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Book Reviews Great Lives Opening the Archive

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

Categories
Book Reviews Great Lives Opening the Archive

Ours is a Very Active Life

In preparing for our Paul Robeson hands-on session next Wednesday (details on our website and Facebook) I keep coming across the name Wilf Charles. He was one of a small group who established the New International Society in Moss Side in 1946, an organisation that promoted anti-racism locally but also supported international causes, including many championed by Robeson. As a result of this relationship Robeson came to sing at the Society in 1949, but more about that another time…

Wilf Charles is mentioned, in passing, in literature about Len Johnson (Manchester’s black boxing hero), about the International Brigade and the Spanish Civil War, the Communist Party and the 5th Pan-African Congress in Manchester.

Who was this radical chap?

Categories
Great Lives Opening the Archive Thinking about collections

Viraj Mendis is Our Friend!

This week, as it’s the Manchester Histories Festival and we’re here in our new home at Central Library, we’ve been taking advantage of the handling table in the Ground Floor Archives+ exhibition area.

Image of Steve Cohen collection handling

On Tuesday afternoon Ruth and I pulled together a selection of items from the Steve Cohen archive, which is a large collection of anti-deportation campaign memorabilia from the 1970s, 80s and 90s, donated by the Manchester activist and community lawyer Steve Cohen. There are more than 70 campaigns represented in the collection but we decided to focus on the case of Viraj Mendis.

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Our library Thinking about collections

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