The Black and Asian studies association


You can read the minutes of the BASA meeting with Jan Raven from the Department for Education about the proposed changes to the National Curriculum by clicking here

You can read the cover of Marika Sherwood’s latest book ‘World War 2 Colonies and Colonials here

and buy a copy from here

You can read the latest review of the BBC History Magazine and Ray Costello’s Black Salt: Seafarers of African Descent on British Ships by clicking here. There are also reviews of The Motherland Calls by Stephen Bourne, Black Skin, Blue Books. African Americans and Wales 1845-1945 by Daniel Williams and Chris Foy’s article on black sailors which you can read by clicking here You can also read a review of Immigrants and Minorities vol.30 here

You can read the latest review of the BBC History Magazine by clicking here .

You can read the latest review of the BBC History Magazine by clicking here. There is also a review of ‘Ending British Rule in Africa’ by Carol Polsgrove which you can read by clicking here

New BASA Contact Address. BASA, Institute of Commonwealth Studies, University of London, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU. November

Malcom X Visits Abroad the new publication from Marika Sherwood is available now. More details available here

Newsletter 57. Following a change in Editor and the adoption of a new design and print format the July issue of the Newsletter (57) was delayed. It is now available. Click here for cover and here for contents pages.

BASA Stall. BASA had a stall at the British Library event on Monday 25 October examining the Uprisings of the 1980s. BASA member Sean Creighton was a member of the panel because of his experience in Lambeth working for Solon Housing Association (1976-82) and the Community/Police Consultative Group for Lambeth and Panel of Lay Visitors to Lambeth Police Stations (1984-9).

New BASA Contact Address. BASA, Institute of Commonwealth Studies, Room 236, University of London, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU.

New BASA Chair and Secretary. The new Chair is George Wately and the new Secretary is Jonah Albert. Audrey Edwards remains as Treasurer and Marika Sherwood as Vice-Chair.

The New BASA Committee. In addition to the Officers, the members of the Management Committee elected until the 2011 AGM are: Hakim Adi, Kathy Chater, Dan Lyndon, Caz Bressey. June White-Gulley, Cliff Pereira, Daniel Whittall, Selma El-Rayah, and new member Christiana Dankwa.

New Newsletter Editor. Kathy Chater has taken on the job of editing the Newsletter.

Ayuba Sulieman portrait – NPG. The Management Committee has made a donation of £100 to the National Portrait Gallery campaign to purchase the painting.

Oku Ekpenyon.OBE. Oku Ekpenyon was awarded an OBE in the June birthday honours. BASA was involved in nominating her last year.

Black Cultural Archives. Congratulations to BASA member Black Cultural Archives on receiving capital funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund to turn Raleigh Hall in Brixton’s Windrush Square into its new permanent home. It received cross-party backing for a funding contribution by Lambeth Council in the weeks leading up to the General Election.

Bishopsgate Institute. The Institute (a BASA member) now houses the Bernie Grant Archive.

Stephen Bourne. There was been much debate in BASA over the last two years about the problems of getting media coverage for members published work.BASA member Stephen has been doing well with his new book Mother Country Britain’s Black Community on the Home Front 1939-45 (The History Press). Mother Country unearths a ‘hidden history’ of Britain and the Second World War highlighting the contribution to the British war effort made by many Black Britons. These include Dr Harold Moody, Learie Constantine, Una Marson, E. I. Ekpenyon, Ivor Cummings, Esther Bruce, Pastor Daniels Ekarte (Liverpool), William “Bill” Miller (Plymouth), Len Johnson (Manchester), Charles Minto (North Shields), Adelaide Hall, Ken ‘Snakehips’ Johnson, Basil Rodgers (a Black conscientious objector from Devon). evacuees, Black senior citizens who have been interviewed by Stephen about their memories of the home front in West Africa and the Caribbean, and many others. For more information about Mother Country go to

Immigrants & Minorities Special Issue. BASA members Caz Bressey and Hakim Adi edited the July/November 2010 issue of Immigrants & Minorities containing papers arising out of the 2007 Equiano Centre Conference Belonging in Europe: the African Disapora and Work c1400-1945. The issue includes essays by BASA members Kathy Chater, Sean Creighton, Jan Marsh, as well as Caz and Hakim.

