13 Dead, Nothing Said exhibition at Goldsmiths

In early January 1981 there was a house fire on New Cross Road literally a street away from where we are standing and 13 young black people died that day There was a suspicion that it was an arson attack there had been lots of racist arson attacks in the area. The crime was never solved, but in the aftermath of those events there was incredible ground swell of political mobilisation that culminated in this historic march that took place. The exhibition contains a number of photographs that I took. I took the pictures both as a participant in the march but also in my capacity as an editor at Searchlight anti-fascist, anti-racist magazine and it was a rainy day so people had umbrellas and the mood is very grey and sombre but there is also a small sort of celebration as well there was a really strong sense of resistance, and community and collective action I think you can tell from people’s faces that sort of determination that things cannot go on the same. So the march assembles literally outside the college more or less and Fordham Park on Blackfriars Bridge the police try to stop the march. The marchers refused to be stopped they push through, the march was represented in very racist ways actually. What is absolutely indisputable is the indifference of the wider society to the loss of those young black lives. What we want to try and do with the exhibit is try to bring that history inside the classroom inside the institution and make that link profound and deep and so it’s a kind of reminder of that history and why it’s important.

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