29 October, 2009 — The Morning Star Online
Olive Morris speaking at a rally against police brutality outside Brixton Library (ca. 1972)
Introducing an inspirational civil rights campaigner whose life and work offer important lessons for the left
In an age when xenophobia and Islamophobia are being stoked by illegal wars and immigration myths, the need to wrench hidden realities from history in order to see today’s truths has never been more urgent.
And thanks to the Remembering Olive Collective (ROC) founded by artist Ana Laura Lopez de la Torre in 2007, a bit of this history became available to the public last week at the Lambeth Archives in Brixton, south London.
Olive Morris, despite her awe-inspiring short life, remains virtually unknown. And she is one of the greatest unsung heroes I have ever come across.
My encounter with Morris began when a friend switched on my radar for forgotten female protagonists. He mentioned a local project he was doing on four practically unheard-of women activists who left in their wake cultural, social and political improvements which are enjoyed not just in London but in some instances internationally.
Three of these women were black.
With my radar on standby, I stumbled across a website which asked me if I “remember Olive Morris?” above a picture of a young black woman smiling with her shades on behind a megaphone.