Islington’s Black History Month celebrates Keskidee Centre

12:00 01 October 2011

Keskidee pictured in 1975

Keskidee pictured in 1975


»Art and film events celebrating black culture and the famous Keskidee Centre are planned during a bumper four-week festival.

Keskidee Centre history

- Founded in 1971 by Guyanese-born Oscar Abrams and his fellow trustees, the Keskidee took its name from a singing Caribbean bird.

- The Keskidee became known for its thriving theatre productions and political rallies on topics such as Rhodesia.

It offered legal advice and classes in literacy, typing, cookey, photography, painting and pottery.

- The centre featured in Bob Marley’s 1978 Is this Love video which starred a young Naomi Campbell

- The Keskidee Centre closed because of diminished funding and growing debts in the early 1980s

- A permanent memorial in the form of a green plaque was unveiled at the Keskidee site by Tottenham MP David Lammy in April this year

Islington’s Black History Month, which runs throughout October, features a film festival, exhibitions, literary talks, poetry and performances.

The artistic theme pays homage to the former Keskidee Centre in Gifford Street, Islington, which was Britain’s first art and cultural centre for black people.


The final festival event will be held on the site in Gifford Street, which is now occupied by the Christ Apostolic Church.

The event between 7pm and 9pm on Thursday October 27 will celebrate its legacy.

Poet Linton Kwesi Johnson, Keskidee educational officer, said: “It was unique. There was nowhere else that you could find that kind of ambience to nurture creativity.”

Black History Month events include an online photographic exhibition Our City Through a Lens at the Almeida Theatre in Almeida Street, Islington, hosted by community group Parents 4 Parents and charting the life journeys of black residents.

A marketing event at the Emirates Stadium on Tuesday October 6 between 8.30am and 1pm will offer advice on starting a business.

Drama students from Islington Arts and Media School in Turle Road will stage a performance on Thursday, October 13, between 6.30pm and 7.30pm based on black innovation in civil rights and arts.

There will be a premiere of American film Traces of Trade, which documents the legacy of the largest slave trading family in the US, on Saturday, October 15, at King’s Place in King’s Cross between 2pm and 4pm, .

Cllr Catherine West, the leader of Islington Council said: “The festival showcases the extensive influence black artists and entrepreneurs have had on life in Islington.

“From writers to business people, musicians to educators, black culture is intrinsically part of Islington culture. It’s a shared history that enriches our community.Islington BME Forum have arranged a diverse and inspirational programme. I hope residents will take part whatever their background.”

Latest News Stories

Battersea’s longest serving volunteer Laurence Ackland-Smith, Battersea Chairman Heather Love, the Kennedy family, Battersea Chief Executive Claire Horton and a Freightliners volunteer

Battersea Dogs Home founder Mary Tealby has been honoured with an Islington People’s Plaque near the spot where she set up the original animal shelter.

Yesterday, 17:59
Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn delivers his first keynote speech on day three of the Labour Party annual conference. Photo: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire

Jeremy Corbyn is due to speak at a protest against postal cuts in Manchester today, as his rival party meets in the city for its conference.

Yesterday, 14:16
Doug Richard pictured in 2013

A former Dragons’ Den star from Islington appeared in court over child sex charges today.

Yesterday, 09:54
Old Street's junction with Golden Lane. Picture: Google Street View

A 52-year-old cyclist remained in critical condition this morning after she was hit by a lorry yesterday afternoon.

Most read news


You could be splashing the cash at Topshop!

Just imagine what you could do with £1,000 to spend at Topshop.

You won't need to fork out for groceries for a while!

Asda, one of the country’s leading supermarkets, prides itself in being one of the cheapest places to shop, so you can be sure that your money will go a long way here!

Digital Edition

Read the Islington Gazette e-edition today E-edition
Family Notices 24

Local business directory

Our trusted business finder