Revisiting Gladys and the Native American Long Long Trail of Tears…

Image of a pair of glasses on a book

The Roving Reader Files

 

Do you remember Gladys Tantaquidgeon? It’s certainly a name to conjure with…

This time I’m taking you on a journey back to when I shared my reflections on this amazing woman’s unique experience over a lifetime spanning the whole of the twentieth century (the blog post is reproduced below). As a Native American ‘Medicine Woman’ from the Mohegan Tribe she preserved the wisdom of her people, celebrating an approach to life which had all but vanished due to long centuries of persecution. As a university-educated academic and anthropologist, she specialised in collecting the lore of other tribes and interpreting it for a sceptical ‘scientific’ audience.

When I wrote about Gladys back in 2016, I tried to capture in words the dignity she and her people had shown in extreme adversity. Now I’d like to share with you a video I came across recently celebrating her 100th birthday in 1999, so we can all get to know this gentle but strong woman, who straddled two worlds it may have seemed impossible to reconcile.

 

Gladys died in November 2005 aged 106, having lived to see the rights of the Mohegan people to their ancestral lands recognised at last in US Federal law.

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Marika Sherwood, Kwame Nkrumah and the Pan-African Congress Archive

By Hattie

Upon the launch of her latest book, Kwame Nkrumah and the Dawn of the Cold War, Marika Sherwood spoke yesterday on the topics of colonialism, communism and the importance of researching black history and activism at an event hosted by the AIU Centre. The talk was followed by an engaging Q&A and insightful discussion with members of the audience who shared Marika’s passion for research and black history.

Marika Sherwood speaking to a seated crowd of 15 people in Central Library

Marika Sherwood speaking at Central Library 30/4/19

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Book Review – Growing new lives with inner city gardens: My Name is Leon

A review from our book reviewer Jo, this time from her own blog Floralia (which is well worth following!).

My Name Is Leon is a beautifully written story of mixed race fostering and adoption, set in 1981; a year of heightened tension between Britain’s black communities and the police, that led to uprisings in Toxteth, Handsworth and a number of other cities, including Manchester’s Moss Side. Fascinating to read this moment in history through young Leon’s eyes.

This book isn’t in our collection, but is available at most of the Manchester Libraries sites.

Floralia

My Name is Leon by Kit de Waal, Penguin Books: 2017 (first published by Viking: 2016)

Sometimes all that ten-year-old Leon possesses is his name.

So, much of his time is spent accumulating or enumerating the items that actually belong to him. But this is no mercenary acquisitiveness. He needs things with which to build a new life together with his baby brother, Jake, who is adopted into a new family – without Leon.

As the momentum of the novel picks up, with its gritty realist detail and layering of overlapping worlds, these items range from the toys he receives as Christmas presents, mainly from social workers (Dukes of Hazzard Racing Set, Meccano set, Action Man Cherilea Amphibious Jeep with trailer) to household provisions that he gathers together himself – baby food, tins, a bag of sugar, a blanket.

The novel charts a year in Leon’s life in which he…

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The Mecca, the Dreamers and the Double-bind: A Book Review

By Jo Manby

Between the World and Me, by Ta-Nehisi Coates (The Text Publishing Company, Australia: 2015)

This is a timeless book that will not age, like the works of James Baldwin, Maya Angelou or Toni Morrison. ‘This is required reading,’ Morrison herself has said, in a quote that foots the cover of Ta-Nehisi Coates’ bestseller, Between the World and Me.

Between the World and Me is written in the form of a letter addressed to Coates’ teenage son, a veritable prayer that is drenched in love and born out of struggle. It should make America sit up and take notice.

Front cover of the book titled Between the World and Me by ta-Nehisi Coates

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“All children should see themselves represented in the books they read”

And so the day finally arrived – on 3rd August our Director and long-standing Education Co-ordinator Jackie Ould logged off for the last time and headed into retirement.

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Jackie has been involved in our organisation since its inception. She originally met our founder Lou Kushnick when she was one of his American Studies students here at the University of Manchester.

In 1998 Lou was establishing the Resource Centre – an open access library of books about race and race relations, amassed during his academic and activist career. He asked Jackie, who by this point was a Black achievement and EAL (English as additional language) teacher for Manchester City Council, if she could help. She was, in her own words  ‘pretty sceptical really about how it was going to succeed’, but agreed to be involved and immediately started to think about the educational potential of the library:

I wanted to know how all of these academic books were at all relevant to that strand of my other life, if you like – and how we could make them relevant and applicable and useable in schools

She started to look at developing the collection for teaching purposes, but quickly realised the task would be bigger than that:

…we could buy books about Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks and any number of other African American heroes. But it was extremely hard to find any about Black British heroes, other than the occasional one like Mary Seacole. Very hard indeed to get those. So I wanted to know how does this connect with that other part of my life which is the teaching role? And how do we use this as an opportunity to start generating those materials… First of all buy them in if they exist, but if it doesn’t exist then logically, start making them.

This was the start of our outreach programme, which has always been much more than a just an outreach programme and is based on co-creating educational materials on BAME histories and experiences with the communities those histories and experiences come from.

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Lithuanian migrant experiences – Book review

By Jo Manby

Cheetham to Cordova: Maurice Levine – A Manchester Man of the Thirties, by Maurice Levine. Neil Richardson, Manchester: 1984

Whilst reading Shadows on the Tundra, a new release by Peirene Press of the testimony of a Siberian gulag survivor, I was reminded of a slim, privately published volume that I first read some years ago while working on book abstracts at the AIU Centre.

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Shadows on the Tundra, the story of the Lithuanian Dalia Grinkevičiūtė’s horrifying experiences, is an incredibly important piece of international survival literature, belonging in the hallowed company of Anne Frank’s diaries, the works of Primo Levi and of Alexander Solzhenitsyn. Cheetham to Cordova: A Manchester Man of the Thirties on the other hand provides the opportunity of a glimpse into the Lithuanian migrant experience here in the UK, as told autobiographically by Maurice Levine.