Legacies of British Slavery. Three BASA members, Caz Bressey, Sean Creighton and David Killingray were speakers at the London and South East regional workshop run by the Legacies of British Slavery project based at University College London. Sean spoke at the North East workshop in Newcastle on 25 September. Details about the project and its workshop programme can be found on:

Samuel Coleridge-Taylor Network. For background see December (2009) News below. The third issue of the Newsletter is now available from BASA member Sean Creighton on

April 2010

BASA Membership 2010/11. BASA’s membership new subscription year 2010/11 started on 1 April. There will be three issues of the Newsletter Nos 57-59. Members also receive by email a monthly Information Bulletin.

BASA and BASA Members Events Wednesday 12 May. 6pm. Caroline Bressey. White Women and Black History: the case of Catherine Impey. ICS/BASA Black & Asian Britain Seminar. Senate House, Malet St/Russell Square, London WC1.

Wednesday 26 May. Marika Sherwood (BASA). Black Political Activism in Britain, 1900-1965. BASA member Marika Sherwood is giving this talk at the IHR Contemporary British History Seminar, Institute of Historical Research, Senate House.

Wednesday 2 June. 6pm. Daniel Whittall, Black West Indians in Britain and the politics of empire, c. 1931-1948. ICS/BASA Black & Asian Britain Seminar. Senate House.

Saturday 5 June 10.30-11.30am. BASA AGM. Saturday 5 June. 11.30am-4pm. BASA Conference. African and Asian Diasporas: Exploring the Links. Geography Department, University College London, 26 Bedford Way, London. WC1.

Newsletter 56. The March 2010 Newsletter is now available. It contains the following items:

Dr Carl Hylton. Positive African Self-Identity and the 2007 Bi-centenary Year. A thoughtful explanation and analysis of the work carried out in Leeds.

Stephen Bourne. The Search for Billy Brooks. (‘Aunt’ Esther’s half-brother).

Lesley Richmond. Glasgow University, Slavery and Abolition: An Untold Story. This includes details about the African-American emancipation activist and Glasgow educated Dr James McCune Smith

Howard Falksohn. Ed Francis, His Master’s Poisoner. This discusses the case of the alleged attempted poisoning of Thomas Dymock, the Keeper of the Lions at the Tower of London, by his black slave Edward Francis in 1692.

BASA News and Activities


If you are not a member of BASA and want a copy of the Newsletter please email Sean You will then be sent a copy with invoice for £3, plus postage.

HLF and Black & Asian Minorities. In their work capacities BASA Chair Cliff Pereira and BASA Committee member Caz Bressey took part in the Heritage Lottery Fund South East England Region’s Black & Asian Minority Ethnic Focus Group meeting held on 17 March. Read Cliff’s report here.

The Role of Community Heritage. Cliff Pereira (BASA Chair) was one of the speakers at the ‘From the Margins to the Core’ event held on 26 March. The text of his comments can be seen here.

British Library’s Select Bibliography. The British Library has a ‘Selected Bibliography for the Aid of Studying Black British African-Caribbean and Asian British History, Sociology, and Culture, in English at the British Library’. It is intended as a guide for research listing items by author. It is updated from time to time. The British Library has agreed that the latest edition can be posted on the BASA website. You do not have to go to the British Library to read all the items as many are available by ordering through your local Library on the inter–Library loan system from BL’s Document Supply Centre. The bibliography is compiled by Andy Simons, Curator, Modern British Collections – Edward Giles Click here to see the Bibliography.


London Mayor’s Diversity Task Force. BASA’s assessment of the final work of the Task Force can be read here.

Andrew Marr’s The Making of Modern Britain. BASA wrote to the Chair of the BBC Trust and the BBC Director General to express concern about the absence of adequate reflection of the contribution of Black and Asian people in Britain in Andrew Marr’s TV series. Replies have been received from both. The need for programme makes to be aware of the need for adequate representation in programmes accepted and the letter to the Director General has been copied to programme makers. The correspondence can be read here.

English Heritage Plaques Conference. BASA Secretary Sean Creighton will be representing BASA at the English Heritage Plaques Conference on 18 and 19 February. He will also have stall space at it to promote BASA.

