TUC to host screening of ‘long lost' BBC Black archive material

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date: 15 November 2007

embargo: None

Long lost film footage, featuring people and events that are central to our understanding of black history, has been recovered by the BBC and will be screened in London at the TUC's headquarters next week, (Thursday 22 November). The salvaged film includes:

West Indian trade union leaders in 'pre independence' Barbados commenting on trade union's key role in alleviating racial tensions, and perspectives from West Africa on the prospects for life after colonialism; from ' The Inheritors', broadcast in 1958.

Images of black people in the USA insisting that they be allowed to register to vote and of the brutal intimidation they endured from the authorities, and images of civil rights leaders including Martin Luther King, Malcolm X and Stokely Carmichael; from the influential 'Man Alive' public affairs programme.

Footage of early West Indian sportsmen in Britain, including an interview with LS Constantine, who was a cricket professional in Lancashire from 1929, including his in depth thoughts on the experience of his family in the community; from 'The Inheritors'.

Classic footage from the first and only broadcast of 'Blackcurrent', which was supposed to become the black 'Top of the Pops', shown in February 1978.

The screening of the BBC Black Archive Footage, and an audience discussion with those who have led the collation of the material from 70 years of BBC broadcasting, will be last event in the TUC's Black History Season.

Megan Dobney , Regional Secretary, TUC in London, the South East and the East of England said:

'Black History Season is a tremendous opportunity to recognise the contribution that Black, Asian and minority ethnic people have made to politics, culture, the arts, to business and to the community. And it is a time when we should acknowledge the struggle and sacrifice that people have made against exploitation, racism and discrimination and for equality, respect and justice for all.

'So much of this history has been forgotten by the majority of people and is in jeopardy of being lost. The massive advantage of the BBC being a public sector broadcaster is that the archives exist and that, as part of its public service remit, it has shown the commitment to assembling material for this film, which we a proud to screen.'

The screening of the film and the panel discussion, followed by a drinks reception, will be held at Congress House, Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3LS,

6.00 - 9.00pm, Thursday 22 November 2007.

There is no charge for attending this event but we ask that people register in advance with SERTUC by contacting Darren Lewis, on 0207 467 1220 or at [email protected] . Places are limited so early registration is advised.

Journalists are welcome but please register with Darren Lewis for a media pass.


- All TUC press releases can be found at www.tuc.org.uk

- Register for the TUC's press extranet : a service exclusive to journalists wanting to access pre-embargo releases and reports from the TUC. Visit www.tuc.org.uk/pressextranet

BBC Black Archives is a project for 'BBC Local Radio, African and Caribbean Programmes', and has been developed in partnership with BBC Entertainment Manchester. The compilation of the archive material in this screening is a fragment of the many hours of footage featuring African and Caribbean peoples that has been uncovered in a search of BBC TV film going back 70 years. These films have been rescued from boxes and shelves where some have lain for decades, after only one broadcast. 'BBC Local Radio African and Caribbean Programmes' has reclaimed the footage and produced a 60-minute film and five radio features that were broadcast on BBC Local Radio.

The panel for the audience discussion will include Elonka Soros, Editor, Karen Gabay, Producer, Caroline Julyan, Archive Producer and Danny John Jules, actor and social commentator.

SERTUC is the regional TUC responsible for London, the South East and the East of England, where 2 million trade union members live and work. Sixty percent of Black and Asian trade union members in Britain live and work in London, the South East and the East of England.

SERTUC had had a Black History Season comprising an exhibition of artworks produced by students at a comprehensive school, a lecture by Baljeet Ghale, the Black female President of the National Union of Teachers, a lecture about 'Gender and Modern Day Slavery', and a lecture about Shapurji Saklatvala. More details are available.


Media enquiries:
Laurie Heselden T: 020 7467 1220 E: [email protected]

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