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Behind the footage: a survey of a career in TV – Book review

By Jo Manby

Reggie Yates: Unseen – My Journey, by Reggie Yates. BBC Books and Penguin Random House, London: 2017

In this book, Reggie Yates provides those who have watched his BBC documentaries (‘Extreme Russia’, ‘Extreme South Africa’, among many others) with a behind-the-scenes look at their making, plus an understanding of his own career development.

If you haven’t seen his documentaries then this book gives a flavour of his presenting style on-screen, as he dissects the films in detail; but with the additional insights of a written narrative. The major landmarks, and all the highways and byways in between. His documentaries explore, broadly speaking, youth-centred issues – such as being young and gay in Russia, aspiring to supermodel status in Siberia, body modification in the UK.

Yates’ first official job as a working actor age nine was ‘a tiny role on Channel 4’s longest-running sitcom at the time’, Desmond’s. A black family with a successful barbershop in Peckham, South East London. Some years later he comes across Louis Theroux documentaries and immediately knows that ‘this was a lane I would kill to operate in.’

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Without Windrush: British children’s literature and Windrush children

This week, as we continue to hear about British Caribbeans facing deportation, theracetoread blog highlights children’s authors who came from the Caribbean, showing how much richer British children’s literature is with the contributions of the Windrush generation.

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Although I have been following the story for a couple of weeks now, the news finally caught up with the BBC (http://www.bbc.com/news/av/uk-43746746/windrush-migrants-facing-deportation-threat) and other news organizations that some Windrush-generation British Caribbean people were being faced with deportation thanks to stricter immigration rules.  These rules require Britons to prove their status as citizens in order to be able to work, use the NHS, and access other services.  However, even though people arriving legally from the Caribbean to fill labour shortages after 1948 and before 1973 were given permanent right to reside, the Home Office kept no records, and the burden of proof is therefore on the migrant.  Many of these migrants came as children, on their parents’ passports, however, and therefore find it difficult to produce the needed proof.  Although the deportations are under review as of this writing, and Theresa May has apologized to Caribbean nations for any…

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Dream big, aim high, fight hard: a call out to all rebel girls

This week we’re reblogging a review of Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls: 100 Tales of Extraordinary Women, from Jo’s new Floralia blog (well worth following!).

And if you like this book Jo also recommends:

Narrative of Sojourner Truth, Sojourner Truth, New York: Dover Publications, Inc., 1997
Blues legacies and black feminism: Gertrude “Ma” Rainey, Bessie Smith, and Billie Holiday by Angela Y. Davis, New York: Vintage Books, 1999
Michelle Obama by Robin S. Doak, London: Raintree, 2015
Malala Yousafzai by Claire Throp, London: Raintree, 2016

 

Floralia

Book: Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls: 100 Tales of Extraordinary Women, by Elena Favilli & Francesca Cavallo. First published in Great Britain by Particular Books, an imprint of Penguin Books: 2017

Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls: 100 Tales of Extraordinary Women is a book that brings together stories of women’s lives spanning human history and traversing the globe.

It’s where someone like Astrid Lindgren, Swedish writer born in 1907 and author of Pippi Longstocking (a much-loved children’s story about an archetypal rebel girl) can occupy the pages that follow Ashley Fiolek, the 27 year old American Motocross racer who does not let the fact that she was born hearing-impaired hold her back.

Where an archaeologist, Maria Reiche, born 1903, who left Germany to study the ancient Nazca lines of Peru, rolls up alongside Maria Montessori, physician and educator, who at the turn of the 20th century developed a new…

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Sister Rosetta at Chorltonville

By Hannah

Did you know Sister Rosetta Tharpe, the ‘godmother of rock’n’roll’ performed at Chorlton railway station in 1964? She was one of a number of legendary blues musicians who played as part of the ‘Gospel and Blues Train’ – a one-off performance contrived by Granada Television, which included turning the station (which was roughly on the site of what is now Chorlton Metrolink stop) into a scene from the wild west, with crates, chickens, wanted posters, and a large sign temporarily renaming the station ‘Chorltonville’.

It’s a piece of history that was at risk of being forgotten, until the footage recently appeared on YouTube, including this film of Sister Rosetta Tharpe’s performance (in the rain, just in case she was in doubt she was in the North of England…).

You can now read about this story in a beautiful new book we have produced and published in partnership with Chorlton High School.

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Hip-Hop in the Library

Hattie Charnley-Shaw has been working with us on the Hip Hop Collection project. Here she explains a bit about the project, about Hip Hop Studies and Hip Hop Education, and reflects on her work to date.

There’s no denying that Hip Hop is one of the most popular music genres in the world. Nor is there any denying that it has become a worldwide phenomenon in the realms of culture, fashion, and the visual arts too. Its existence in the world of education however, is far less widespread or acknowledged.

image shows a 7 books about hip hop in a pile. the books have library labels on their spines

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To Be Young Adult, Gifted and Black: BAME YA Literature Milestones, Part Two

Another interesting piece from theracetoread blog. This BAME young adult literature timeline highlights some of the key national race related events of the 1980s and 90s, including the founding of our Education Trust!

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This week’s blog continues the history of Black and BAME British YA literature.  1981, the year that starts the second half of the timeline, is significant for YA literature.  The end of what scholar Anthony DiGesare calls “the long 1970s”, a period when race was the focus for both Black and white Britons from Enoch Powell to future Guardian prize-winner Alex Wheatle, 1981 saw the Brixton Riots bring institutional racism into the spotlight for the first—but by no means the last—time.

brixton010308_468x317_1 YA novelist Alex Wheatle was among the people who experienced the Brixton Riot of 1981.

