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Last updated:07 May 2015

Black and Asian history

Resources on Black and Asian history in the Working Class Movement Library

Rock Against Racism T-ShirtThe library holds a number of useful resources for those interested in the history of Black and Asian communities in Britain, particularly in connection with radical and working class organisations. These include books, pamphlets, films, posters, leaflets, banners and other artefacts.


The following articles indicate the resources available.

Protests, politics and campaigning for change

Black and Asian struggles, 1960s-1980s - A short summary of political struggles by the Black and Asian communities from the 1960s to the 1980s.

Race Today - was a magazine published 1969-1988, whose content included black community struggles and political activity and extensive cultural coverage including music, film, drama and poetry

Creativity and Culture - Music

Paul Robeson (1898-1976) - was a major world figure in the first half of the 20th Century as an actor, singer, performer and political and cultural activist.


William Cuffay (1788-1870) - was a tailor and active Chartist in London, who became a prominent national figure in the movement. His father was black and he was sometimes attacked because of his race. He was tried in 1848 for treason and felony due to his activities in the Chartist Movement and transported to Tasmania where he died in 1870.

William Davidson (1780s-1820) - was born in Jamaica of mixed parentage. He was one of a number of men arrested for an alleged plot (the Cato Street Conspiracy) led by Arthur Thistlewood to assassinate the Cabinet and was beheaded on 1 May 1820.

CLR James (1901-1989) - was a journalist, writer, political theoretician and active Trotskyist, whose writing on cricket, history and politics continue to be influential.

Len Johnson (1902-1974) - was from Manchester and was a successful boxer in the 1920s, but was denied titles because he was black. Len later became an active member of the Communist Party of Great Britain


Pan African Congress, Manchester 1945 - The 5th Pan African Congress took place in Chortlton-upon-Medlock Town Hall, Manchester in October 1945. It was attended by figures such as Kwame Nkrumah and Jomo Kenyatta and established the basis for subsequent anti-colonial struggles in the British Empire, leading to independence for countries such as Uganda and Kenya.


Related Objects of the Month

October 2012: William Lloyd Garrison - the liberator

Black History Month logoThis biography of William Garrison, the American anti-slavery campaigner, is by William Axon, a leading figure in the cultural life of late Victorian and Edwardian Manchester. Axon was self-educated, working first as a librarian in Manchester Free Libraries and then as a prolific writer and journalist.

February 2010: Release of Nelson Mandela

Nelson MandelaFebruary's object is a photograph of Nelson Mandela to celebrate the 20th anniversary of his release from prison