I imagine if you came across the Asian Youth Movements in Manchester, Bradford and other towns and cities during the 1970s and 80s they would have made quite an impression on you. I knew very little about this fascinating bit of recent history until earlier this month when we welcomed author Anandi Ramamurthy to launch her new book Black Star: Britain’s Asian Youth Movements.
In a nutshell, during the 70s and 80s young Asians joined together to protest against the racism and inequality they experienced in their communities and from the government. These grassroots organisations held rallies and marches, protested against deportations and produced leaflets, newspapers and posters to spread their message.
So here we are. It’s Black History Month. It’s 50 years since the ‘I Have a Dream’ speech. It’s 50 years (give or take a few) since many African countries gained independence. So why, I hear you ask, talk about a dead white guy?
Well, Basil Davidson is no ordinary dead white guy (if any dead white guy is ordinary). Writer, activist, spy, guerrilla fighter, academic, great explorer, media star – you name it, he did it. Without him would there have been any Black History Month as we know it today? Now there’s a question.
She can be found here every week, settled in some quiet corner of the library brandishing a notepad and a quizzical look, or roaming around the shelves, picking up books seemingly at random, letting out sudden exclamations or shaking her head sagely… we never quite know what she’s up to, but she’s agreed to report back on her findings as our very own reader in residence.
Look out for her guest posts, in which she’ll reveal hidden stories, make unusual connections and share her insights into using the collection for research.