1981: The Brixton riots erupt as a response to the perceived racist attitudes of police against the Black British community.  West Indian Children in our Schools, a government report authored by Anthony Rampton, calls for mainstream literature to better represent the increasingly diverse cultures of Britain.  The Rampton report was written in response…

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Discovering disparages: Using the Resource Centre to uncover BME experiences in the criminal justice system

The final post in our Race and Crime series comes from Shu Chee: A guideline for students researching disparages in sentencing, and how the Race Relations Resource Centre’s Criminal Justice collection can help.

Your task: Write an essay on the racial disparities in trial and sentencing.

So it’s assessment time again; you have organised your lecture notes, exploited Google Scholar and the Westlaw database, gone through dozens of journal articles…and yet you just can’t seem to begin writing. Why are all my readings all over the place? Do I have sufficient evidence supporting claims of ‘lighter skin, lighter sentence’? Are my sources reliable and relevant? Continue reading

The O.J. Simpson case: The racial divide underlying the ‘trial of the century’

For the first post in our Race and Crime series, Shu Chee provides a short commentary and personal afterthought on Walter L. Hixson’s Black and White: The O. J. Simpson Case (1995) found in Annette Gordon-Reed’s ‘Race on Trial’.

In Harper’s well-acclaimed To Kill A Mockingbird, Tom was treated as a second-class citizen and received an unfair trial after being accused of raping a white woman. Despite significant evidence proving his innocence, he was convicted, based largely on his skin colour. Although it is an overstatement to say that Tom is the fictional equivalent of the average, working-class African American defendant, it is undeniable that some institutionalised racism and disparities in sentencing do exist in real life.

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From Manchester to Belarus

Julie met Frank Pleszak at Polish Heritage Day back in May, and was fascinated to hear about the hidden histories he has uncovered, whilst researching his father’s experiences as a Polish refugee in the Second World War. Here he talks about his family, his research and his ongoing relationship with his father’s land.

I was born in Manchester and have lived and worked here all my life. I’m proud to be a Mancunian. I love it when people ask me where I’m from and I can say Manchester.

But my surname clearly isn’t local. My mum was from Salford but my dad, who died in 1994, was Polish. He never spoke much about his early life, I know he’d fought in Italy at the famous battle of Monte Cassino but it wasn’t until after his death that I began to think about why he was here in Manchester, why he’d been in Italy, and why he hadn’t gone back home to Poland after the war. I had no idea of the monumental series of events, together with World War Two, that had created me a Mancunian.

At the house my dad lived in until his arrest in 1939

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The FBI’s most wanted woman, a former Black Panther who survived it all – Book review

Have you caught the dramatisation of Assata Shakur’s autobiography on Radio 4 this week? In a coincidence of timing the book has also made it to the top of Jo Manby’s review pile!

Assata: An Autobiography by Assata Shakur. First published in the UK by Zed Books Ltd, London (1988). This edition Lawrence Hill Books (an imprint of Chicago Review Press, Incorporated): Chicago, Illinois, 2014

Assata Shakur is the FBI’s most wanted woman. Since 1979 has lived in Cuba as a fugitive after being granted asylum there following her escape from prison. She is also a founding member of the Black Liberation Army and godmother of Tupac Shakur. This autobiography tells the story of the circumstances that brought her to her present day situation.

the picture shows a book on a table. The book cover has a young black woman's face in profile, with a red target on her face. The title is Assata: An Autobiography Continue reading

Pages to light the dark paths to freedom of ‘a thousand Maria’s’ – Book review

Jo Manby

A Different Kind of Daughter – The Girl who Hid from the Taliban in Plain Sight
by Maria Toorpakai with Katharine Holstein. First published in the UK by Bluebird (2016). This edition Bluebird (an imprint of Pan Macmillan): London, 2017

Maria Toorpakai is Pakistan’s number one female squash player, and is a professional player now living in Canada. This autobiography follows her journey.

image show the book cover, showing a girl holding a scraf blowing in the wind, silhouetted against a sunsetIn her prologue, Maria says ‘I needed to be outside, under the open sky and running free.’ However, born and brought up in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), specifically Waziristan, in Pakistan, this kind of behaviour was forbidden by tribal law. Even more punitive and suffocating were the edicts of the Taliban, which began to invade people’s lives in this conflicted area and beyond during Maria’s childhood and teens.

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Voices of Kosovo in Manchester… and in Kosovo

The welcome was magnificent, unexplainable. Not just our first steps off the plane at Manchester Airport, but also the processing of all the refugees. And yes, it’s true, the English removed the rags of oppression and truly brought smiles for the first time to our kids’ faces – our kids, who had seen nothing but violence, burnings and killing.

Bedri Hyseni, Voices of Kosovo in Manchester archive

Oral histories are a significant feature of our collection. We currently have in the region of 400 interviews covering a range of experiences, from the life stories of Windrush immigrants to recollections of the 1945 Pan-African Congress.

image shows a bunch of yellow flowers, a large blue book with 'voices of kosovo in manchester on the cover and a photograph of a woman, displayed on a table

Image courtesy Manchester Aid to Kosovo

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Celebrating Polish Heritage Day

We celebrated Polish Heritage Day on Saturday. Julie Devonald (our Project Manager) reflects on the experience.

I was delighted to support Eva Szegidewicz and the Kresy Family Polish WWII History Group, hosting celebrations for the UK’s first ever Polish Heritage Day here at Manchester Central Library. This annual celebration has been established by the Polish ambassador to the UK, as a way for the 980,000 Poles living the Britain to celebrate and share their rich heritage with the rest of the country. Continue reading

‘Humpty Dumpty’, Ahmed Kathrada, and the death of a conscience…

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The Roving Reader Files

 

It may not have felt like it at the time, but on 28th March this year we all lost something special. No, I don’t mean our wallets or our smart phones. What we lost was something even more important – a bit of global conscience. What do I mean? It was the day South African veteran of the anti-apartheid struggle Ahmed Kathrada died, aged 86.

