Archive for the 'Bibliography' Category


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.


Red Pepper – Do you remember Olive Morris?

CHIDGEY, Red (August/September 2010) Do you remember Olive Morris?. London: Red Pepper, no. 173, pp. 34-35.

An article by DIY feminist historian Red Chidgey, on using blogs to reclaim feminist histories, focusing on the Remember Olive Collective.

You can read full article in Red’s blog.


absolute Feminismus

ANKELE, Gudrun (Ed) 2010. absolute Feminismus. Freigburg: Orange Press.

The image of Olive Morris is gracing the cover of a new book published in Germany. The book contains texts, manifestos, poems and songs by women activists from all times, including Simon de Beauvoir, Rosi Braidotti, Guerrilla Girls, Sushila Mesquita, Beatriz Preciado, Joan Riviere and Sojourner Truth.

It can be purchased online but be warned, it is written in German!.


Do you remember Olive Morris? Publication

COLIN, A., FORD, T., LOPEZ DE LA TORRE, A., SPRINGER, K. (eds) 2010. Do you remember Olive Morris?. London: Gasworks and Remembering Olive Collective.

The publication was the final outcome of the Do you remember Olive Morris? project, and was launched on Saturday 23 January 2010 with an event in Gasworks. The texts, articles, essays and inteviews included in this publication are organised in two categories: History and Remembrance/Legacy. The fist part provides a context to Olive Morris’ life and times, her work as an activist and that of her contemporaries. While the contributions largely focus on the British context, some draw parallels with movements and actions that took place in the 1970s in the US. The second part records the work and experiences of the many contributors to Do you remember Olive Morris? The publication also includes a selection of poems celebrating the spirit of Olive Morris and of her times, and is illustrated with historical photographs of the UK Black Panther Movement by Neil Kenlock, and of the many activities that made up the Do you remember Olive Morris? project.

The publication can be purchased at:

Lambeth Archives, Minet Library, 52 Knatchbull Road, London SE5 9QY
Black Cultural Archives, 1 Othello Close, London SE11 4RE

The publication is available on loan from all public libraries in Lambeth and for reference at many other libraries and resource centres including:
Iniva Library – London
Ahmed Iqbal Ullah Race Relations Resource Centre – Manchester
Chelsea College of Art and Design and Camberwell College of Arts Libraries – London
Institute of Race Relations – London
56a Infoshop Social Centre – London

We are hoping to publish the book in the blog as a series of dowloadable PDFs and to make sales available online.


Olive Morris short biographical note

Download a 1 page pdf with a short biographical note on Olive Morris, written by ROC member Emma Allotey and published by the


ROC interviewed by Nyansapo Radio

Remembering Olive Collective: Phone-in interview with Toyin Agbetu, Head of Social and Economic Policy, for Ligali’s Nyansapo Radio – Tuesday 10 March 2009

On Friday 6 March ROC had a stall inside Brixton Library as part of an event organised to commemorate International Women’s Day (8 March). Emma Allotey, Ana Laura and I were all there and we took it in turns to look after the stall, talk to people about Olive, and sell some of our lovely merchandise.

Our new poster’s arresting image of Olive speaking through a megaphone amongst a crowd of people captured a man’s attention. This man was Toyin Agbetu, founder of Ligali. As he stood there in front of the poster, he wondered about this brave unsung heroin and asked himself how come he had never seen or heard of her before.

Emma did a great job of informing the intrigued Toyin about Olive and her achievements, and he was so impressed that he decided to invite her to be a guest in his next radio show to share the message with a wider audience.

Emma could not do the interview, so she sent an email to the rest of the group asking if someone else (preferably of African descent due to Ligali’s remit – see below) could do it and I -reluctantly- put myself forward and volunteered.

Ligali describe themselves as a “Pan African Human Rights Organisation that challenges the misrepresentation of African people, culture and history in the British Media”. As a way of redressing the balance of power, Ligali produces “Africentric media, and education programmes that actively work for self-determination, socio-political freedom, physical health and spiritual wealth” (see for more information), hence the importance of having a ROC member of African descent as a guest speaker in their radio programme.

‘Empowering African Women’ was the title of the programme ROC featured in. Dedicated to International Women’s Day, the programme focused on the achievements of African women and discussed the issue of women’s activism. Consequently, the questions posed by Toyin centered around the legacy of Olive Morris as a black female figure, a community activist, and her relevance to the Pan African community -especially women – living in London today.

You can listen back to the programme by visiting Nyansapo’s audio archive


The f word – Olive would have told me to shut up and do something

Olive would have told me to shut up and do something by Tara Alturi
2 March 2009, The f word blog

Tara Atluri reflects on her time with the Olive Morris project as well as her being a part of the Remembering Olive Collective.

