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Newham exhibition celebrates social justice campaigners from the US to the East End

PUBLISHED: 09:00 17 February 2018

The National Welfare Rights Organisation marching to end hunger, 1968 Photo: Jack Rottier photograph collection, George Mason University Libraries

The National Welfare Rights Organisation marching to end hunger, 1968 Photo: Jack Rottier photograph collection, George Mason University Libraries

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The story of the US civil rights movement and Newham’s human rights history is being told in an exhibition at the Beckton Globe Library.

Memphis sanitation workers strike, 1968 Picture: Ernest C. WithersMemphis sanitation workers strike, 1968 Picture: Ernest C. Withers

The story of the US civil rights movement and Newham’s human rights history is being told in an exhibition at the Beckton Globe Library.

From March 5, Journey to Justice’s Music and Freedom project will explore what it takes to make social action successful through an interactive display of music, photos, poetry and maps.

The exhibit is part of a travelling project telling the lesser known stories of people who fought for human rights, both here and in the US.

Carrie Supple, director of Journey to Justice, said: “The aim is to show how ordinary people have made a difference in social justice and human rights, and to display their own personal journeys to justice.

Bayard Rustin and Cleveland Robinson march on Washington Picture: Walter NaegleBayard Rustin and Cleveland Robinson march on Washington Picture: Walter Naegle

“It came about when I was in the US. I learnt about some of the sacrifices parents were making as part of the civil rights movement, and I thought these were issues which were universal. I realised we could find strength in these stories and relate them to our lives.”

The exhibition is working in partnership with Living Song, a Newham-based company challenging social injustice through the use of song. The music focus will come via a jukebox playing freedom songs, and the launch, on March 3, will feature choirs from the borough.

Carrie said: “Action can be singing. You can find your own power and strength through your voice, it doesn’t always have to be about campaigning.”

The free exhibition has already travelled its way across the country, with each display centred on local stories.

Newham’s will include the poor man’s lawyer, who helped working-class people in the borough access legal aid in the sixties, and the Newham 8 race attacks.

“We always involve the local community with an exhibition focusing on the issues they care about,” Carrie said.

“It becomes a time to plan and reflect together on how to make a difference.”

The launch is on March 3 from 3.00 until 5.00pm. The display will run every day except Sundays from March 5 until April 30, 10.30am until 7.30pm.

To register for the launch, visit eventbrite.co.uk and search Journey to Justice Newham Music and Freedom Project.

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