“It was January 1981 and a fire in New Cross takes 13 young peoples lives. When I heard the news like many I was in a state of shock!” Said Menelik Shabazz
“The fire was one incident that to many of us didn’t feel right. The police wanted us to believe there was an argument and that a black person was responsible – discounting a racist attack possibility.
“I got involved with the various organisations who came together to express community anger at the deaths and the way the police were handling the case.
“We were sure it was a racist attack in an area where similar types of incidents have happened before using petrol bombs. We organised the Black Peoples Day of Action March that was called for at the local community meeting and I felt impelled to record this moment on film.
“This incident touched people far and wide people were coming in coaches from across the UK. I borrowing old film stock from camera people who were sympathetic and organised two film crews. People like Chris Cox, Albert Bailey (sound), Roy Cornwall, Imruh Caesar (director on the day) came forward to support this effort.
“The film was edited in a deliberate newsreel style, a throwback to 2nd World War propaganda films. This was agit-prop filmmaking with no pretence at being impartial. In my mind it was a film for underground circulation in the community but the reality was different. Not many people saw the film as I expected simply because it was only available to show on a 16mm projector which restricted access. It is only in recent years that the film has been available on DVD.”
Film Producer Menelik Shabazz