Olive would have told me to shut up and do something



South London Press – Civil rights hero Olive erased from history

Civil rights hero Olive ‘erased from history’ by Walter Hemmens
11 November 2008, South London Press

South London press 2008

A council has been accused of “erasing from history” the name of a woman hailed as one of Brixton’s heroes in the 1970s struggle for civil rights.
When the Lambeth council building in Brixton Hill names after Olive Morris, a member of the Brixton Black Panthers, was revamped as a “customer centre” last year, her name was removed from the part of the building used by hundreds of members of the public everyday.

A photograph of Olive and a plaque, unveiled by her mother Doris in 1986, were also taken down.
Olive’s name now appears only above and inside the staff entrance.

Veteran civil rights campaigner and poet Clarence Thompson said: “People who have dedicated their lives to changing the quality of life in Lambeth should be honoured and it should be forever.”

“You wouldn’t go interfering with Nelson’s Column would you? Why have they got to do that?. It sends a bad signal.” He was speaking after a meeting of the REmembering Olive Collective (ROC), an organisation set up last year to preserve Olive’s memory.

The meeting was held at the Karibu Centre in Gresham Road and was attended by Emory Douglas and Billy X Jennings – two veterans of the US Black Panthers that inspired Olive and the Brixton Movement.

Born in Jamaica in 1952, Olive made her mark as a feminist and black activist until she died from cancer aged 27. Only five out of 20 people spoken to by the South London Press outside Olive Morris House knew anything about her.

Liz Obi, chairwoman of the ROC, who squatted at 121 Railton Road with Olive and was in the Brixton Black Women’s Group set up by Olive, said last week: “She was a whirlwind of a person, really inspirational. She had a lot of energy. It’s tragic she died so young, she had a lot to give to the community.”

Ms Obi said the ROC and the Morris family wanted to reinstate a display about Olive’s life in the customer centre, but had been told by the council it would not match the centre’s new “corporate image”.

Poet Linton Kwesi Johnson, who was a member of the Brixton Black Panthers with her in the 1970s said after last week’s meeting: “Its tragic really, it shouldn’t be allowed to happen. She was someone who was very significant for Lambeth, and its part of the borough’s heritage.”

A council spokesman said: “We very much want to pay tribute to Olive Morris and her legacy in Lambeth, and we’re looking to reinstate a plaque near to its original location as well as looking at further options to mark her contribution. The building is already named after Olive Morris, in her memory and displays her name on the outside.”


South London Press – Black Panthers talk in memory of Olive

Black Panthers talk in memory of Olive
31 October 2008, South London Press

News item announcing the forthcoming Creation and Liberation event at Karibu Centre

South London Press October 2008

Brixton: Veterans of the radical US Black Panther movement are giving a talk on Monday to commemorate their UK peer Olive Morris – the community activist who died in 1979, aged 27. Creation for Liberation: Black Panthers in Brixton includes talks by US Panthers Emory Douglas and Billy X Jennings, Brixton Panther Neil Kenlock and poet Clarence Thompson.

It is at the Karibu Education Centre, Greshan Road at 7pm, £10 on the door, £7 in advance, £5 for U18s. Email Black Cultural Archives at or call 02075828516 for details.


South London Press – Brixton’s force to be reckoned with

Brixton’s force to be reckoned with by Jon Newman – Head of Lambeth Archives
19 October 2007, South London Press


If you mention the name Olive Morris in Lambeth most people think of the rather forbidding council offices on Brixton Hill which bear her name. Olive Morris House is on the right hand side as you go up from the Town Hall and has served since 1986 variously as Lambeth’s Finance and Housing Benefits office. Few would describe it as a lovely building and even the current makeover that will transform it into a Customer Centre is not going to change that rather brooding and monolithic quality that it has always had.

Anyone venturing inside Olive’s ‘house’- normally on business rather than pleasure – may notice the simple plaque in the foyer that records the opening of the building and its dedication to Olive, who died in 1979 at the age of just 27 and was the founder of the Brixton Black Women’s Group. It was one of a number of council buildings that were named or renamed in the 1980s to commemorate prominent black people in the borough. Who now remembers Paul Robeson House on South Lambeth Road, now the Comfort Inn hotel, or the fast-disappearing Mary Seacole House on Clapham High Street?

So far, so succinct. But just who was Olive Morris? There is surprisingly little information about her, either at Lambeth Archives or out on the web. But we do know that in her short life Olive not only helped found the Brixton Women’s Group but was also involved in setting up the Brixton Black Panthers – which in turn fed into various important Brixton-based groups like the Black Workers Movement and the Race Today Collective. She was also actively involved in the early squatting movement in the mid-70s. In other words she was an important player in aspects of Brixton’s recent history that could all too easily become forgotten.

Hopefully this is set to change thanks to a piece of work by local artist Ana Laura Lopez de la Torre who has just set up a web log to collect local people’s memories of Olive. The blog was launched at Lambeth Archives appropriately on the first day of Black History month and will remain open for contributions for the next 6 – 12 months.

If you want to find out more about Olive and the local politics of the 1970s; or if you have memories of those times yourselves that you would like to offer, then Ana Laura is waiting to hear from you. You can access the blog at

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