Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS)


VIRTUAL: Books, Violence and Resistance: New Beacon Books

30 April 2021, 6:30 pm–8:15 pm

New Beacon Books

Series of talks on Black Bookshops as scenes of resistance. Owners and readers speak on the impact on the 70/80s Black community and legacy

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to







Sarah Parker Remond Centre / Black History Walks

This is an online event at 6.30pm UK/GMT time. The link will be sent 45 minutes before the start.

This event is organised by Black History Walks in collaboration with UCL's Sarah Parker Remond Centre

Black bookshops in 1970/80s Britain were few and far between. Those that did exist were subject to continued racist attacks including firebombing. Spaces where Black people could meet and learn were few and far between so bookshops were often packed out and people would travel long distances to get books. While in the bookshop, advice would be sought, information shared, change and campaigns initiated at a time when many people did not have their own phone far less a computer.

This one-off series of lectures will interview several of these booksellers/activists. With personal testimony, photos and video clips we will tell this powerful story of resistance by reading and retail.

In the first two sessions (16th and 23rd April) we will cover the incredible Walter Rodney bookshop founded by the legendary 90 year old Eric Huntley and his late wife Jessica Huntley. In session three on the 30th April, we visit Michael La Rose of New Beacon Books, the oldest black bookshop in Britain. We end with the famous Centerprise and Emmanuel Amevor on Wednesday 5th May at 6.30pm.

We will cover:

  • The dangers of selling Black books
  • The multi purpose role of the book shop space
  • Black business and education
  • The fight for premises, how white institutions block Black progress
  • The link into self -publishing
  • International speakers in odd places
  • The Saturday School connection
  • Bookshops and political campaigns: Scrap Sus, Racism on the buses, Anti Apartheid, The Grenada revolution, school banding

About the Speaker

Michael La Rose was born in Trinidad and migrated to London in the early 1960s. He was the second ever Chair of the George Padmore Institute between 2006 and 2016. Michael is a cultural and political activist and also an author, researcher and lecturer on popular culture of the African diaspora. He is a director of New Beacon Books and was band leader and mas’ designer of the Peoples War Carnival Band. Michael was elected vice-chairperson of the Carnival Development Committee (CDC) and later founded the campaigning Association for a Peoples Carnival (APC) and Reclaim Our Carnival (ROC). He is currently director of Savannah View, a cultural and educational promotion group.

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