It’s a Wonderful Life!

Image of Ann Adeyemi with father Christmas

Here’s a lovely festive photo from our Ann Adeyemi archive collection. It was taken in Lewis’s in Manchester in the late 1950s. It feels like Lewis’s has been gone a long time, but it only closed in 2001, before Primark opened in the building. Wikipedia tells me that Lewis’s in Liverpool was the first department store to open a Christmas grotto, back in 1879, and many Manchester and Liverpool residents remember their annual December trip to see Father Christmas there.

There’s something not thoroughly convincing about the Father Christmas in this photo – he’s a bit slim and looks like he might have borrowed that outfit from someone a size or two bigger than him. Ann has a bit of a knowing look, I think perhaps she wasn’t convinced either.

Ann Adeyemi is living proof that Black people lived in Manchester well before the 1950s. Her grandmother was White Irish and came to Manchester at the start of the 20th Century, her grandfather was Black Liberian. Ann’s mixed race mother Mary was born in Salford in 1920 and grew up in Manchester. She married James, a Black merchant seaman from West Africa. Ann was born in Cheetham Hill in 1951 and grew up in Middleton. Ann herself has had a fascinating life, involved in education, anti-racism work and theatre. Here at the Centre we have an extensive collection of photos and memorabilia that Ann has donated, as well as oral history interviews that document her wonderful life.

Seasons greetings from us all at AIU Race Relations Resource Centre – see you in 2014!

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Through My Eyes: Children writing about Nelson Mandela

We can smile when you are free. Happy Birthday Mr Mandela – Aklisur

It won’t surprise you to hear we have a lot of material about Nelson Mandela in the library. The influence of this one man has been so far reaching it’s difficult to comprehend, and in these weeks after his death the whole world is reflecting on his impact. Of course, his influence is felt no less strongly at the local level – here in Manchester and in our schools.

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Black Ivory, Black Settlers and the Phantom Book Rescuer

Image of a pair of glasses on a book

The Roving Reader Files

Books are like stray animals  –  they’re looking for a good home…

The shelves of the Centre bear evidence that someone out there agrees with me. The other day I came across two books, inscribed by the hand of a kind-hearted individual who, it seems, scoured public library book sales for any waifs or strays needing tender loving care and rehabilitation.

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Reblog: The Ahmed Iqbal Ullah Race Relations Centre

Just been reminded of this great post about the Centre, based on an interview with our founder Lou Kushnick. It was written in 2011 by Arwa Aburawa for the always-interesting Manchester’s Radical History blog.

Read about our humble beginnings and the Lou’s vision!:

Manchester’s Radical History blog: The Ahmed Iqbal Ullah Race Relations Centre