The Southwick Society will be unveiling a blue plaque to commemorate the late, great black Trinidadian cricket writer and revolutionary historian C.L.R. James (1901-1989) on Friday 17 March 2023 at 2pm at 290 Old Shoreham Road, Southwick.
C.L.R. James wrote his classic history of the Haitian Revolution, The Black Jacobins (1938) while staying on the South Coast of England. In his preface he described writing it ‘in the stillness of a seaside suburb’. The Haitian Revolution, led by Toussaint Louverture, was the only successful mass slave revolt in human history which saw the transformation of colonized slave society of Saint-Domingue into the world’s first independent black republic outside of Africa from 1791-1804.
Thanks to a letter James wrote on 19 July 1937 that was intercepted by Special Branch, we now know that he stayed in Southwick and thanks to the home’s current owners, the Southwick Society and the generous donations from a public crowdfunder, a blue plaque is now set to be unveiled to honour James and the writing of his magnum opus.
Twenty five years later, James published his semi-autobiographical cultural history of cricket in the West Indies, Beyond a Boundary which The Times described as the ‘most finely crafted book on cricket ever written’. This year is the 60th of the book’s publication in 1963.
Invited guests of honour at the unveiling of the plaque will include Leila Hassan Howe and Margaret Busby.
- Leila Hassan Howe is a black British civil rights activist and co-founder of the 1970s Race Today Collective. She has fought against state and street racism since the 1970s and has been an activist in her own right, quite apart from being the wife of the legendary Black Power activist Darcus Howe, great nephew of C.L.R. James.
- Margaret Busby is a writer, editor, broadcaster, literary critic, publisher and a family friend of the late C.L.R. James. Allison and Busby was C.L.R. James’s publisher from 1977-1989, and republished among other works The Black Jacobins in 1980.
The Southwick Society (registered charity 284197) is the local amenity society for Southwick and runs the Manor Cottage Heritage Centre which celebrates the history of Southwick and its people. The Society is marking its 50th anniversary this year.
For more information please see the successful crowdfunder,
|Plaque for C.L.R. James in SouthwickCampaign supported by the Southwick Society to raise £1000 for a blue plaque for C.L.R. James (1901-1989), author of The Black Jacobinswww.crowdfunder.co.uk
We encourage those planning to attend to assemble from 1.30pm-1.45pm at the address, which is on the South side of Old Shoreham Road, near the Hadrian Avenue stop on the 2 and 46 bus routes and, if coming from town, a couple of stops after the Tate’s garage stop (Southern Cross).
For more information please contact Nigel Divers of the Southwick Society at:
or Dr Christian Hogsbjerg of the University of Brighton at: