Historical visits, research and discussion

DSC_0216_sWith First Cut Media, coordinators of the Young Roots Project, a series of activities were organised to research information about the 1945 Congress that would be become the basis for a website. Local historian Linford Sweeney was contracted to act as historical adviser in order to support young people who had volunteered to carry out research as part of the PAC45 Young Roots Project. Here, Linford explains the following activities that took place:


Research Skills

Six young people attended an introduction to carrying out research that included:

Activities – Identifying, collecting, organising and presenting information

Objectives – to acquire research skills; to gain historical knowledge

Identifying information sources – where to find relevant information; how to retrieve that information

Planning – preparation needed before undertaking research, e.g. note book, pen, location of information, etc

Accessing the information – procedures, e.g. appointment, what can and cannot be done when viewing items/information, etc

Basic communication skills – questioning, listening

Actual research – note taking, scanning, relevance, selectivity, recording, and noting down all sources

Organising – summarising all information in own words




Part of my role was to assist young people in identifying, organising and preparing for visits to appropriate resource depositories and tours.


Ahmed Iqbal Ullah Race Relations and Resource Centre (AIURRRC)

On Tuesday 26 October, I attended AIURRRC (based at Manchester Central Library) accompanied by two young people prepared to research a variety of publications, films, news, audio interviews and calendars. There was also a talk given by an archivist about the items kept by the library and how they should be used. The following items were accessed on the day:

  • DSC_0148_sBooks (Kwame Nkrumah biography, Len Johnson biography, the Pan-African Congress 1945 by Marika Sherwood Hakim Adi),
  • The Maniro faro film,
  • Grinter interviews with delegates taken in 1995 ( who had attended the 1945 Conference), available as audio and transcript
  • The Ahmed Iqbal Ullah Education Trust (AIUET) calendar created and used for the PAC 1945 sixtieth anniversary held in 2005.
  • Free standing exhibition boards providing information about some of the noted delegates to the Congress, including Kwame Nkrumah, Jomo Kenyatta and Ras T. Makonnen.
  • Other relevant material on Black British history at the time.


20151028_114507_sLiverpool‘s International Slavery Museum

On 28 October five young people spent a day in Liverpool visiting the International Slavery Museum, and going on a two hour tour of Liverpool’s slavery past with noted historian Mr Eric Lynch. Their eyes were opened by the information given by Mr Lynch, an eighty-three year old resident of Liverpool who has been providing tours of Liverpool’s building and decoding its slavery past.


Working Class Movement Library (WCML)

We accompanied three young people to WCML on 29 October where they were introduced to the collection of information and artefacts. The following were accessed by young people:

  • Box files filled with information about Len Johnson, Manchester in the 1940s, his meetings with other black activists, his attendance at the Conference, racism and much more. These were examined by the young people.
  • An original flyer advertising the occurrence of the Manchester Pan-African Congress, 1945.
  • An original attendance ribbon worn by a delegate to the conference


Manchester Metropolitan University

I organised a visit to this exhibition so as to widen young people’s knowledge of the issues that led up to the organisation of the 1945 Congress..I accompanied two young people to the exhibition held at Manchester Metropolitan University on 29 October. It was an exhibition on ‘Diversity’ and included information on racist images, books and news articles during the twentieth century.


DSC_0126_sBlack Cultural Archives

A trip was organised for nine young people to visit the newly opened Black Cultural Archives, based in Brixton, London. The trip took place on Saturday 21st November. I organised the booking of the trip, access to the reading rooms and visiting the in-house exhibition. Unfortunately, weekend bookings meant that access to the full range of archived materials was limited. Activities included:

  • Young people had the chance to research specific historical figures that had attended the 1945 Congress, including Kwame Nkrumah. However, it was noted that the range of material available in the library was quite sparse.
  • Listened to audio interviews by Mrs Elouise Edwards (a resident of Manchester)
  • Attended the exhibition of Black Georgians, which raised questions about black people and their presence in Britain over the past five hundred or so years. Answers were provided that helped to clarify the role of black people in world history.


Linford Sweeney

12 February 2016


Photo gallery of the visit to the Black Cultural Archives in London:

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