February BASA Members Information Bulletin. The monthly Bulletin emailed to members contains detailed information on events on Black & Asian history, historical information, books, web resources, and debates on a variety of relevant issues. The February issue contains:

BASA Events, New Members and BASA Member News Other Events Requests for Information and Help
Other News & Information, inc. Black Music History; Websites, DVDs & Films; Articles & Books
Discussion and debate topics: Walter Tull, Trade Unions – Racism & Anti-Racism, How Many Africans Died? UK/Latin American/Caribbean Link Programme Call for Papers on Being Black and Becoming European Historic information, inc. Wilberforce’s support of repression by Pitt’s Government; William Hall, VC, the Nova Scotian naval hero

To ensure you know what is going on why not join BASA? If you join you will be able to buy the following newsletters at a reduced price: 27-29 (£1 down to 75p each); 32-37 & 46-7 (£1.25/£1/50 down to £1); 48 & 49 (£2 down to £1.50). Postage will be added. Details of the contents of these issues can be seen on the website. If you would like to order any copies please email

Book Review Editor. Kathy Chater has taken over the job of BASA Newsletter Book Review Editor from Marika Sherwood. If you want to have book reviewed or wish to submit a review or offer yourself as a reviewer please contact Kathy

Freedom of Information: What’s in it for Researchers? BASA member Peter Freshwater attended a workshop organised at The Lighthouse, Glasgow on 14 September 2009 by the Research Information Network. His report to BASA Committee can be read here


BASA Newsletter 55. The contents listing of the November issue of BASA Newsletter can be seen in the Newsletter section.

ICS/BASA Seminars. The January-June programme of the Black & Asian Britain seminar series organised by the Institute of Commonwealth Studies in conjunction with BASA can be seen in the ICS/BASA Black & Asian Britain Seminars section.

January BASA Members Information Bulletin. The monthly Bulletin emailed to members contains detailed information on events on Black & Asian history, historical information, books, web resources, and debates on a variety of relevant issues. The January issue contains:

* BASA Member News: Hakim Adi course, Selma El-Rayah retires, NBHA, Butterfly McQueen, Flores Deterville

* Requests for Information and Help: Black soldiers in the Crimean War; Johnny Cake, Black History Courses, Malcolm Joseph Mitchell, Ex-Servicemen wanted for interview, HLF Funding issues, August 1838.

* Other News & Information: inc. Black people in West Midlands Project, New National Archives Opening Hours, White Identities, History magazines, Radio items, Learie Constantine Film, History of racism, remainder books, legacies of British slave-ownership

* Discussion and debate topics: Mary Seacole – Heroine or What?; Rod Liddle and Race; Small Island; Royal Court Dwarfs; The Term ‘Spades’; Copyright Costs Issues

* Conference Calls for Papers: Reassessing the Seventies; Black Internationalism; Fifteen Century

* Historic information: St. Helena Slave Graveyard; John Perkins

To ensure you know what is going on why not join BASA?


Blue Plaques. English Heritage’s reply to BASA’s letter on issues relating to Blue Plaques can be seen here. This includes the list of plaques honouring Black and Asian individuals and those under consideration. English Heritage has told BASA that blue plaques are now only London based. The BASA Committee recommends that BASA members put pressure on local Councils to address this issue. Several local authorities and other organisations have their own schemes. English Heritage is holding a two day conference Celebrating People and Place on 18-19 February. Further details from or go to

The Meaning of ‘Asian’. The BASA Committee has clarified that its coverage of the Asian disaporas in Britain are not restricted to the peoples of South Asian or East Africa, but the whole of Asia.

National Archives. National Archives reply to BASA’s letter of concern over its cutbacks and the possible implications for cataloguing and work on Black and Asian history can be seen here.

William Cuffay. The text of Sean Creighton talk as BASA Secretary at the Feargus O’Connor Commemoration at Kensal Green Cemetery on 31 October can be read here.

Samuel Coleridge-Taylor Network. 2012 sees the 100th Anniversary of the death of Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, Britain’s Black composer, most famous for his work Hiawatha. Sean Creighton has initiated the Samuel Coleridge-Taylor Network for people involved in researching his life, playing his music, organising events, commemorating his achievements, and wanting to see a major commemoration of his life on the 100th Anniversary of his death in 2012. It will share information, encourage partnership working between different people involved, and encourage the development of events and media coverage across the country in 2012. It has the support of Jeff Green. If you wish to join email Sean

Jeffrey Green on Samuel Coleridge-Taylor. Jeff spoke on Do We Really Know Samuel Coleridge-Taylor? at the BASA AGM Conference on 27 June. The text can be read here. He also spoke on Coleridge-Taylor: the life or Samuel Coleridge-Taylor in reality at the British Library on 10 November. The text can be read here. Jeff now has a website featuring biographical sketches of Black people in Britain, including Coleridge-Taylor:


