Black Cultural Archives

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Black Cultural Archives (BCA) was founded in 1981 to record and preserve the history of people of African descent in Britain.

We have a growing archive collection that documents the history of people of African and African-Caribbean descent in Britain. The collection includes rare documents, essays, photographs, oral history testimonies and objects dating from the second century to the present day. We are working to open UK's first Black Heritage Centre in Brixton, London.

To find out more about the BCA, to volunteer or visit the archive for research please email info@bcaheritage.org.uk or go to www.bcaheritage.org.uk



twitter.com/bcaheritage:

    As part of our oral histories on the Black Women’s Movement we captured Donna Pieters discussing the inspirational Maya Angelou (1928-2014)

    (Source: audioboo.fm)

    — 2 months ago
    The Value of Brixton

    On 30th May the Academy of Urbanism visited Brixton as part of their graduate programme Value of Place. Hannah (Assistant Archivist) and Hyacinth (volunteer) joined them at the Ritzy on a walking tour focusing on the concept of intensity and how different buildings sharing the same space affect the community. 

    The first stop was Windrush Square where Lambeth Council Regeneration Manager Neil Vokes explained how the Square came about. The walk moved on to our new heritage centre where Hannah talked about the history of the organisation and the new building. 

    The walk visited a number of important sites to our organisation and the local community, including 378 Coldharbour Lane, the site of our very first building and Somerleyton Road, which was the focus of a long campaign to create a home for us.

    Somerleyton Road is now part of the Future Brixton project and is the home to a community project Meanwhile at Number 6 and a brand new street gym operated by Block Gym.

    Check out our flickr account for some images of our sunny day out in Brixton.

    — 3 months ago with 1 note
    #brixon  #urbanism  #black britain  #black british  #archives  #Windrush Square 
    CLR James Donation

    Cyril Lionel Robert James, best known as C.L.R. James, was a Trinidadian historian, journalist, socialist theorist and essayist.

    It’s been over twenty years since he passed in May 1989, yet James continues to be one of this country’s most remarkable figures. James was an early advocate of Pan-Africanism as well as being a leading figure in the Trotsky movement.  One of his most seminal publications in 1938 was The Black Jacobins: Toussaint L’Ouverture and the San Domingo Revolution, which was a widely acclaimed history of the Haitian Revolution and later turned into a play starring Paul Robeson. His research, writing and activism continued throughout the rest of his life.  James came to Britain in 1932, spending time in Nelson Lancashire with the cricketer Learie Constantine, before moving to London. Whilst in England, James continued to write and to agitate for the end of Colonial rule in the Caribbean supplementing his income by writing on cricket for the Manchester Guardian. In 1938 he moved to America, to be deported in 1953 due to growing anti-Communist feeling, also known as the McCarthy era.

    His writing and activism continued not only in England, but also Ghana and Trinidad., In 1963 he published one of his best known works Beyond a Boundary, part autobiography, and part social history of cricket.   In 1968 he was invited back to America, where he taught at the University of the District of Columbia.

    James eventually returned to Britain in 1981 to spend his remaining years in Brixton.  James’ legacy continued through the foundation of The C.L.R. James Institute in New York in 1983, as well a public library in Dalston being named after him in 1985.

    BCA has been gifted a new donation this month, that provides a unique insight into the last few months of C.L.R. James’ life.  The donor, Tony Vaughan, was a student in his third year on a Cultural studies degree at North East London Polytechnic.  He was fortunate enough to interview him only a few months before he passed away.

    This exceptional donation includes scans of images and documents from an album compiled by the donor, a number of original photographs, a copy of his project report, as well as scans of the transcriptions.  The most exclusive item is a copy of the original cassette recording from Mr Vaughan visits with C.L.R. James in early 1989. He discusses all manner of subjects including culture, Marxism, politics, religion and cricket.

    The materials will be accessible as part of the Black Cultural Archives’ collection. Our new heritage centre located in Brixton will open in June this year. For future updates join our mailing list: www.bcaheritage.org.uk/newsletteror follow us @bcaheritage.

    image

    Image reproduced by kind permission of Anthony Vaughan.

    — 4 months ago with 3 notes
    #black britain  #archives  #black cultural archives  #clr james 
    "I’m here to stay!" BCA’s First Youth Forum post

    On 29 November I had the opportunity to join the Black Cultural Archives’ Youth Forum and meet all the lovely members and coordinators for the first time, as well as guest speaker Symeon Brown, who was a senior researcher for the Guardian’s Reading the Riots study (inspiring!). As a newcomer to the group this was my first session but second for the majority of the other members, so I was a little hesitant at first, but as I got into the groove of things I felt right at home.


