Published: 30th June, 2011
by JOSIE HINTON
A PLAQUE has been unveiled in Somers Town to a leading political thinker and Pan-Africanist.
George Padmore, main organiser of the fifth Pan African Congress in Manchester in 1945, lived at 22 Cranleigh Street between 1941 and 1957.
On Tuesday, academics and activists braved heavy rain to see the commemorative plaque unveiled.
Selma James, widow of CLR James, the influential Trinidadian social theorist and historian, said: “Every anti-colonial activist organising against British imperialism came to 22 Cranleigh House, Cranleigh Street.
“George and Dorothy would give dinners to all the people who came to them. They were in the struggle together for many years – dedicated internationalists and socialists.”
The plaque – unveiled 98 years to the day after Padmore was born – was organised by the Nubian Jak Community Trust in collaboration with Camden Council and the High Commissions of Trinidad and Tobago and Ghana.
The ceremony was also attended by Lord Boateng, first black Cabinet minister in the UK. High Commissioner of Ghana Professor Kwaku Danso-Boafo paid tribute to “an inspirational gentleman who decided to devote and sacrifice his life to the cause of Africa.”
Dr Aggrey Burke, a consultant psychiatrist, and vice-chairman of the George Padmore Institute, referred to Padmore’s key role as adviser in Ghana’s first independent under Nkrumah in the 1960s.
But of Caribbean immigrants today he said: “Some would say things have improved for the migrant Caribbean populations and their offspring,” he said. “Others would ask: What about the youngsters and how many of the older ones have taken flight?’
He ended with a quotation from the Jamaican poet Roger Mais: Men of ideas outlive their times /An idea by such a man does not end with his death.