Black Radical History

The museum is delighted to continue to work with the Workers’ Educational Association (WEA) to host a series of courses in autumn 2016. You can find out more about the Black Radical History course in our guest blog from WEA tutor Mark Krantz, who is leading the course.

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For Black History Month, a course to explore how Black radicals have made history. From opposition to slavery and the battle for the vote, to the fight against racism and Islamophobia, and the question of supporting refugees today. The course includes a presentation from Ahmed Iqbal Ullah Race Relations Resource Centre and a visit to the PHM’s archives and galleries.

The uprising of slaves on the sugar island of Saint-Domingue began in 1791 and lasted for 13 years. A slave army led by Toussaint-Louverture defeated the professional armies sent to crush the revolt. Spain, France and Britain were defeated and the slaves won their freedom in the country known today as Haiti.

William Cuffay was a Chartist leader at the forefront of the struggle to win the vote in Britain. Cuffay was the son of a former slave, he led strikes, spoke at meetings, and led protests of mainly white workers across the country.

When Abraham Lincoln declared the abolition of slavery during the American Civil War, 30 former slaves who had escaped to Britain spoke at meetings in the Manchester area. They played a crucial role in winning workers to support the union struggle that defeated the army of the slave holding states of the Southern Confederacy.

Too often the role of black people in the struggles for their own liberation is omitted from history. This course places black radicals at the centre of historical change, exploring the history and politics of race, and strategies for fighting racism.

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This course will cover

  • Opposition to slavery, and the American Civil War
  • William Cuffay and the fight for the vote
  • Racism and anti racism from the 1970s until today
  • Rebel women from Farhat Khan, and Lydia Besong, to Manjeet Kaur and Aderonke Apata
  • The challenge of Islamophobia, stereotyping, and the Prevent agenda

Suitable for people aged 19 years and over

Course runs Friday 7 October to Friday 4 November 2016

1.00pm – 3.30pm

Cost £40.30 or free to those in receipt of means tested benefits

Booking Requirements: Booking required by contacting WEA on 0151 243 5340 or booking online via WEA’s website. Please quote course ref C3839448

*Please note this is a five week course, attendees are required to book onto all five weeks of the course*

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Black Radical Hero: Viv Anderson

For Black History Month this October our Black Radicals Season will celebrate the lives of some of our 100 Radical Heroes, the men and women who believed in ideas worth fighting for.  They dared to challenge convention and believed in the spirit of fairness, co-operation and people power.  They were pioneers who changed history and made life better for ordinary working people. This series of blog posts will highlight their achievements.  We also invite you to nominate your own Black Radical Hero to add to our list.  Tweet us @PHMMcr using the hashtag #blackradicalhero.

Rebecca Lomas concludes the series with Viv Anderson.

15 October 2015, Radical Hero An Audience with Viv Anderson @ People's History MuseumViv Anderson, the first black footballer to play for England, was born in Nottingham in 1956. He made his debut for England in a match against Czechoslovakia, which England won 1-0, aged 22 in 1978, and his shirt from that historic match was loaned to the museum, where it was displayed in our main galleries, in 2011. This was the first of a total of 30 caps for England, the final being during a 1-1 draw against Columbia in 1988. He played for Nottingham Forest, Arsenal, Manchester United and Sheffield Wednesday during his football career, being Alex Ferguson’s first signing for Manchester United in 1987. He also managed Barnsley and assistant managed Middlesbrough.

Racism has been a problem in football that was around during Anderson’s career and has continued until the present day, for example during a 2012 match played by the England under-21s in Serbia, when racist abuse was shouted. Anderson has described the shirt worn during his first match for England as a symbol of ‘how people in general were starting to react to black workers and footballers succeeding right across the community at a time of a big cultural shift.’ Speaking of his own experience of racism at an event at the museum on 15 October 2015, Anderson described his determination to succeed, stating “I thought whatever it takes, I am not going to let these people dictate to me.”  Though progress has been made for black footballers, the 2012 incident shows that more is needed.

