History Events & News at 20 December

 Black Tommies cover

History Events & News at 20 December

To Easter. To End All Wars Exhibition at WCML

The Library’s new exhibition To End All Wars marks the centenary of the introduction of conscription in early 1916.  The north-west had a vigorous anti-war movement from 1914 onwards. This exhibition looks at some of those involved, both men and women, who fought for peace. Bill Chadwick from Westhoughton and Hugh Hutchinson from Bolton, whose stories were previously known only to their families, can now take their place amongst more famous names. Documents from the Hyde branch of the No-Conscription Fellowship, a unique collection held by the Library, are also on display. This is an alternative narrative of the war that deserves to be remembered as much as we commemorate those who fought and died.

The exhibition is open Wednesdays to Fridays 1-5pm, and will run until Easter 2016.

No colour bar

Thursday 7 January. 1-3pm. No Colour Bar: Black British Art in Action 1960 – 1990 Talk & Tour

A special off-site opportunity to examine an important public art and archives exhibition – in the heart of the City of London – the first of its kind in the UK, combining contemporary fine art and archives featuring the works of seminal Black British artists, including work on loan from the V&A, and historically significant Black activists. No Colour Bar co-curator Katty Pearce will lead an exhibition tour, followed by Dr Michael McMillan speaking in his curated ‘Walter Rodney Bookshop’ to unfold narratives and identities, politics and representations outlined within the material displayed, and the inter-play/juxtaposition of the politics of galleries like Guildhall exhibiting work of this nature.

Guildhall Art Gallery, Guildhall Yard, Gresham Street (off Lothbury), London EC2V 5AE.  Tel: 020 7332 3700

Free, booking essential via this link


Thursday 14 January. 2.30 – 4pm. Welcome to the Culture Club – Dorcas Societies, crafting textiles in the front room

Dorcas, a woman who made garments for the poor (Bible: Acts chapter 9, versus 36-42), gave her name to countless Dorcas societies. These societies and clubs became embedded carriers of knowledge exchange and culture in textiles.  For women migrating from the Caribbean to Britain in the 1950s and 60s they continued to provide a space to share ‘church’ and textile expertise and much more within the front room, a space where these particular textiles were produced. Rose Sinclair presents a curated talk about the hidden history of Dorcas clubs and the contribution of Caribbean women to a British textiles aesthetic through what they describe as the ‘gift’ of textiles. If you have textile items at home or elsewhere that were made as part of a Dorcas Club please bring them along to the session, Rose would be delighted to see them. Sinclair is a Lecturer (Textiles) in the Design Department at Goldsmiths, University of London, and her current PhD research explores the relationship between textiles practice and communities, including those found in Dorcas Clubs.


Clore Study Room,  Gallery 55, V&A, Museum, Cromwell Road, South Kensington, London, SW7 2RL. Tel. 020 942 2000

Free, booking essential via this link


Friday 22 January. Launch of Memorial Aid single

The single will raise money for the Nubian Jak Community Trust War Memorial in the UK specifically commemorating African and Caribbean forces and troops of both World Wars. It will feature up and coming artists from the world of Reggae, Hip Hop, R n B, Afro Beat and World Music. The release of I Have a Song will precede the installation of the African Caribbean War Memorial scheduled for VE Day 2016. The 2.5 ton monument will be installed on Windrush Square in Brixton, South London.


Sunday 21 February. 2pm. No Power on Earth

A specially-written ‘Living History’ performance will accompany the WCML To End All Wars  exhibition thanks to the Heritage Lottery Fund. It tells the story of James Hindle Hudson, a Salford conscientious objector. At Salford Museum and Art Gallery.

Wednesday 2 March, 1pm. No Power on Earth

See details at 21 February. At WCML.

Saturday 5 March. 2pm. No Power on Earth

See details at 21 February. At Salford Museum and Art Gallery.

Saturday 12 March. Women and the Spanish Civil War

Speakers include Paul Preston on Dolores Ibarruri, Linda Palfreeman on Fernanda Jacobsen and Sylvia Martin on Aileen Palmer and the British Medical Unit.  The International Brigade Memorial Trust’s annual Len Crome Memorial Conference. Manchester Conference Centre, Sackville Street, Manchester, M1 3BB. Cost £15 buffet and entrance (payment in advance by 28 February), £10 entrance only (payable on the day). More details here or from Charles Jepson, email clarioncc@yahoo.co.uk, tel 01254 51302.

