Skip to main content
3 min read | Written by Bianca Danielle

This got our brains ticking. Who is represented in our gallery and around our city? We took to the streets to find out how people of colour are represented in Manchester. Here’s a few that we spotted, are there any that you think we’ve missed?

Nello James Centre

Location: 6 Whitby Avenue, Manchester M16 8WY (Withington Road)

Cyril Lionel “Nello” Robert James, was a Trinidadian historian, journalist and social theorist. He had an academic career during which he wrote several books that are still referenced today. Growing up in the Caribbean he was a prolific cricket player. He came to Lancashire with his friend and fellow Cricketer Learie Constantine, while helping him to write his autobiography. Following this, he took a job as cricket correspondent at the Manchester Guardian. In the 1980’s he left Manchester to travel around the world with Leon Trotsky, Kwame Nkrumah and Martin Luther King. On returning to the UK he settled in Brixton, where his portrait eventually appeared on the Brixton Pound – a currency created to keep the money local. The Nello James Centre is a tribute to this author of great works such as Beyond a Boundary – one of the best works on cricket to this day.

Marcus Garvey Court

Location: 147-151 Withington Road, Manchester M16 8FD

‘A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots

Born in Jamaica, Marcus Mosiah Garvey Jr. was a political activist, publisher, journalist, entrepreneur, and orator. He was the founder and first President-General of the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA), which aimed to make Africa a black-governed nation. Unable to attract a big enough following in Jamaica he moved to the United States, where by 1919 he gained a following of about 2 million and became known as “Black Moses”. He established a newspaper called Negro World, which celebrated heroes of the race and of the splendours of African culture. In 1919, Garvey and UNIA set up The Black Star Line a shipping company that would establish trade and commerce between Africans in America, the Caribbean, South and Central America, Canada and Africa. It was Garvey’s belief that blacks would be respected only when they were economically strong. Advocating for the Black Nationalism and Pan-Africanism movements, his ideas became known as Garveyism.

Nelson Mandela Court

Location: Range Road, Manchester M16 8FY

Nelson Mandela was a South African anti-apartheid revolutionary, political leader, and philanthropist who served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999. He was the country’s first black head of state and the first elected in a fully representative democratic election. His government focused on dismantling the legacy of apartheid by tackling institutionalised racism and fostering racial reconciliation.

Marcus Garvey Court and Nelson Mandela Court are two buildings built by the Arawak Walton Housing Association, created thanks to the vision of Louise DaCocodia who was passionate about satisfying the housing needs of the maturing African Caribbean community.

Mary Seacole Building

Location: University of Salford, Frederick Road Campus, Salford M6 6PU

As a mixed-race woman living in the 19th Century, Mary Seacole achieved some remarkable things. She broke social rules and prejudices to travel the world, run businesses and help those in need – even in the most dangerous places. As a nurse behind the lines in the Crimean War, she set up the British Hotel – described as ‘a mess-table and comfort quarters for the sick and convalescent officers”. Here she provided a place of rest and recovery for injured servicemen. Coming from the tradition of Jamaican and West African “doctresses”, her medicinal practice involved herbal remedies. In 1991, after her death she was awarded the Jamaican Order of Merit and in 2004 she was voted the greatest black Briton.

Arthur Lewis Building, University of Manchester

Location: The University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9PL

From an early age, it was clear that Arthur Lewis was made for great things. He finished school at 15, two classes ahead of his age, graduated from the London School of Economics and became Britain’s first black professor in 1937 when he was appointed by the University of Manchester. During his time in Manchester he contributed some of his most important work to the field of development economics, namely The “Lewis model” which was first described in his influential article “Economic Development with Unlimited Supplies of Labour”. In 1979, he was awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences.

Dr. Erinma Bell, MBE

Location: Manchester Central Library, St Peter’s Square, Manchester M2 5PD

Erinma grew up in Moss Side and lost a close friend to the rising gun crime which reached its peak in 2007. During this time, she set up CARISMA (Community Alliance for Renewal, Inner South Manchester Area) to give young people alternatives to street and gun crime. CARISMA has now become part of Chrysalis – a family support centre which helps migrant families. Erinma works as part of an inspirational network of community leaders and volunteers active across south Manchester, working towards a socially inclusive community. In 2010, she was awarded an MBE and holds an honorary doctorate from the University of Salford.

Windrush Millennium Centre

Location: Alexandra Road, Manchester M16 7WD

The Windrush Centre takes its name from the Empire Windrush, a ship which in 1948 transported many Caribbean people across the Atlantic to the UK. Invited by the British Government to help rebuild and revitalise Britain after the Second World War. Never before had so many Caribbean come to live in Britain at once. These people became collectively known as the Windrush Generation. Often when the passengers arrived on British Shores they didn’t get the friendly welcome they had hoped for – many experience racism and discrimination and found it hard to get a proper home to live in, to find work and to even make friends. Since 1986, the Windrush Centre has developed services to support local people to access training and employment opportunities in Moss Side, Hulme and the surrounding areas.

That’s the stories of some of the people, local and global, whose life and work are celebrated in the very fabric of our city. Have you noticed these before?

We’d love to know who you would add to our line-up. Who would you like to see represented in Manchester? Tweet us @contactmcr

Contact Young Company + Young Identity: Old Tools > New Masters ≠ New Futures

Wed 12 Jun – Sun 16 Jun (not Sat)
Manchester Art Gallery

What does a postcolonial future look like?
Maybe it looks like Beyonce in the Louvre or a Black Panther out-take or maybe we can come up with something even better…