Anderson has recently talked of the need for more black football managers, “There’s lots of black kids up and down this country playing football – and they need to see role models that not just play football, but that they can go on to managerial roles and become successful managers.”  Speaking at the museum, Anderson said that this was down to a “perception that they (people of colour) are very good players but not good managers” pointing out that there have been less that 10 black managers in the past 15-20 years. Anderson was the second of these and in our eyes this is one of the reasons he is a role model to many and this is one of the reasons he is one of our radical heroes.

Black Radical Hero: Jayaben Desai

For Black History Month this October our Black Radicals Season will celebrate the lives of some of our 100 Radical Heroes, the men and women who believed in ideas worth fighting for.  They dared to challenge convention and believed in the spirit of fairness, co-operation and people power.  They were pioneers who changed history and made life better for ordinary working people. This series of blog posts will highlight their achievements.  We also invite you to nominate your own Black Radical Hero to add to our list.  Tweet us @PHMMcr using the hashtag #blackradicalhero.

Caitlin LaPorte continues with strike leader Jayaben Desai

NMLH.2001.12(low)Jayaben Desai was the leader behind the Grunwick Dispute that took place in London from 1976 to 1978. Originally from India, Desai had moved to Britain in 1967 with her husband and children. Desai was a low paid worker, first as a sewing machinist and then as a film processor at Grunwick Factory. Working conditions within the company were less than desirable, and eventually caused Desai to become the driving force behind a strike that consisted of mainly female employees of an ethnic minority.

The strikers were protesting pay inequality and the institutionalised racism that was experienced in the factory. There was also the hope of being recognised as a unionised workforce by the managers at the factory. Unfortunately, despite receiving a large amount of support, this did not happen and the strikers were not reinstated.

The Grunwick dispute did however, result in an increased respect for female, immigrant workers. This would not have been possible without the courageous and determined Desai as leader. Jayaben Desai inspired the actions that resulted in the largest support for fewer than 200 strikers in British labour movement history.

1992.791People’s History Museum is in possession of several items from during the time of the Grunwick Dispute. One particularly significant item is a poster that was hand printed for the Grunwick Strike Committee campaign. The poster is one of only two or three thousand made and features not only the faces of several of the strikers, but of Jayaben Desai as well.

Black Radicals Events

29 October 2015, Living History - No Bed of Roses @ People's History MuseumThurs 29 October
Living History performance: No Bed of Roses – From the Caribbean to Manchester
Meet Gabrielle and help with her life-changing decision to move from the Caribbean to Manchester in the 1950s.  To celebrate Black History Month.
Family Friendly activity, suitable for over 7s to adults
Booking required via Eventbrite
In order to keep our events programme affordable to everyone, please make a donation.  Suggested donation £3
1.15pm – 2.00pm

Black Radical Hero: Paul Robeson

For Black History Month this October our Black Radicals Season will celebrate the lives of some of our 100 Radical Heroes, the men and women who believed in ideas worth fighting for.  They dared to challenge convention and believed in the spirit of fairness, co-operation and people power.  They were pioneers who changed history and made life better for ordinary working people. This series of blog posts will highlight their achievements.  We also invite you to nominate your own Black Radical Hero to add to our list.  Tweet us @PHMMcr using the hashtag #blackradicalhero.

Amber Greenhall-Heffernan continues with singer, actor and activist Paul Robeson

All gods chillun Fundraising poster NMLH.2000.10Paul Robeson was an American singer and actor who was in the Civil Rights Movement. He was also a political activist and campaigned for various issues such as anti-fascism in Spain during the Civil War and Welsh miners’ rights in the 1920s.

He became an actor and singer after he was subject to racism in his professions as an athlete and then as a lawyer. He starred in many films and plays, including performances as Othello in London and later on Broadway. He also performed at the Unity Theatre in London in 1937 and in Manchester in 1949. Robeson used his fame as a way of raising awareness for a wide range of social justice issues and his belief in equality for all people.

He was against fascism in Spain, Nazism in Germany, and apartheid in South Africa. He advocated peace between USA and Russia, and said that on his visit to the Soviet Union in the 1930s he felt like he was treated “like a human being for the first time.” He joined the Welsh miners on their hunger marches in 1927 and 1928, and starred as a Welsh miner in the 1940 film Proud Valley.

