Support CLR James name, Hackney North MP Diane Abbott asked

AN ORGANISER of the petition to save the name CLR James for the new library in Dalston has asked Hackney North and Stoke Newington MP Diane Abbott to support it.

Ngoma Bishop, of the Dalston-based Black and Ethnic Minority Arts group (Bema), say he has written to Abbott about the importance of James’s name to black people. He had earlier thanked me “for taking the lead”.

After Loving Dalston revealed on 19 February this year 2010 that the name would vanish from the library’s title – the first news outlet to report this – Hackney council’s libraries department decided to consider naming a section of the new building for James, along with one for Rose Lipman (1903-1974), whose name was on Hackney archives in Downham Road. Asked about Lipman, a Hackney councillor from 1959 to 1974, Bishop said it was up to “that community to campaign for that”. Bishop, who is also a writer, said Bema “would, of course, support any such initiative”.

Hackney Unison, the trade union, has spoken up for her, asking in a letter to a local newspaper on 16 September 2010: “What about [the memory of] this influential Jewish and socialist Hackney councillor of the 1960s and ’70s?”

The archives and the library are due to move early next year to the new building in the Barratt’s complex near Dalston Junction overground station, which the council is renting from the developer.

A second round of government-prompted council budget cuts is to due to start next month.

This may lead Hackney council to leave the CLR James in its present premises just east of Dalston Square.

Library chiefs have, however, told Loving Dalston that the library and the archives “certainly will be moving into the new building in the spring”.

David Altheer 190910

* Backstory: Hackney drops black hero

* Emboldened underscored words in most cases indicate a hyperlink, a reader service rare among websites. If a link does not work, it is probably because the site to which the URL refers has not been maintained.

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4 thoughts on “Support CLR James name, Hackney North MP Diane Abbott asked

  1. “The library and archive in Dalston will be a brand new £4.4 million facility, not located on the same site as the current CLR James library, bringing together a new library with the borough’s archive and local history service. It is not a refurbishment or rebuild of the current library.

    “The Council is very keen to ensure that the heritage of the old CLR James library is preserved, which is why it is proposed that a room in the new building will be named after Mr James. In addition to that, there will be a permanent exhibition in the building about the life and work of CLR James and an annual event to celebrate his achievements. We feel that this will do far more to commemorate his life and to educate future generations than what is at the current site.

    “The Council has apologised personally to his widow, Selma James, for failing to consult with her on these proposals and we hope to work with her to ensure CLR James continues to be remembered and honoured. “

  2. “certainly will be moving into the new building in the spring”.

    It was meant to be August 2010, then Jan 2011 now it’s Spring 2011. It will never happen mark my words.

  3. Another site’s reports this story at
    I probably should restate that anyone wanting to comment on any Loving Dalston stories may find the system irritating; for example, it seems to suggest that the only way to use anonymity is to comment as Anonymous. You can instead press on Name/URL and call yourself whatever you like. Under website, you can put, or any other site. So far as I can see, that keeps your identity secret, certainly from me.

  4. I wonder if Mr Ngoma Bishop can tell us what “Community” it is he refers to in preserving the Rose Lipman name, which is just as deserving if not more because of the local connection with Hackney, of which CLR James had none.

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