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Day of action for equality commemorated during Black History Month

Coinciding with Black History Month, Tideway has been working at one of its sites to commemorate a march for equality that happened nearby 40 years ago and the tragic events that led to it.

In March 1981, Blackfriars Bridge saw the UK’s biggest anti-racist demonstration of the 20th Century, when approximately 20,000 people marched from New Cross to Hyde Park calling for racial justice and equality.

The Black People’s Day of Action was triggered by the New Cross Fire, when 13 Black children were burned to death in a suspected racist arson attack while celebrating the 16th birthday party of Yvonne Ruddock.

Three large scale boards at Tideway’s site in Blackfriars now use photography from the day itself, along with information gathered from Black History Walks and the George Padmore Institute, to tell the story of the day of action and events that led to it.

Mathew Duncan, Tideway’s Chief Financial Officer and sponsor of the project’s race equality group, said: “With such strong imagery and a story that still resonates today, our goal is to continue sharing the background of the day of action and the tragic events that led to it, to continue to tell this story and remember those lives that were lost.”

Tony Warner, Director of Black History Walks said: “The Black People's Day of Action and the preceding New Cross fire of 1981 should be common knowledge across mainstream British society and within the education system from primary to university level.  These illustrative, historical  billboards will help that process.”

Blackfriars Bridge was specifically chosen for the march because of its close proximity to the city’s financial district. It also allowed protestors to be noticed by the national press, based in Fleet Street.

For more information on Black History Walks, click here.