We blogged earlier this year about the activist and campaigner, Olive Morris. Now people are campaiging to keep her memory in Brixton.
In remembrance of Olive Morris, a civil rights activist, Lambeth Council commemorated the Anti-racism Year in 1985 by renaming their housing benefit offices Olive Morris House to acknowledge the contribution she made to the lives of disadvantaged communities in Lambeth.
Shamefully, the Council demolished Olive Morris House during the coronavirus lockdown.
The installation of a statue of Olive Morris in Brixton’s Windrush Square Peace Garden would be symbolic of her legacy and illuminate in the hearts and minds of the people of Lambeth and communities beyond.
As the Black Lives Matter movement demands the removal of monuments to white, male slavers and colonialists, it is time to erect new ones that commemorate Black female fighters.
Olive was born on 26 June 1952 in Jamaica and arrived in the UK when she was nine. Growing up, Olive saw inequalities and systematic discrimination embedded in the systems of education, policing, housing, health and unemployment. From the age of 15, she joined the Black Panthers Movement Youth Collective at 38 Shakespeare Road.
Olive lived in at least nine addresses in Brixton, where she campaigned for the rights of people and organised protests in solidarity with Black, Asian and white workers on picket lines. From 141 Railton Road, after a rooftop demonstration, she launched her printing press where she published The Squatters Handbook and secured an agreement in 1973 from Lambeth Council to buy abandoned flats on behalf of squatters.
Whilst living at 65 Railton Road in 1974, Olive founded the Brixton Black Women’s Group. In the same year she joined the Race Today Collective and in 1978 established the Organisation of Women of Asian And African Descent (OWAAD).
Not only did Olive re-shape the race equality agenda in Lambeth, she also influenced national and international politics. In 2007 her image featured on the first Brixton Pound note.
She was 27 years old when sadly her life was cut too soon on 12th July 1979 by illness. An installation of her statue will be a reminder to everyone to commit themselves to be the best they can be and in unity strive to improve human rights, equality and justice for an equal society.
If you agree, please sign our petition, calling on Lambeth Council to commission and erect a statue of Olive Morris in Windrush Square.
Brixton Buzz and if you wish, you can also sign their petition
Read more about Olive Morris