Ahmed Kathrada may not be a name you’re very familiar with. Yet even as a youth this man had stood shoulder to shoulder with Nelson Mandela and other great anti-apartheid leaders right from the beginning of the campaign against the consolidating apartheid state in the 1940s. He was also with Mandela throughout his long incarceration.

Ahmed Kathrada

Ahmed Kathrada in 2016. Source: Wikimedia Commons

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10 steps to binding a book: A lesson in conservation

By Daniella Carrington

As part of my placement, I got a half day to learn about preservation techniques, by getting hands on experience in book binding. Leading the lesson was Nic Rayner, Conservation Officer at Archives+ – the archive partnership the Ahmed Iqbal Ullah Race Relations Resource Centre is a part of. Nic assists the Centre by assessing the condition of new archival material acquired, and in general advises on preservation.

Getting into the book binding process. Photo taken by Hannah Landsman.

Getting into the book binding process. Photo taken by Hannah Landsman.

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From Symarons, Maroons and Iberian Africans to the African Ink Road – Book Review

This review is adapted from an original piece published in the Centre’s journal Ethnicity and Race in a Changing World.

Book review: Blackamoores: Africans in Tudor England, their Presence, Status and Origins, Onyeka (Narrative Eye and the Circle with a Dot, 2013)

Review by Jo Manby

In Blackamoores Onyeka presents the results of exhaustive research, which challenges accepted British history and allows Black, or African, people living in Tudor times to take their place in our country’s historic social fabric.

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Book Review: Jimi Hendrix – Soundscapes

Book review: Jimi Hendrix – Soundscapes by Marie-Paule Macdonald (Reaktion Books Ltd: London, 2016)

Review by Jo Manby

Marie-Paule Macdonald’s electrifying study of Jimi Hendrix charts the experiential and musical trajectory through his tragically short life. It also seeks to pin down which elements contributed to his innovative power as the pre-eminent pioneer of electric guitar playing.

The image shows a book cover, jimi hendrix on stage playing the guitar Continue reading

Book Review: Streetsmart Schoolsmart

This review is adapted from an original piece published in the Centre’s journal Ethnicity and Race in a Changing World.

Book review: Streetsmart Schoolsmart: Urban Poverty and the Education of Adolescent Boys by Gilberto Q. Conchas & James Diego Vigil (Teachers College Press, Columbia University: New York and London 2012)

Review by Jo Manby

This is one of the books you find on the shelves of AIU Centre that starts out as an academic study but offers up so much more in the reading of it – a real insight into the potential for social change within the American education system and into the real life issues that affect young people there.

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Archival Invisibility and the Black British Soldiers of WWI

We’re extremely excited that author Ray Costello will be joining us to talk about his historical research into Liverpool, Black soldiers and Black sailors later this month as part of our Black History Month programme (tickets still available if you’d like to join us, free but please do book via Eventbrite so we know you’re coming: ray-costello.eventbrite.co.uk). Jo has been taking a look at his most recent book Black Tommies.

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Pictorial Pan-Africanism and Apartheid

Image of a pair of glasses on a book

The Roving Reader Files

 

Many of us may not be aware of some basic facts and trends in history. Who can know it all? Certainly not me. But all is not lost. From time to time I come across fascinating books in the Centre that really help me out.

Take ‘Pan-Africanism’ and ‘apartheid’. These words are bounced around everywhere like tennis balls at Wimbledon. But do most of us really understand the concepts and worldviews they represent? Poring over a couple of illustrated beginners’ guides, I began to get a clearer idea. And do you know what? The illustrations made it a whole lot easier.

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Book Review: Moving in the Shadows

This review is adapted from an original piece published in the Centre’s journal Ethnicity and Race in a Changing World.

Book review: Moving in the Shadows: Violence in the Lives of Minority Women and Children, edited by Yasmin Rehman, Liz Kelly and Hannana Siddiqui (Ashgate: Farnham, Surrey & Burlington, Vermont 2013)

Review by Jo Manby

Yasmin Rehman, a doctoral candidate at the School of Oriental and African Studies specialising in polygyny and English law; Liz Kelly, Professor of Sexualised Violence at London Metropolitan University and Director of the Child and Woman Abuse Studies Unit (CWASU), and Hannana Siddiqui, who has worked at Southall Black Sisters for 25 years, bring together here contributions from a range of academics, activists and practitioners, examining for the first time in one volume violence against women and children within UK minority communities.

The book is divided into three parts:

  • Perspectives
  • Forms and Contexts of Violence
  • Interventions and Responses

It seeks to ‘explore both commonalities and differences in the lives of minority women – in the forms of violence they experience, their meanings and consequences’ (p.9). Continue reading

Fanteland and the Coastal Coalition

To mark International Slavery Day (23rd August), Jo Manby reviews:

The Fante and the Transatlantic Slave Trade, by Rebecca Shumway (University of Rochester Press: Rochester, NY & Woodbridge, Suffolk 2011) (Reprinted 2014)

The Fante and the Transatlantic Slave Trade diverges from previous accounts of the relationship between Fante political history and the Atlantic slave trade, which have tended to focus on and to amalgamate Akan ancestry; the period of the gold trade (fifteenth to seventeenth century); or the era of British colonial rule, within the context of Ghana’s Gold Coast.

Instead, the focus here is on the development of ‘Fanteland’, a location of specific language and culture, the eighteenth-century political unification of Ghana’s coastal people, and the creation of a coalition government, which Shumway refers to as the Coastal Coalition.
Photograph of Fante and the Transatlantic Slave Trade cover Continue reading

Book Review: Fire in the Ashes

This review is adapted from an original piece published in the Centre’s journal Ethnicity and Race in a Changing World.