Robeson’s frequent criticism of the treatment of black people in America led to him being blacklisted by the American government, and because of this he was denied a passport to travel abroad on the grounds that they also suspected he was a communist.

People’s History Museum has a poster for a fundraising matinee that Paul Robeson performed at on display in the main galleries. We also have magazines, theatre programmes and posters relating to Robeson’s career in our Collection.

Black Radicals Events

29 October 2015, Living History - No Bed of Roses @ People's History MuseumThurs 29 October
Living History performance: No Bed of Roses – From the Caribbean to Manchester
Meet Gabrielle and help with her life-changing decision to move from the Caribbean to Manchester in the 1950s.  To celebrate Black History Month.
Family Friendly activity, suitable for over 7s to adults
Booking required via Eventbrite
In order to keep our events programme affordable to everyone, please make a donation.  Suggested donation £3
1.15pm – 2.00pm

Black Radical Hero: William Cuffay

For Black History Month this October our Black Radicals Season will celebrate the lives of some of our 100 Radical Heroes, the men and women who believed in ideas worth fighting for.  They dared to challenge convention and believed in the spirit of fairness, co-operation and people power.  They were pioneers who changed history and made life better for ordinary working people. This series of blog posts will highlight their achievements.  We also invite you to nominate your own Black Radical Hero to add to our list.  Tweet us @PHMMcr using the hashtag #blackradicalhero.

Caitlin LaPorte continues with William Cuffay: chartist, tailor and freedom fighter!

Charter2William Cuffay, the son of a former slave, was an advocate for workers rights and known for his contributions to the chartist movement. Cuffay worked as a tailor in London until 1834 when he went on strike along with others to campaign for better pay and working conditions. The workers fought for an eight to ten hour work day and to be paid six shillings and five pence a day. After the strike ended Cuffay was blacklisted from working in the industry. Soon after, he helped to form the Metropolitan Tailors’ Charter Association and went on to be a national executive of the National Charter Association in 1842. While taking part in the Chartist Movement, Cuffay campaigned for political reform that included the right to vote for every man twenty-one years of age as well as no property qualifications for members of parliament.

After being betrayed by a government spy in 1848, Cuffay was arrested for planning arson in a conspiracy to hold an uprising against the government. He was exiled to Tasmania, where he would spend the rest of his life, despite being pardoned three years after his sentence. Cuffay spent his remaining years working as a tailor and staying involved in radical politics while working to improve trade union issues.

Since his death, William Cuffay has had his courtroom speech exhibited at the Museum of London, as well as being the subject of many radio programmes and documentaries. Cuffay’s legacy remains today to inspire and promote the rights of workers. People’s History Museum contains a collection of posters, photographs, and other memorabilia surrounding the various causes Cuffay supported, such as the Chartist Movement, and manhood suffrage.

Black Radicals Events

15 October 2015, Living History - Slavery & Suffrage @ People's History MuseumThurs 15 October
Living History performance: Slavery & Suffrage – William Cuffay’s Story
This Black History Month discover more about the life of Radical Hero William Cuffay.  This performance explores the horrors of the slave trade and how it fuelled the Industrial Revolution.  Meet William Cuffay, son of a freed slave, who became a Chartist leader and campaigned for the right to vote.
Family Friendly activity, suitable for over 9s to adults
Booking required via Eventbrite
In order to keep our events programme affordable to everyone, please make a donation.  Suggested donation £3
1.15pm – 2.00pm

15 October 2015, Radical Hero - An audience with Viv Anderson @ People's History MuseumThurs 15 October
Radical Hero – An audience with Viv Anderson
The Football Association invite you to celebrate Black History Month with Radical Hero Viv Anderson.  Viv Anderson was the first black footballer to play for England and features on our list of 100 Radical Heroes.
Suitable for adults and young people
Booking required via Eventbrite
In order to keep our events programme affordable to everyone, please make a donation.  Suggested donation £5
7.00pm – 9.00pm

29 October 2015, Living History - No Bed of Roses @ People's History MuseumThurs 29 October
Living History performance: No Bed of Roses – From the Caribbean to Manchester
Meet Gabrielle and help with her life-changing decision to move from the Caribbean to Manchester in the 1950s.  To celebrate Black History Month.
Family Friendly activity, suitable for over 7s to adults
Booking required via Eventbrite
In order to keep our events programme affordable to everyone, please make a donation.  Suggested donation £3
1.15pm – 2.00pm

