Strong and proud – for 37 years, The Voice has been fighting your corner

We reflect on the humble beginnings of Britain's best black newspaper

FROM ITS humble beginnings from a small office in Hackney, east London, in August 1982, The Voice newspaper has been speaking up for Britain’s black community and championing their rights.

It was the vision from its inception by The Voice founder Val McCalla that Britain’s fast-growing black community should have a voice amid all the social unrest erupting during the 1970s and early 1980s.

Indeed, the lead story on the front page in the first edition on August 28, 1982, above, was about an east London family who were being targeted by a racist gang.

This marked the beginning of the publication’s longstanding reputation for campaigning on the many issues which affect the welfare of black Britain.

HUMBLE BEGINNINGS; First issue of The Voice newspaper back in 1982

A quick dive into The Voice’s archive also revealed that this has been the strength of the newspaper over the past 37 years.

In January 1983 under the headline ‘Doorstep Death’, The Voice was the first newspaper to interview the family of Colin Roach, the 21-year-old black man who died mysteriously in the foyer of the Stoke Newington Police Station from gunshot wounds.

THERE FOR YOU: The Voice has changed a lot since its inception in the 1980s, but one thing remains the same – our commitment to connect, campaign and celebrate with our community

There were no witnesses on the scene where the death occurred and the police initially said it was a suicide. This led to tensions on the street and the demand for a public inquiry by the black community.

The next year, The Voice led a campaign to get the Home Office to change a decision to deport a blind musician who had faced a six-year battle to stay in England.

‘Blind man’s joy’ was the headline when 36-year-old Anthony Starret Francis received the news that he had won the right to stay. The Voice was also not afraid to take on the national newspapers – and in March 1985 it accused The Sun of being racist and urged our readers not to buy it. This was after the notorious tabloid described Everton Samuels, a Rastafarian, as being work-shy after he faced a series of legal woes and a judge gave him seven days to find a job.

FROM THE ARCHIVES: The Voice was not afraid to take on the national newspapers

The Voice headline proudly declared…

To read the rest of this article, which appeared in our Black History Month edition, download the October issue of The Voice newspaper here or click here to become a subscriber. 

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