Book review: Fire in the Ashes: Twenty-Five Years Among the Poorest Children in America by Jonathan Kozol (Crown Publishers: New York 2012)

Review by Jo Manby

This book is evidence of the kind of enduring, personal relationship that an ethnographer or documentarist can build up within a community if they invest their time and open their hearts to those around them.

Jonathan Kozol has been working with children in inner-city schools in the United States for almost fifty years. Over several years, he has been in conversation with a group of children from one of its poorest urban neighbourhoods. He begins his story – the story of these children – with a picture of New York City’s poor and homeless people on Christmas Eve 1985, thousands of them ‘packed into decrepit, drug-infested shelters, most of which were old hotels situated in the middle of Manhattan’ (p.3). Continue reading

Hulme and the Nightmare Scenario

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The Roving Reader Files

 

We all have our dreams. But what if they turn into nightmares?

Take the Hugh Wilson and Lewis Womersley firm of chartered architects and town planners. In the 1960s they dreamt of solving the problems of twentieth-century living by providing quality design and housing to a level reached in the eighteenth century for Bloomsbury and Bath. By using similar shapes and proportions, large scale building groups and open spaces, plus skilful landscaping and extensive tree planting, they hoped to make their dream reality. Where? Don’t laugh when I tell you. Hulme in Manchester.

Yes, Hulme was to be the setting for pioneering brave new town planning. The slums were to be cleared and in their place would arise beauty. There was just one problem. The designers’ dream became the Hulme residents’ nightmare scenario. Leafing through the Centre’s Hulme Study Collection, I came across Wilson and Womersley’s hopeful musings on the cover of Manchester City Council’s Survey Report  Hulme. A Position Statement September, 1987.

Photograph of an archive box containing Hulme reportsClose up of Hulme report, with a statement architecturally comparing Hulme with Georgian London and Bath Continue reading

Voices of the Black Panthers Book Reviews #2

Book Review: The Black Panthers Speak, Edited by Philip S. Foner, new Foreword by Barbara Ransby (Haymarket Books: Chicago 2014)
(first published by J.B. Lippincott Company: Philadelphia & New York, 1970)

Review by Jo Manby

The Black Panthers Speak is a bibliographic archive of correspondence, news, rules, speeches and poems – the documents that underpinned the fabric of the Black Panther Party’s (BPP) organisation.

The 2014 republishing of The Black Panthers Speak, an essential documentary history of the BPP, is indeed timely. Compiled and edited by Philip S. Foner (1910-1994), this is a new edition with an updated foreword by the writer, historian and political activist Barbara Ransby. When first published in 1970, the volume sought to counter the many misinterpretations that the BPP was subject to.

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Voices of the Black Panthers Book Reviews #1

Book Review: My People are Rising: Memoir of a Black Panther Party Captain by Aaron Dixon (Haymarket Books: Chicago 2012)

Review by Jo Manby

Despite the presence of a Black president in the White House, America persists in incarcerating unprecedented numbers of Black and ethnic minority males. The Sentencing Project states that ‘for Black males in their thirties, 1 in every 10 is in prison or jail on any given day’. This autobiographical work, My People are Rising: Memoir of a Black Panther Party Captain reminds us of the issues the Black Panther Party (BPP) stood for, most of which, including this and other racial injustices, remain unresolved today. Aaron Dixon gives us a first-hand account of the BPP’s history.

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Book Review: Black Power TV

This review is adapted from an original piece published in the Centre’s journal Ethnicity and Race in a Changing World.

Book review: Black Power TV by Devorah Heitner (Duke University Press: Durham & London 2013)

Review by Jo Manby

A compelling and detailed chronicle of the way that a range of Black public affairs programmes arose within the history of American television during the period of the Black Power movement, this book examines four television shows in particular, both directly and indirectly funded by the (White) Ford Foundation, among other sources, and critical in allowing ‘the imagining of a Black nation and a distinctly African American consciousness’ (p.14).

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Gladys and the Native American Long Long Trail of Tears

Image of a pair of glasses on a book

The Roving Reader Files

 

Have you thought about your worldview recently? Do you believe deep down everyone everywhere should think like you? We’ve all done it. We know it causes arguments with our mums, best friends and partners. But what if we’re talking ‘worldview’ on a culture-to-culture global scale? What then?

Look at these images. Do they have anything in common?

Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture, via Wikimedia Commons

Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture, via Wikimedia Commons

Source: grendelkhan via Wikimedia Commons

Source: grendelkhan via Wikimedia Commons

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Book Review: Africa Speaks, America Answers

Review by Jo Manby, adapted from an original piece published in the Centre’s journal Ethnicity and Race in a Changing World.

Book review: Africa Speaks, America Answers: Modern Jazz in Revolutionary Times by Robin D. G. Kelly (Harvard University Press: Cambridge, Mass. and London, England 2012)

This four-part volume, hailed as a ‘collective biography’ and written by the author of Thelonious Monk: The Life and Times of an American Original, vividly evokes the network of calls and responses across continents that linked modern jazz and Africa at a time of burgeoning revolutionary freedom – the 1950s and 60s.

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Book Review: You’re Not Proper

Book review: You’re Not Proper by Tariq Mehmood (London, Hope Road Publishing, 2015)

Reviewed by Jackie Ould, Director of the Resource Centre and Education Trust.

