Activism has always been part of the history of Liverpool’s Black communities. Explore some of our collections below.
You wonder why we uprise
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