The Blue Plaque Scheme
We have learned from English Heritage that it only deals with London regarding Blue Plaques. However, many local authorities also put up plaques on buildings where famous (or those who ought to be famous) local people lived. May we therefore suggest that you contact your local authority to ascertain if they have such a scheme, and then send them suggested names, the reason they ought to be commemorated/recognised, and the addresses at which they lived. As there is usually a very formal unveiling of such plaques, attended by the local papers, this can be a good way of publicising the long history of the presence of peoples of African and Indian origins/descent in your locality.For example, Manchester City Council run a scheme putting up different coloured plaques for individuals, events, and buildings which are of historic or cultural significance. For instance, they have a Red Plaque on the building which stands where the 1945 Manchester Pan-African Congress was held in October of that year. More details of the scheme, including lists of those commemorated, can be found at Manchester Council Commemorative Plaques


Heritage and the Recession. Cliff and Sean represented BASA at a seminar held by the Heritage Lottery Fund on 11 September discussing how the Fund should respond to the challenges facing heritage during the recession. It was a very useful meeting. Cliff has followed it up with a letter to Jenny Abramsky, the Fund’s Chair, raising a number of issues about ensuring that Black and Asian History is reflected through the projects the Fund supports, and on tightening up the expectations on ensuring projects work to increase the diversity of their audiences and community engagement, including with BME groups. Increasing BME Participation in Visits to English Heritage Properties and Sites. Cliff represented BASA at a seminar held by the National Audit Office on 18 February discussing how to increase BME participation in visits to English Heritage properties and sites. The NAO report Promoting participation with the historic environment has been published. The BASA Committee has discussed the findings, conclusions and recommendations, and further representations have been made to the NAO. It is planned to send written evidence to the Parliamentary Select Committee which will review the report. The letter can be seen by clicking here.

National Archives Cuts. Following BASA being alerted by Ruth Paley’s BASAJISC posting to the National Archives planned cuts, the Committee considered the issues and a detailed report from Ruth who attended a meeting on the cuts organised by the Institute of Historical Research and the Royal Historical Society. A letter has been sent to National Archives expressing a number of concerns and hoping that they will not adversely affect continued work to make more visible Black and Asian history, and stressing the importance of continuing to undertake detailed cataloguing. The letter can be seen by clicking here.

Schools History Project. BASA has reopened dialogue with the Schools History Project, with a meeting between Dan Lyndon, Martin Spafford and Michael Riley, Director of the SHP.The meeting was very productive and discussions were held about the potential contributions that BASA can make to the 2011 SHP Conference, as well as ways in which BASA can support SHP in working with teacher training agencies to increase the awareness and understanding of teaching Black and Asian British History in schools.

Blue Plaques. BASA has written to English Heritage to re-start dialogue on the progress being made with blue plaques to commemorate significant Black and Asian residents and activists. Museums Association Conference Market Place. BASA had a stall at the Museums Association Conference Market Place on 7 October. Fabian Tompsett, Arthur Torrington, Philip Morgan and Sean Creighton were able to talk to a lot of people, and get up to date with some very interesting developments, especially among those Museums that have seen 2007 as something that needs to be continued in various way,s including greater involvement with the histories of the diverse communities in their areas. It is hoped that this will lead to fruitful dialogue, and help the work of the Museums, Libraries &Archives; Working Party convened by Fabian. A detailed report will be given to the BASA Committee on 16 November.

Uncle Tom, The Chinese laundry man, and ‘Justice’ in England & Wales, 1888-1905. The text of Jeffrey Green’s talk on 16 September at the Black & Asian History Seminar series organised by Marika Sherwood at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies can be read here.

The Old Bailey Reports – As a follow-up to his Uncle Tom etc talk Jeffrey Green put together a note about what he has found in the Old Bailey reports on line. It can be read here.

If you are interested in hiring a set of display panels about the 1900 Pan African Conference please contact theBASA secretary

From time to time BASA will put original resource material from members collections on the website.

India and the Second World War

In 1943 the India League published a series of notes for speakers and students on India.



Notes on India 2 (from Sean Creighton’s collection)

League of Coloured Peoples 1944 and 1945

On 14 March 1945 the League of Coloured Peoples held its Annual General Meeting in London. The agenda included the minutes of the 1944 AGM.


League of Coloured Peoples 1945 1


League of Coloured Peoples 1945 2 (from Sean Creighton’s collection)

Marika Sherwood’s new book revealing the extent to which Britain benefitted from the slave trade after its abolition in 1807. You can download the flyer here

African Diaspora Research Project, Victoria and Albert Museum

Arthur Torrington’s open letter to Anti-Slavery International