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Community hero’s life honoured by new project

A LIFE REMEMBERED: Beresford Edwards

A SPECIAL project to commemorate the life of one of Manchester’s well-known black campaigners is set to get underway.

Beresford Edwards, who lived in Whalley Range, came to national prominence in the 1960s when he won a landmark legal case which changed employment rights after he challenged his dismissal by a union.

Originally from Guyana, he was given the honorary title Chief Nana Bonsu. He later established Saturday schools to help children learn about their African Caribbean heritage and was seen as a leader of Manchester’s black community.

He passed away at the age of 63 in 2003 and a library bearing his name was opened at the West Indian Sports and Social Club in the city two years ago.

Washington Alcott, who runs the Nana Bonsu Library at the West Indian Centre, said: “Nana Bonsu was one of the foremost migrants from the Caribbean who helped bring to this country the political and social belief that African and black people are no less than any other.

"His work demonstrated that and it is an important part of Afro-Caribbean and British heritage. Now thanks to this funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund it can be recorded.”

A £49,700 grant by the Heritage Lottery Fund will now make it possible for people in the city to learn about his life through an exhibition, documentary and oral histories project that will outline his legacy.

People who knew Edwards, or have photographs or memories of him, are being asked to come forward to take part in the project.

The participation of young people will also form a big part of the project as they will be trained to research material on Edwards’ life and carry out interviews for the oral history project.

These findings will be used to create a website, exhibition and documentary.

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