Image1Tariq Mehmood’s latest book won the Frances Lincoln Diverse Voices Children’s Book Award. Centred on the lives of two British-Pakistani girls, Kiran and Shamshad, in ‘a Northern town’, the book explores issues of identity and belonging, family, friendship and group relationships, untold secrets from the past: the usual fare of fiction for teens. Tariq’s unique take on this recipe is his feel for the local/personal impact of larger global politics: war, racism, religious conflict, Islamophobia. How do young people understand, internalise and play-out these global issues in their personal lives? What effect might they have on family and playground relationships? How do “dark kids who realize they’re not white…struggle to know how they fit into the society around them” as Tariq has posed.

All of which suggests the book is serious and heavy. In fact, it is often very funny and Tariq’s ear for accent and dialogue give it a special flavour making it very readable. Highly recommended, especially for teachers looking for fiction that encourages young people to discuss and debate who and what is ‘proper’.

Book Review: Darcus Howe: A Political Biography

This review is adapted from an original piece published in the Centre’s journal Ethnicity and Race in a Changing World.

Book review: Darcus Howe: A Political Biography by Robin Bunce and Paul Field (Bloomsbury: London & New York, 2014)

Review by Jo Manby

A lively and incisive biography, dedicated to the memory of CLR James, Darcus Howe’s mentor and great uncle, whose ‘youthful rebellion was symbolized by his skipping his duties to illicitly play cricket’ (p.12), this volume throws into brilliant relief Howe’s importance in the history of radical politics and the struggle for racial justice.

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Book Review: The Empire of Necessity

 

Sin it is, no less… it puts out the sun at noon
– Herman Melville on slavery

 

Book review: The Empire of Necessity: The Untold History of a Slave Rebellion in the Age of Liberty by Greg Grandin (Oneworld: Great Britain, Australia & New York 2014)

Review by Jo Manby

This gripping book reads like an adventure story subtly underpinned by historical detail. It centres on a mutiny on board the slave ship Tryal whereby all its crew were killed, bar one.

On board, slave-rebels initiated a 24-hour deception, fooling the unsuspecting Captain Amasa Delano into coming aboard the apparently troubled, becalmed ship with water and supplies, finally leading to the descent of Delano’s own crew into barbaric slaughter of the slave-rebels.

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Carter G Woodson: The Father of Black History

Those who have no record of what their forebears have accomplished lose the inspiration which comes from the teaching of biography and history – Carter G Woodson

Manchester is gearing up for Black History Month (BHM) in October – take a look at the programme of events happening across the city on the BHMGM website. Out of our own events this year I’m especially excited about The Different Voices of Nina Simone poetry workshop and You Hide Me: African Art in British Museums film screening.

Although BHM has a distinctly cultural flavour, it has always been about education. Back in 1987 Akyaaba Addai-Sebo explained that October had been chosen as the UK’s BHM because in Africa it is traditionally a time of plenty, of reconciliation and of bequeathing wealth and knowledge to the next generation. This coincides nicely with the start of the British school year, when children’s ‘minds are refreshed and revitalised, so they can take in a lot of instruction’. Quite right.

Source: David from Washington, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Source: David from Washington, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The education of children was at the heart of the work of Carter G Woodson (1875 – 1950), the so-called ‘Father of Black History’ and founder of Negro History Week, the precursor to today’s US and UK Black History Months.
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The Refugee Experience Book Reviews: Bad News for Refugees

With the Syrian refugee crisis dominating the news at the moment, Jo Manby has been looking back at her archive for reviews of books, available in our library, that look at the refugee experience. Read the others here and here.

This review is adapted from an original piece published in the Centre’s journal Ethnicity and Race in a Changing World.

Book review: Bad News for Refugees by Greg Philo, Emma Briant & Pauline Donald (Pluto Press: London; Palgrave MacMillan: New York, 2013)

A forensic examination of the media coverage of refugees and asylum seekers in the United Kingdom and the negative effects this has not only on the public’s perceptions of these groups, but on the everyday lives of immigrants, both new and established. Alternative perspectives are delineated, and the study is aimed at those concerned with the consequences of misleading media accounts on vulnerable communities in British society.

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The Refugee Experience Book Reviews: Educated for Change?

With the Syrian refugee crisis dominating the news at the moment, Jo Manby has been looking back at her archive for reviews of books, available in our library, that look at the refugee experience. Read the others here and here.

This review is adapted from an original piece published in the Centre’s journal Ethnicity and Race in a Changing World.

Book review: Educated for Change? Muslim Refugee Women in the West by Patricia Buck and Rachel Silver (Information Age Publishing, Inc.: Charlotte, North Carolina, 2012)

An unexpected outcome of war and migration has been an increase in Somali girls’ and women’s educational opportunities, when historically their literacy levels have been ‘among the lowest in the world’ (United Nations Development Programme [UNDP], 1998) (p.xv). Authored by Patricia Buck and Rachel Silver, co-founders of Matawi, a nonprofit NGO that works to increase educational opportunities for girls and women from the predominantly Somali Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya, this anthropological work examines the impact of ‘new-found access to schooling ….. in the everyday lives of Somali refugee girls and women’ (p.xvi).

Source: UK Department for International Development. CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Source: UK Department for International Development. CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

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The Refugee Experience Book Reviews: Border Watch

This week the government announced that the UK will take 20,000 Syrian refugees between now and 2020. This has prompted Jo Manby to look back at her archive for reviews of books, available in our library, that look at the refugee experience in Britain. Read the others here and here.

This review is adapted from an original piece published in the Centre’s journal Ethnicity and Race in a Changing World.

Book review: Border Watch: Cultures of Immigration, Detention and Control by Alexandra Hall (Pluto Press: London and New York, 2012)

This ethnographically researched volume uncovers the hidden day-to-day world of the immigration detention centre from the perspective of the officers. Its premise is that an understanding of the effects of the act of detaining individuals relies upon an awareness of the intimate details of how exactly the ‘secure regime’ works on the level of ordinary, everyday experience and interaction.

