Search

Campaigners’ call for CLR James Library

12:10 08 September 2010

CLR James

CLR James

Archant

ANGRY campaigners are calling on the council not to discount the cultural contribution of Hackney’s African and Caribbean residents by ditching the name of a popular Dalston library.

CLR James Library, Dalston Lane.

More than 100 protesters have signed a petition to demand that the new library being built as part of the Dalston Square development to replace the CLR James Library in Dalston Lane retains the name.

Members of the borough’s Black & Ethnic Minority Arts network (BEMA) and House of Arts & Music Production Services (H-AMPS) took action after discovering that the library’s current name was set to be dropped.

Town hall bosses called the library after the Afro-Trinidadian historian, cricket journalist and theorist Cyril Lionel Robert James in 1985. They now want to call it Dalston Library and Archives when it reopens next spring.

“I think the council, at the time the library was named, was making a statement and commitment regarding the literary contribution of African Caribbean people worldwide,” said Ngoma Bishop, chairman of BEMA.

“Given the high percentage of African and Caribbean people in Hackney, I feel that taking a decision to drop the name is making an equally strong statement in the opposite direction.

“It’s one step short of being an insult to the community.”

CLR James gained acclaim for The Black Jacobins, his 1938 book about the 1791-1804 Haitian revolution, and his 1963 autobiographical book, Beyond A Boundary.

He attended the library’s naming ceremony. He died in May, 1989.

“This is not just about his contribution as a black individual,” said Andrea Enisuoh, of social justice group Hackney Unites.

“He was a campaigner and a thinker and we want to keep his legacy alive.”

“It is known internationally that there is a CLR library in Hackney and that is something we should be proud of.

“It’s about what sort of Hackney we want to see in the future. Now that Hackney and Dalston are developed, do we no longer want to support these people?”

A Hackney Council spokesman said: “We feel it’s important for the names of our libraries to reflect their location. We also had to consider the fact that Hackney’s archive service will be situated in the building.

“This will also ensure consistency with the borough’s other seven libraries, which are named after the area they are located in.

“However, this is the not the end of the council’s affiliation with CLR James, who we are proud to be associated with.

“As part of the new library, there will be a permanent exhibition to chronicle his life and works and an annual event in his memory, and we are pleased to report the state-of-the-art education room will also be named after this influential figure.”

To sign the Save the CLR James library petition. go to www.ipetitions.com/petition/saveclrjameslibrary/.

0 comments

Latest News Stories

12:00
Islington primary pupils working on some programming at the event

Schoolchildren set to be future Tech City pioneers came together to celebrate their achievements in computing last week, joined by television personality Maggie Philbin.

Yesterday, 09:00
Cllr Sharon Patrick

A Holocaust survivor will speak to an audiences about her experience during the Second World War at a ceremony in recognition of Holocaust Memorial Day.

Fri, 15:56
Professor Green, aka Stephen Manderson

Rapper Professor Green has said discovering his dad had taken his own life is “still as clear today as the moment it happened”.

Fri, 14:38
GV of Homerton University Hospital, of Homerton Row.

Homerton Hospital has been criticised for not having dedicated orthopaedic ward

Most read news

It’s easy to lose sight of how beautiful London is when you’re crammed into a commuter train. Let these flying Instagram users take you on a bird’s eye tour of London.

People have pretty good memories when it comes to the outstanding performance of a tub of lard on HIGNFY.

The UN ambassador unveiled IMPACT10X10X10, a new initiative to end gender inequality as part of the HeForShe campaign.

David Cameron and Tony Blair are among those paying tribute.

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Hackney Gazette e-edition today E-edition
Family Notices 24
Our trusted business finder