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LSBU to commemorate life of C. L. R. James during Black History Month

London South Bank University (LSBU) to celebrate the remarkable achievements of Cyril Lionel Robert James by holding an event as part of Black History Month
10 October 2016

On Wednesday 26 October, LSBU is holding an event in the recently renovated Elephant Studios to commemorate the life and works of the much celebrated and acclaimed historian and sports journalist, C. L. R. James.

The event will include a screening of the first-of-its-kind feature-length documentary "Every Cook Can Govern: The life, works and impact of C. L. R.", and will also include a Q&A with the co-director of the film, Ceri Dingle, at the end.

The crowd-funded, crowd-featured and crowd-filmed production will explore the life, writings and politics of the Trinidadian-born literary author and critic, interweaving never before seen footage and personal testimonies from those he knew - alongside interviews with the world’s most eminent scholars of James’ life, work and politics.

Philip Hammond, Professor of Media and Communications at LSBU and organiser of the event, said:

“There are three reasons I jumped at the chance to screen this new film about the life and works of C. L. R. James as part of Black History Month at LSBU.

“Firstly, because James was, by any standards, a truly remarkable man whose achievements deserve to be celebrated and made more widely known.

“He was an accomplished literary author and critic, an acclaimed historian, a brilliant sports journalist, and above all an indomitable revolutionary Marxist whose writing and activism influenced working-class politics in the UK, the US and the Caribbean, as well as having an impact on the pan-African movement.

“Secondly, because this remarkable film is crowd-funded and also crowd-filmed. Worldwrite, the education charity behind the documentary, trained over 200 young volunteers to research, write, shoot and present the work, which was shown at the Trinidad & Tobago Film Festival last month.

“Thirdly, because I believe that, indeed, every cook can govern. The film’s title – taken from a 1956 essay in which James upheld a commitment to radical democracy against the labour-movement bureaucracy of his day – reminds us that progressive politics starts from trusting the competence and creativity of ordinary citizens, not looking for paternalistic guidance from elites. James died in Brixton in 1989, but his ideas remain strikingly relevant to our present.”

The LSBU screening will take place on Wednesday 26 October, 1.30pm, Elephant Studios Cinema (Room L294). The programme of interactive events will also include talks, networking opportunities, competitions, music and film.

Find out more about Black History Month at LSBU.