Nana Bonsu Black History project website officially launched

2014-06-21 18.21.25This Black History project website was officially launched on 21st June at the fantastic event at Z-Arts.  In addition to the amazing exhibition and the array of speakers, performances and the film showing, there was Kooj Chuhan (Metaceptive Media) who presented this website to the audience.  The key things about this website are:

  • Design – using a style that looks professional and clear but does not look corporate, over technological or austere.  I wanted it to reflect a sense of warmth and community, along with the Pan-African background colours reflecting perspectives that were so central to Nana’s beliefs and work.
  • Home Page – this is a snapshot of the content that is on the website, as well as creating a portrait reflecting Nana’s life and work.  It uses a graphic magazine-style format including an image slider so that there are 9 image-links directly from the home page to key parts of the website plus the link to the 100 Great Black Britons website.
  • Functionality – the site has an easy to navigate menu system, and directly from the home page you can see the range of material that is available – the different kinds of informations as well as downloads and video.
  • 2014-06-21 18.21.54Content – the website contains 18 web-pages describing different aspects of Nana’s life and work; 21 video interviews; various PDF downloads including the magazine; the keynote film “Celebrating Nana Bonsu”; a photographic archive; and a simple blog of news updates.
  • Social media – each page of the website has little icons at the bottom that can be clicked to immediately share that page via Facebook or Twitter.  There are continually visible Facebook, Twitter and YouTube symbols at the top of the website which lead to First Cuts own pages that can be liked or followed for future updates and support.
  • Comments – people who visit the website can add their comments to any page if they wish.   This gives the website the opportunity for different views and perspectives on Nana Bonsu and the subject matter to be expressed.
  • Fully optimised for search engines – so that Google and the rest can index and locate the website easily when anyone searches for information about Nana.

Please add your comments to any page of the website you might be interested in, or share any of the pages via Facebook or Twitter.   Any comments about this website?  Please add them at the bottom of this page, or get in touch with us using the contact page.


Nana Bonsu Exhibition Launch

Celebrating the life and work of Manchester’s most celebrated black campaigner, 
Beresford Edwards (25.06.1930 – 16.03.2003)

Launch Banner_sThe Nana Bonsu Exhibition is on from Tues 17 June – Sat 28 June 2014. You can register to attend the launch event on Sat 21 June 5pm – 9pm (free) at
The exhibition launch will be opened by His Excellency HE Laleshwar KN Singh, Guyanese High Commissioner and Cllr. Susan Cooley, Lord Mayor of Manchester. Special guests include Chief Mama Elouise Edwards MBE and family.

Known variously as Courthouse Edwards, Baba Berry and Chief Nana Bonsu (the honorary title conferred on him by African Mancunians) Beresford Edwards was one of the founding fathers of the African Caribbean community in Manchester. Trained as a printer, he moved to Britain in 1961 with his wife Elouise and raised a family of four: Beresford Jnr, Mark, Ian and Conrad.

A man larger than life, Berry became well known through a case which set legal precedent, when he took on one of the most powerful trade unions in Britain, the Society of Graphical and Allied Trades (SOGAT – the printers union) and won! Lord Denning turned down the appeal by SOGAT in 1968, stating:

“No trade union can give itself an unfettered discretion to expel a man or to withdraw his membership. The reason lies in a man’s right to work.”

Berry fought racism and defended the rights of black people in the UK ever since he made his home in Moss Side, Manchester:

  • Secretary of the national Campaign Against Racial Discrimination, which led to the UK Race Relations Act (1968).
  • Chairman of the Guyanese Association in Manchester and helped to found Manchester’s West Indian Organizations Coordinating Committee.
  • Secretary of the Manchester branch of the Pan-African Congress Movement. (In 1945 the 5th Pan African Congress met in Manchester. Decisions taken at this Congress led to the liberation of many African Nations).
  • Worked with the New Cross Massacre Action Committee in the North West following the death of 13 young black people in a fire in south London, 1981.
  • Campaigned against the notorious ‘SUS’ laws.
  • Campaigned against deportation laws.
  • Established Summer Schools at Carmoor Road, West Indian Centre for black school children and initiated widening participation programmes with Manchester Universities.
  • Organised the annual Culture Week at the West Indian Centre and helped develop Black History month.

Berry was voted one of the 100 greatest Black Britons in 2004; see:

Ian Johns, Chair of First Cut, said: “We at First Cut are grateful for the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund. The exhibition will communicate how much British attitudes to racial diversity have changed since the 1960’s and will reflect on how much we all owe to the work of people like Beresford Edwards in promoting equal opportunities.”

Since July 2013, 42 volunteers have taken part in the project, including a series of workshops covering video production, web site development and desk top publishing. Volunteers have received training in oral history recording techniques and have helped to film 23 video interviews of people who knew Berry Edwards. The interviews bring out what inspired and sustained his pursuit for social justice as well touching on his humorous side, personal and family anecdotes.
Short excerpts of the videos will be shown at the exhibition and the Nana Bonsu website will be launched. See:

Tony Reeves, First Cut Coordinator said: “We hope people (black and white) will reflect on the life of Berry Edwards as a role model. Young people today continue to face various forms of discrimination and may perhaps doubt that conditions have improved or can improve. This exhibition is designed to look back at how far we have come, but also to look ahead at how we can move forward. We are calling anyone who cares about the communities of Moss Side and Hulme to work with us – to create jobs, education, training opportunities, healthcare and support for older people.”

(- from Ahmed Iqbal Ullah Race Relations Trust newsletter)