Black History Month meeting — John Archer: black pioneer of labour politics

Sunday 24 October 2021

Sean Creighton on the life, times and politics of John Archer.

 

In 1913 left-wing activist John Archer was elected Mayor of Battersea, becoming the first black council leader in London. This remarkable event, which caused great excitement and controversy at the time, was brought about by a Battersea left and labour movement with a broader record of pioneering minority representation and anti-racist and anti-imperialist politics.

A central figure in radical Battersea through the stormy events of the first three decades of the 20th century, Archer was also heavily involved in the growth of UK black activism and in black and pan-Africanist organising internationally. He was central to the election of Indian nationalist and Communist Shapurji Saklatvala as the first Labour MP of colour — and was a close ally of Saklatvala until the Labour-Communist split pulled them apart.

To celebrate Black History Month, we have invited radical South London historian Sean Creighton, an expert on Archer, to speak about Archer’s life, times and politics and their lessons for the struggle today. See Less

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