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Where Land and Tide Meet

Book review: Dropping Anchor, Setting Sail: Geographies of Race in Black Liverpool by Jacqueline Nassy Brown

Review by Jo Manby

Some of the books we acquire at the Resource Centre are new – others, like this one, new to us. Dropping Anchor, Setting Sail: Geographies of Race in Black Liverpool was published in 2005, and at the time, was heralded as revealing a new type of anthropology in which ‘place emerges with a cultural agency of its own’ (Anna Tsing).

Photograph of Liverpool waterfront

Source: Hajor via Wikimedia Commons

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Day in, Day Out: Reminiscence work in Monsall

Image of a pair of glasses on a book

The Roving Reader Files

 

I went to a Dementia Friends information session the other day. Have you been to one yet?

I learned that there really is more to dementia than losing your memory. People living with dementia can live well – provided others know a little about the condition and treat them with empathetic respect. The earliest memories are the ones that remain the longest. As I sat listening, I was struck by the thought that elderly people living with dementia might actually be storehouses of information about their distant pasts…

Old photograph of young girls outside a shop, Moston Lane

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Book Review: Where Are You Really From?

We have so many fantastic books in the library, it’s high time we started doing book reviews! This week Jo Manby has been reading Where Are You Really From? by Tim Brannigan (Blackstaff Press: Belfast 2010) Where are you really from?‘Kola Kubes and Gelignite, Secrets and Lies – The true story of an extraordinary family’ is the subtitle of this fascinating memoir by the journalist Tim Brannigan. It is dedicated, in turn, to Peggy Brannigan, his ‘beautiful and extraordinary mum’; his brothers; his mum’s partner Tom, and finally to his ‘new-found brothers and sisters.’ Who they are and how he came across them is revealed in the later chapters of the book. Continue reading

Radicals and Renegades

Cataloguer and book reviewer Jo has been taking a good look at our Politics section…

At this early stage of the twenty-first century, we are living through a period of global turmoil and social change. Revolutions in communications, technology and the reach of surveillance unfold at a gathering pace, interwoven with an upsurge of political revolutions and coups-d’état.

photograph of the occupy wall street protest

© David Shankbone (www.flickr.com/photos/shankbone)

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From the Horse’s Mouth

Image of a pair of glasses on a book

The Roving Reader Files

 

Cartoon image of a horse reading a book saying 'Gee Pop, looks like the people really had it together in those days'Ever felt drawn to a particular shelf? Rummaging around in the Centre, I often get pulled to sections by a force beyond myself, and to be honest, now I just go with it. You never know what you might come across…

The other day I pulled out a massive tome, and what should I find lurking next to it but a comic book. Surprised? So was I.

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Finding Barrington. Part 3: The educator gets educated

Image of a pair of glasses on a book

The Roving Reader Files

Last time we discovered Barrington Young had become the first Black railway inspector in Manchester. We also found that he’d begun a United Nations in his own home by marrying an Austrian in the 1950s. This time, we’ll see Barrington fully engaged in transmitting knowledge of his own, as well as wider Black history, to youngsters of all ethnicities.

Image of an older Barrington YoungBarrington retired in 1994. Counting his years on the railways as the best time of his life, he joined the Railway Club to continue that good experience into the future. But by 1998 we find him in a different role. It was the 50th anniversary of the arrival from the Caribbean of the good ship Empire Windrush in 1948 and Barrington was enrolling on an exciting innovative new course – Mapping Our Lives: The Windrush Project.

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Finding Barrington. Part 2: Moss Side roots

Image of a pair of glasses on a book

The Roving Reader Files

Ever found that once you set off in search of someone, signs of them are just about everywhere? That’s how it was for me as I began rummaging around the Centre trying to find Barrington Young. I must have been the only person never to have come across him in my travels…

And that’s the key to Barrington. Travelling. Is he a prime minister, pianist, brain surgeon, astronaut or footballer? No. He’s far more important than that. As well as being one of the most kind and humorous individuals around, Barrington Young was the first Black railway inspector in Manchester. What Barrington doesn’t know about trains and the railways of Britain just isn’t worth knowing.

So, where did I find Barrington Young?

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Finding Barrington. Part 1: Who is Barrington Young?

Image of a pair of glasses on a book

The Roving Reader Files

Small, but a kaleidoscope of colour. That’s the only way I could describe it.

What I’d found was a gem of a book packed with lovingly evocative images of Jamaica – Jamaica: Photographs by Ray Chen. Thanks, Mr Chen! What vistas you’ve opened up! Beaches, sea, mountains, people… You name it, it’s there. And the fruit! Call me a smoothie-head, but whenever fruit’s involved, I’m addicted already…

image of Jamaica book - fruit marketimage of Jamaica book - dancersimage of jamaica book - flyleaf

But wait a minute, what’s this? Another intriguing dedication on the flyleaf? You know I’m a sucker for a mystery, so take a look at what I’d found:

Donated by Mr. Barrington Young
September 07

Who’s Barrington Young? And why would he give away such a breathtaking book, a visual feast inviting us to another shore? Not something I’d do…

Barrington Young… Just say it out loud… Has a ring to it, doesn’t it? With a name like that, this man has to be somebody. A prime minister or a jazz pianist, a brain surgeon or an astronaut, or what about a footballer? I resolved to do a bit of digging. Who knew what I’d find?

So follow me on a roller coaster of a ride through the rail network of Britain, interracial marriage, and the value of a rigorous education. In my next couple of posts we’ll swim like fish amongst fascinating oral history treasures unique to the Centre, not published ones this time, but manuscripts, recordings, and their transcriptions.

Are you ready for another journey? The quest to find Barrington will be our guide…


Jamaica: Photographs by Ray Chen was published in 1995. Ray Chen was born into the Chinese community of Jamaica and, although he lives and works in Canada, he counts Jamaica as his home. He is one of Jamaica’s leading photographers, having published a number of collections relating to Jamaica, its scenery and its history.