Black Radical Hero: Princess Sophia Duleep Singh

For Black History Month this October our Black Radicals Season will celebrate the lives of some of our 100 Radical Heroes, the men and women who believed in ideas worth fighting for.  They dared to challenge convention and believed in the spirit of fairness, co-operation and people power.  They were pioneers who changed history and made life better for ordinary working people. This series of blog posts will highlight their achievements.  We also invite you to nominate your own Black Radical Hero to add to our list.  Tweet us @PHMMcr using the hashtag #blackradicalhero.

Amber Greenhall-Heffernan begins with a suffragette princess…

Princesphotograph - Princess Sophia Duleep Singh selling 'Suffragette' subscriptions, copyright Museum of Londons Sophia Duleep Singh was one of the leading suffragettes in the Women’s Social and Political Union and the Women’s Tax Resistance League. She was also elected the President of the Suffragette Fellowship after Emmeline Pankhurst’s death in 1928. Sophia was the daughter of Maharaja Duleep Singh who was deposed in India and sent to England when he was 15 years old. He became friends with Queen Victoria, who became Sophia’s godmother and granted her an apartment in Hampton Court.

As a member of the WSPU, Sophia campaigned for women’s suffrage. On the 18th November 1910, she led a march with Emmeline Pankhurst to Parliament, to protest against the rejection of the Conciliation Bill which would have extended the vote to wealthy property-owning women. It became known as ‘Black Friday’ after there were clashes between police and protesters, with many women being assaulted. Sophia Duleep Singh was mostly known for her work with the Women’s Tax Resistance League which demanded no taxation without representation. She believed that women should not have to pay taxes if they did not have the right to vote, as they had no say in what the taxes were spent on. She was fined and sent to court twice for not paying licence fees for dogs, servants and a carriage. Refusing to pay the fines or the court fees, she had some of her belongings seized by bailiffs; however these items were bought by suffragettes at auction and given back to her.

Whilst the WSPU’s activities were suspended in World War I, Sophia worked as a nurse for Indian soldiers and organised events to raise money for wounded soldiers. Her visits to India after the war created a surge in campaigning for women’s suffrage internationally.

People’s History Museum has lots of suffragette items on display, including the famous photograph of Princess Sophia Duleep Singh selling copies of The Suffragette outside her Hampton Court Palace home in 1913.

Black Radicals Events

15 October 2015, Living History - Slavery & Suffrage @ People's History MuseumThurs 15 October
Living History performance: Slavery & Suffrage – William Cuffay’s Story
This Black History Month discover more about the life of Radical Hero William Cuffay.  This performance explores the horrors of the slave trade and how it fuelled the Industrial Revolution.  Meet William Cuffay, son of a freed slave, who became a Chartist leader and campaigned for the right to vote.
Family Friendly activity, suitable for over 9s to adults
Booking required via Eventbrite
In order to keep our events programme affordable to everyone, please make a donation.  Suggested donation £3
1.15pm – 2.00pm

15 October 2015, Radical Hero - An audience with Viv Anderson @ People's History MuseumThurs 15 October
Radical Hero – An audience with Viv Anderson
The Football Association invite you to celebrate Black History Month with Radical Hero Viv Anderson.  Viv Anderson was the first black footballer to play for England and features on our list of 100 Radical Heroes.
Suitable for adults and young people
Booking required via Eventbrite
In order to keep our events programme affordable to everyone, please make a donation.  Suggested donation £5
7.00pm – 9.00pm

29 October 2015, Living History - No Bed of Roses @ People's History MuseumThurs 29 October
Living History performance: No Bed of Roses – From the Caribbean to Manchester
Meet Gabrielle and help with her life-changing decision to move from the Caribbean to Manchester in the 1950s.  To celebrate Black History Month.
Family Friendly activity, suitable for over 7s to adults
Booking required via Eventbrite
In order to keep our events programme affordable to everyone, please make a donation.  Suggested donation £3
1.15pm – 2.00pm