Author Archive for Kimberly Springer

15
Nov
18

About the Remembering Olive Collective

In 2009 ROC launched the Olive Morris Collection at Lambeth Archives.

The collection comprises 30 oral history interviews with those who knew Olive and were involved in the political struggles of the 1960s and 1970s. All the interviews were recorded and transcribed by ROC members. The collection also holds Olive Morris personal papers and photographs, donated by Liz Obi. . ROC members trained as oral historians, learned  basics of archiving and cataloged the collection at Lambeth Archives, where the Olive Morris Collection is now housed.

If you would like to know more about the collection and how to access it, please contact Lambeth Archives directly.

The Do You Remember Olive Morris? blog and its contents (unless otherwise stated) is published and licensed by ROC for public use under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Sharealike 3.0 UK. This means you can share and remix the material, as long as it is for non-commercial purposes and you credit ROC and any other identified author of content as the source.

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12
Oct
09

Olive featured on the Brixton pound (B£) note

Brixton-Pound-notes-launc-001

As part of its drive to encourage and sustain local businesses, a group in Brixton have launched the neighbourhood’s own currency. Olive’s image is featured on the £1 and seems to be the note most media outlets highlight as representative of the spirit of the B£ project.

The Brixton pound (B£) can be purchased in £1, £5, £10, and £20 denominations and used at local participating businesses ranging from music shops to dance studios to food shops.

For information about exchanging sterling for B£ or becoming a trader accepting the B£, see the group’s website.

Further coverage of the B£’s launch and a range of perspectives on local currency/consumerism-as-activism, see the following links:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/sep/20/brixton-pound-local-currency

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/top-stories/2009/09/19/the-pounds-of-brixton-115875-21684869/

http://www.liberalconspiracy.org/2009/09/17/brixton-launches-its-own-local-currency/

http://transitionculture.org/2009/09/18/brixton-pound-launch-a-fantastic-success/

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ukpress/article/ALeqM5gv8caOd_8QHuZ0NB90KgPPq7T_sA

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/sep/16/will-brixton-pound-work

http://blog.thoughtomatic.co.uk/?p=343

27
Jul
09

Olive’s early activist intervention

An early incident in Olive Morris’ political awakening begins to demonstrate how she was, as her brother Errol Morris characterized her “a people’s person.” The common folklore states that on 15 November 1969 Olive, at the age of 17, intervened when the police arrested “a black man driving a nice car” on the streets of Brixton. Olive appears  disheveled here in a photograph taken at King’s College Hospital after her arrest. Her shirt is soiled, her face swollen.

The story of her arrest and the photograph circulate as evidence of Olive’s willingness to step into the fray and to do so boldly.

In a major newspaper’s report on the incident, the man driving the nice car was, in fact, named as Clement Gomwalk, a diplomat with the Nigerian High Commission who’d illegally parked his Mercedes in a “no waiting” zone while he and his wife did some shopping. The report goes on to note that six people, not solely Olive, were arrested and charged with “assault on police, threatening behavior, and possessing offensive weapons.”

As the newspaper later reports on Olive’s sentencing, “During the melee Miss Morris kicked a police officer and hit him on the jaw.” Olive’s handwriting on the reverse of the photo tells a different story, not related in the newspaper account: “Taken at about 10pm on 15th Nov 69 after the police had beaten me up.”

She received a suspended three-year jail sentence that was later reduced to one-year suspended.

The details of this event as it have come to signal Olive’s entry into activism with police abuses of the community being a key feature. Correcting the record to note that she did not, in fact, act alone, doesn’t detract from her bravery in intervening, but instead recasts Olive as an instigator of change. However, one gets the sense from her later activism that Olive didn’t seem to care whether people followed her or not. Commenting on Olive at ROC’s “Creation and Liberation: Black Panthers in Brixton” event, Brixton community activist Elaine Holness, who knew Olive said, she “didn’t mess around” and expected those in struggle with her to “hold the line and deliver.” Whether one of six people protesting an arrest or later mythologized as the sole intervener, this story begins to help us understand how Morris approached, in her short time, a life’s worth of activism centered on basic human rights. Or as British photographer Neil Kenlock describes it, Olive’s “fight for equality.”