Our venues
Our museums and galleries

people carrying banners on protest marches


"You wonder why we uprise
Politically unstabilised
Economically destabilised
People dehumanised
Youth decriminalised
Mentally vandalised
Housing ghettoised
Politically unrecognised
And you wonder why we uprise" 
Leroy Cooper Liverpool 8, from 'The fight against racism' book 1986

Britain may not have had Jim Crow laws that formalised segregation as in the United States of America, but a colour bar did exist. Many communities got around this by organising their own groups and clubs and advising members of safe areas or zones of the city.

Activism has always been part of the history of Liverpool’s Black communities. It features in our collections from the Nigerian Seamen’s Strike of 1959 to the ‘Oxford Out’ posters created in response to the Toxteth uprising. Research by Laurence Westgaph shows how activism took place as far back as 1756, with records detailing runaway enslaved Africans.

An activist is a person who campaigns to bring about political or social change, perhaps as a member of a committee or group. Relevant objects are diverse, and could include a placard from a march, plans to improve the local community, or other objects.

"The resistance of Black people to racism in Britain was informed by their struggle against slavery and colonialism."
A Sivandum – The fight against racism, 1986 

Sankofa project

Working together to explore Liverpool's Black experience.

About the project 

Link to Facebook   Link to Twitter #sankofapeople

Activism timeline

Scroll back through more than 250 years of activism in Liverpool's Black community.


Activism shapes our collections

As part of the Sankofa Project we have started to explore Black activism in Liverpool. An activist is a person who campaigns to bring about political or social change. These words can definitely be used to describe Chief Bassey Duke Ephraim (also known as Bassey Orok Edem).

Read more

An archive can be your story

The Sankofa project is looking to support local Black people and communities in highlighting their stories and protecting their histories for generations to come – and we want you to get involved! Heritage consultant Heather Roberts tells us why archives are so important and can be made by any

Read more
Show more blog posts >