 

Guests from Overseas

Image of a pair of glasses on a book

The Roving Reader Files

 

Thousands of students are flooding back into Manchester. Here at the Resource Centre we’ve been busy preparing for this enthusiastic new cohort of scholars. Thankfully the Roving Reader has had the time to take a more reflective view of proceedings.

Anyone who hasn’t noticed that Manchester recently exploded with students must have just come from Mars. So for any Martians out there – the academic year’s beginning, lectures are starting, and the buses are full to bursting. Take my advice. Add another half hour to your journey so you get to your destination on time…

But hang on a minute! Stand back and take a closer look. Have you ever thought how many in the fresh-faced crowd are from overseas?

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Chinese Whispers?

Image of a pair of glasses on a book

The Roving Reader Files

 

Three pounds of rice, four duck eggs, a pair of straw shoes, and a lonely trip over the mountains to 1940s Hong Kong. Long hours of labour in food outlets mushrooming on 1960s London high streets. What do these scenes have in common? The answer’s illiterate Chinese migrant Yue Kai Chung.

image of Yue Kai Chung

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Glorious Occupations

Next in her series of library indepth posts, cataloguer and book reviewer Jo looks at my favourite section – Arts, Media and Sport

Filled with the brilliant colours and sounds of visual art and music, the swish of fashion and dance, the flash of camera and moving image, the million tongues of literature and the rising cheer of the sports arena, the Arts, Sport and the Media section divides into six subsections.

Books form the art media and sport section on the shelf

© University of Manchester

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Reading James Jackson: Footnotes

Image of a pair of glasses on a book

The Roving Reader Files

 

Last time we discovered who wrote the Centre’s edition of Memoir of James Jackson, and why. This time, I’d like to ask the pressing question:

Is there any point in footnotes?

Notes page

© University of Manchester

Academics among you might have written a few footnotes yourselves, and are now suddenly sporting wry smiles. Everyone else is perfectly entitled to be wondering what on earth I’m talking about. Footnote, endnote, twenty pound note? What’s the difference, except the last one buys you a few bars of chocolate and the others don’t?

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Reading James Jackson: Who’s the author?

Image of a pair of glasses on a book

The Roving Reader Files

IMG_1054

© University of Manchester

My inner voices were going at it hammer and tongues: “It’s just too confusing! Why does it have to have three names on the cover? Isn’t one enough? James, Susan, Lois…? Who wrote the book?”

Just look at this: Memoir of James Jackson, The attentive and obedient scholar, who died in Boston, October 31, 1833, aged six years and eleven months. By his teacher, Miss Susan Paul. Edited by Lois Brown. That’s the book’s title. Wouldn’t you be confused?

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Expressing the Refugee Experience

For Refugee Week (16 – 20 June) our Widening Participation Officer Sam ran a refugee arts day for three local secondary schools here at Central Library. I spent an enjoyable morning getting covered in acrylic paint, supporting artist Amang Mardokhy’s painting workshop.

Image of Amang Mardokhy teaching an art class

© University of Manchester

Painting by Amang Mardokhy

© Amang Mardokhy

Amang is Kurdish, from Northern Iraq. He came to the UK in the early 2000s, fleeing Saddam Hussein’s regime. At the start of his workshop he told the students a little about his personal story, including his experience of being an artist under a repressive regime and the difficult decision to take his family, including his five year old son, in search of safety. But he talked more about his artistic motivations, to express the suffering of the Kurdish people and explore global experiences of war and displacement. The students produced postcard-sized paintings reflecting on the contrast between peace and war; safety and danger, beauty and ugliness, plenty and poverty, belonging and loss.

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One for the Crime…

Next in her series of library indepth posts, cataloguer and book reviewer Jo takes a look at our Criminal Justice section.

Analysis of the section title ‘Criminal Justice’ brings me to wonder whether the two concepts (crime and justice) are exact opposites of each other. Are they mutually exclusive? Why not simply ‘Crime and Justice’?

Just as in the well-known phrase, one man’s meat is another man’s poison, so one man’s crime can be another man’s justice, and indeed vice versa. How else could you explain miscarriages of justice, judicial decisions based on prejudiced information or opinion, vigilantism, or the ramifications of political protest, whether violent or non-violent?

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Black ’47, Bob and Me

Image of a pair of glasses on a book

The Roving Reader Files

 

Get yourself a coffee and sit down. Here’s another intriguing tale behind what looks like an innocent volume parked on the Centre’s shelves…

Image of Black 47 coverHave you seen Black ’47. Britain and the Famine Irish by Frank Neal, with its bleak black and white cover and title printed in green? Haunted by the image of a gaunt famine-starved couple with a baby, it doesn’t look a relaxing read. Published in 1998, it appeared during the 150th anniversary commemorations of one of the most catastrophic transformational experiences ever to scar the collective psyche of any community in the world – the Great Irish Famine of the 1840s.

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The Magic of Paul Robeson

Last week we had a session at the Archives+ handling table with material about the singer, actor and civil rights activist Paul Robeson.

It’s a bit of stretch to call this a handling session – most of what we had out were books that you can ‘handle’ in our library at any time. Having said that, the main attraction was something from our archive; a signed copy of Here I Stand, Robeson’s autobiography, donated by Linda Clair. This definitely generated some interest – there’s something magical about seeing the marks made by a famous hand.

image of signed Paul Robeson book

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One Way Ticket to the World

Next in Jo’s series of posts on our library – the Immigration section:

image of books about immigration

A topical subject at the moment, immigration.

Beneath the headlines, however, is a complexity of economic, social and political movement and motivations for movement, a tangled network of transnational relationships that criss-cross the globe and a morass of successive legislation and policymaking underpinning it.

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