Black Creatives and the Archive: Surveillance and the State

Join us for Perry Blankson's talk: 'The Secret War on Black Power in Britain and the Caribbean’

This Wikipedia workshop aims to expand and amplify knowledge produced by and about Black creatives in the twentieth century. At this Wiki editing workshop, you will receive training on creating and editing Wikipedia pages in order to communicate the hidden gaps of Black history in British culture of the twentieth century, and the impact of surveillance.


You will also be invited to explore resources that can enable better citation justice for BIPOC knowledge producers, and greater access to archive collections documenting Black British histories. Documents will be on display from The National Archives for participants to view. With expert support from Wikimedians and researchers alike, this is an unmissable opportunity to improve Wikipedia for the better.

We are delighted to welcome Perry Blankson as our guest speaker. Perry is a Tribune columnist and a project coordinator at the Young Historians Project, working to encourage the development of young historians of African and Caribbean descent. He is also a member of the Editorial Working Group for the History Matters Journal.

Perry’s talk is entitled ‘The Secret War on Black Power in Britain and the Caribbean’. Often the term ‘Black Power’ evokes thoughts of Malcolm X, Kwame Ture and the American Black Panther Party, however Black Power was a phenomenon that simultaneously developed in Britain and the Caribbean in the latter half of the twentieth century. This brief talk will explore some of my research into the attempts of the British state to surveil, monitor and document individuals and organisations associated with Black Power. The National Archives holds most of the archival material on this subject which can be found under class marks KV (MI5), MEPO (Metropolitan Police), FCO (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) and more, with invaluable work being done by the Special Branch Files Project to unearth much of this material. From the material available in the archives, it is clear that surveillance was a powerful tool in the arsenal of the state in their efforts to suppress and ultimately dismantle the burgeoning Black Power movement across the globe.

Book Ticket here

Date and time: Wed, 25 January 2023, 13:00 – 17:00 GMT

Location: The National Archives Bessant Drive Kew TW9 4DU

The National Archives

The National Archives is the official archive and publisher for the UK government, and for England and Wales. We are the guardians of some of our most iconic national documents, dating back over 1,000 years.