August – 26 September. North Harrow Library

28 September – 31 October. Enfield Town Library

2 November – 19 December. West Indian Association of Service Personnel

For more details see


About seancreighton1947

Since moving to Norbury in July 2011 I have been active on local economy, housing and environment issues with Croydon TUC and Croydon Assembly. I am a member of the Love Norbury Residents Associations Planning & Transport Committees, and Chair of Nobury Community Land Trust. I write for Croydon Citizen at I co-ordinate the Samuel Coleridge-Taylor and Croydon Radical History Networks and edit the North East Popular Politics database. History Project.. I give history talks and lead history walks. I retired in 2012 having worked in the community/voluntary sector and on heritage projects. My history interests include labour movement, mutuality, Black British, slavery & abolition, Edwardian roller skating and the social and political use of music and song. I have a particular interest in the histories of Battersea and Wandsworth, Croydon and Lambeth. I have a publishing imprint History & Social Action Publications.
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