Wall of Fame - The George Padmore Institute
7th July 2020
This week we're learning about a National Lottery funded project that is doing important work to preserve, record and teach Black British history.
The George Padmore Institute was established in 1991 by Trinidadian activist, poet and publisher John La Rose (1927-2006). The GPI archives focus on the political and cultural activism of the UK's black population and are rich in documenting racial tensions, the search for identity, and the power of solidarity over the last 70 years. Their mission is to ensure that people of all ages and backgrounds can learn about Black British history and the enormous contribution people of colour have made to the political, cultural and economic landscape.
Based in North London, the GPI would usually hold regular educational and cultural activities such as talks and readings- though these are currently paused due to lockdown measures. They also publish relevant materials and ensure their archives are accessible to the general public, which they are still able to do online.
Sarah Garrod, Head Archivist at the George Padmore Institute comments;
“Our archives are particularly poignant at this moment in time, with the surge of public interest in Black British history. While the lockdown has forced us to temporarily close our public space, we’ve been able to collaborate virtually with Your Local Arena to run the online series ‘Caribbean Nights: Poetry’, and share helpful resources across our social channels and our online catalogues - https://www.georgepadmoreinstitute.org/."
"Many people seek out the GPI archives so they can learn more about their own backgrounds, even their own identities. When someone takes the plunge and emerges from the archives with a new understanding, that's a really special moment to witness - and something you could miss if you're working in a large archive."
An emergency grant from the National Lottery has enabled them to pay the salaries of their key staff members, as well as cover essential costs, so that they can keep working remotely and ensure that the archive is in a stronger position for when they reopen. You can keep up to date with the George Padmore Institute by following them on Facebook or Twitter.