    There were many important points, which were covered during the course of the session but what inspired me the most was the ‘Digital Storytelling’ workshop delivered by Symeon Brown. He began his workshop with a warm up game, at which he shouted out two words and we shouted back the one we preferred i.e. Twitter or Instagram (Twitter!!). A great warm up as I became quite talkative after the game.


    The game led onto a discussion on individuality and which aspect/s of our life would best define our USP (unique selling point). I related to this topic very well as I am in the process of setting up a website based around all my skills acquired whilst at university, various internships and my general hobbies and interests.


    This session inspired me to become a bit more serious in my approach towards my journalism and building my website. It showed me that being ‘offline’ is just as important as being ‘online’ and the importance of being present in the moment is vital for an interesting story. It also helped me to pay more attention to the focal point of my website, as it is quite easy to become overwhelmed with subject ideas.


    Overall, it was a fantastic informative evening with lots of talking (my fave!). I’m honoured to be part of the Black Cultural Archives’ Youth Forum, and look forward to all the great things they have in store for young people and the community.


    Dannie Writes

    — 6 months ago
    We mourn the passing of an African leader, Madiba Mandela.
We celebrate the life of an incredible individual whose dedication to freedom moved nations to change.
May he rest in peace.
http://www.bcaheritage.org.uk/nelson-mandela/

    We mourn the passing of an African leader, Madiba Mandela.

    We celebrate the life of an incredible individual whose dedication to freedom moved nations to change.

    May he rest in peace.

    http://www.bcaheritage.org.uk/nelson-mandela/

    — 7 months ago
    #nelson mandela  #Brixton  #black  #cultural  #archives 
    "long-lost boyfriends should stay lost…"
When looking for advice the ‘Dear Maisie’ page of Flamingo magazine is always a good place to go. 
—
Flamingo was launched in 1961 from its offices in Charlton St, London NW1. Its first issue noted the 350,000 West Indians then living in Britain and stated that “up till now these Negro citizens of Britain have been denied a Voice.”
Edited by Edward Scobie, contributors included George Lamming, Jan Carew, founder of the BCA Len Garrison and Sydney Poitier. Flamingo closed in 1963.
BCA’s collection includes over 200 periodical titles published by Black communities in Britain, over half are unique to the BCA and can not be found in any other collection in the UK.
References: Hoyles, Asher and Hoyles, Martin (2011) Caribbean Publishing in Britain: A Tribute to Arif Ali. Hansib Publications
Benjamin, Ionie (1995). The Black Press in Britain. Trenthan Books

    "long-lost boyfriends should stay lost…"

    When looking for advice the ‘Dear Maisie’ page of Flamingo magazine is always a good place to go. 

    Flamingo was launched in 1961 from its offices in Charlton St, London NW1. Its first issue noted the 350,000 West Indians then living in Britain and stated that “up till now these Negro citizens of Britain have been denied a Voice.”

    Edited by Edward Scobie, contributors included George Lamming, Jan Carew, founder of the BCA Len Garrison and Sydney Poitier. Flamingo closed in 1963.

    BCA’s collection includes over 200 periodical titles published by Black communities in Britain, over half are unique to the BCA and can not be found in any other collection in the UK.

    References: 
    Hoyles, Asher and Hoyles, Martin (2011) Caribbean Publishing in Britain: A Tribute to Arif Ali. Hansib Publications

    Benjamin, Ionie (1995). The Black Press in Britain. Trenthan Books

    — 8 months ago with 2 notes
    #Flamingo magazine  #1960s  #Black Britain  #Black Cultural Archives  #Archives  #periodicals  #Dear Maisie 
    Today we had a visit from the RasTafari - The Majesty & The Movement UK committee.
The photo above of committee members, with Paul Reid Director of Black Cultural Archives (second from left), was taken in the archive store at Black Cultural Archives.
They are looking to link up with individuals or groups who have valuable information or experience to contribute to the capturing of the story of Ras Tafari  in the UK, contact rascostafari@aol.co.uk for more information.

    Today we had a visit from the RasTafari - The Majesty & The Movement UK committee.

    The photo above of committee members, with Paul Reid Director of Black Cultural Archives (second from left), was taken in the archive store at Black Cultural Archives.

    They are looking to link up with individuals or groups who have valuable information or experience to contribute to the capturing of the story of Ras Tafari  in the UK, contact rascostafari@aol.co.uk for more information.

    — 1 year ago with 3 notes
    #archives  #black cultural archives  #history  #rastafari  #black britain  #black british  #african britain  #african british  #rasta