City of London’s archives pay tribute to Guyana-born Cy Grant

City of London’s archives pay tribute to Caribbean hero

CARIBBEAN360  – MAY 4, 2016


Cy Grant

LONDON, England, Wednesday May 4, 2016 – The life of Guyanese-born Cy Grant whose extensive career spanned acting, song writing, black rights activism and the Royal Air Force, will be celebrated by a project at London Metropolitan Archives (LMA) to inspire young people and raise awareness of his achievements.

Documents, manuscripts, photographs and films dating from the 1940s to 2010, which chart Grant’s life and form part of the Cy Grant Archive, will be catalogued and made public for the first time, following an award of a £79,800 (US$115,711) grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund to Cy Grant Trust.

Grant, who died at age 90 in 2010, was enlisted as a Royal Air Force Flight Lieutenant Navigator in the Second World War, and also worked as a singer/song writer, broadcaster, writer, multi-ethnic arts community organiser, and activist. [see video below]  

BBC “Tonight” programme in 1959 with Cliff Michelmore, Cy Grant & Alan Whicker & Fyfe Robertson:

He was also the first black person to feature regularly on UK television, chiefly, because of his appearances on the BBC current affairs programme, Tonight with the late Cliff Michelmore.

In 2014, Grant’s family deposited the Cy Grant Archive at LMA and a year later, Cy Grant Trust, LMA and Windrush Foundation formed a partnership to oversee the archive project, which builds on a growing number of collections deposited at LMA by the Black African Caribbean community.

“This project means a great deal to our family,” Grant’s daughter Samantha Moxon said. “My dad’s dream was that the importance of his work should be recognized and never forgotten.”

Director of London Metropolitan Archives Geoff Pick said the LMA was “delighted that we have been entrusted with the Cy Grant Archive and have become a key partner in preserving and making accessible this outstanding collection that traces the life and work of a very special Londoner and hero of the Black Caribbean community”.

The project will connect young people to Grant and encourage them to learn about his achievements. Original source material will be made available to the public through youth/inter-generational workshops and events, a school education pack, online resources, and an exhibition hosted by the Marcus Garvey Library in Tottenham. Screenings will take place at The British Film Institute and LMA.

The project will run until spring 2017, with a final celebration event to launch the archive catalogue. The full release of the final catalogue will be available in 2017 by viewing London Metropolitan Archives’ online catalogue.

Black RAF World War 2 Hero Cy Grant – video

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  • Francis Quamina Farrier  On 05/06/2016 at 12:19 pm

    Is there anyone who can recall the last time that our Guyanese Hero Cy Grant visited Guyana? I can. While in Guyana, Cy Grant did a concert at the Theatre Guild Playhouse. I do not know whether anyone has any photographs of that performance or of that visit, or whether any News paper has records of that visit. Our Colonial masters seem to have more records of our Heroes than we have. What a shame! As a younger movie fan, I can recall Cy Grant in a movie entitled “Journey to the Center of the Earth.” The pride which that brought to Guyanese at that time. is now not available for the present generation of Guyanese. What a shame! We are now ‘celebrating’ our 50th Jubilee Year of independence!

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