Call Mr Robeson Dates

January 9 (note date change), Bath: The Ustinov Studio, Theatre Royal (2 shows)

January 23, Liverpool: Paul Robeson: 40 Years Dead. A tribute concert on the 40th anniversary of his death. Quaker Meeting house. Includes Birmingham Clarion Singers and Liverpool Socialist Singers.

January 29: Bolton Socialist Club

March 10, Stapleford: St. Helen’s Parish Church Hall
March 11: Upper Broughton Village Hall
March 12, Averham, Newark, Notts: Robin Hood Theatre Club
March 17, Wolverhampton: Arena Theatre
March 18, Coalville, Leics: Century Theatre
March 19, Hoton: Hoton, Cotes & Prestwold Village Hall
March 20, Radcliffe-on-Trent: Grange Hall
March 24: Doncaster Unitarian & Free Xtian Church
March 25: Doncaster Unitarian & Free Xtian Church (Concert)
March 26: Derby Theatre

Lenny Henry Black Theatre Radio Series

These can be heard at:


See also the Voice at:


Bottom of Form

First Black Literature MA Finally Launches After Slow Start


Paul Robeson News

  • Robeson as flawed hero


  • Commemoration in Dallas 28 December

Kwanzaa Youth Warriors present a tribute to Robeson. Activities will include the film The Tallest Tree in our Forest, about Robeson’s life


BCA launches £50,000 fund raising appeal

Since opening Black Cultural Archives has presented three major exhibitions: Re-imagine: Black Women in Britain, exploring Black Britain from 1950s to 2000s through the photographic lens in Staying Power to the shock of the familiar revealing the everyday lives of the Black Georgians. There have been over 40,000 visitors and BCA has worked with just under 2,000 London school children across both formal and informal education.

1965 Race Relations Act

The passing of the 1965 Race Relations Act was commemorated at two events on 8 December at the Houses Of Parliament.

  • The first organised by The Speaker, John Bercow had on hand some of the people in and outside Parliament who had a hand in the Act’s passage were on hand: Shirley Williams, Geoffrey Bindman, Lord Lester, Dame Jocelyn Barrow and Paul Stephenson.
  • The second was organised by BAME Labour and Labour Women & Equalities.

Black Tommies: British Soldiers of African Descent in the First World War

Black Tommies is dedicated to the part played by soldiers of African descent in the British regular army during the First World War. If African colonial troops have been ignored by historians, the existence of any substantial narrative around Black British soldiers enlisting in the United Kingdom during the First World War is equally unknown, even in military circles. Much more material is now coming to light, such as the oral testimony of veterans, and the author has researched widely to gather fresh and original material for this fascinating book from primary documentary sources in archives to private material kept in the metaphorical (and actual) shoe boxes of descendants of black Tommies. Reflecting the global nature of the conflict, Black Tommies takes us on a journey from Africa to the Caribbean and North America to the streets of British port cities such as Cardiff, Liverpool and those of North Eastern England. This exciting book also explodes the myth of Second Lieutenant Walter Tull being the first, or only, black officer in the British Army and endeavours to give the narrative of black soldiers a firm basis for future scholars to build upon by tackling an area of British history previously ignored. Written by Ray Costello. Published by Liverpool University Press. £14.99 paperback. http://liverpooluniversitypress.co.uk/products/59905

Congo Reform Movement

British Humanitarianism and the Congo Reform Movement 1896-1913. Dean Pavlakis. Ashgate. September 2015. Hbk. ISBN 978-1-4724-367-4.

Greening London, 1920-2000

Matti O Hannikainen. January 2016. Ashgate. Hbk. ISBN. 978-1-4724-5815-5.

Music and Cold War

Music, Art and Diplomacy: East-West Cultural Interactions and the Cold War. Ed. Simon Mikkonen & Pekka Suutari. February 2016. Ashgate. Hbk. ISBN 978-4724-6808.6.

Music Festivals

Music Festivals and the Politics of Participation. Roxy Robinson. Ashgate. Hbk. ISBN. 978-1-4094-5776-3


About seancreighton1947

Since moving to Norbury in July 2011 I have been active on local economy issues with Croydon TUC and Croydon Assembly, and am a member of the latter's Environment Forum. I am a member of the 5 Norbury Residents Associations Joint Planning Committee, and a Governor of Norbury Manor Primary School. I write for Croydon Citizen at http://thecroydoncitizen.com. I co-ordinate the Samuel Coleridge-Taylor and Croydon Radical History Networks and advise the North East People's 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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