Black History Month: Great War to Race Riots Book Launch

Friday 20th October 
Time: 6.30pm
Toxteth Library, Windsor St, Liverpool, L8 1XF
Buy Tickets here  

Join us for the launch of WoW’s latest book, Great War to Race Riots, the story of a unique archive of letters and documents from 1919-1920 which highlight the plight of black seafarers, soldiers and workers who supported the ‘mother country’ during the WW1. The archive contains the words of the men themselves in letters to Liverpool’s Lord Mayor, which were written against the back-drop of institutionalised racism, competition for jobs, and racial tensions which exploded into rioting on the streets of Liverpool in 1919. Great War to Race Riots, written by WoW’s Co-Director, Madeline Heneghan and local author, Emy Onuora (Pitch Black), is the culmination of in-depth research conducted by the Heritage Lottery funded Great War to Race Riots Archive Group. This dedicated team devoted their time and energies to uncovering the lost voices of these men who helped to shape Liverpool’s black community and contributed to Britain’s development.

This event also marks the launch of WoW’s first ever Black History Month Festival. Join us for a glass of wine or two, great music and lively discussion.

WoW would like to thank Joe Farrag, who brought the Archive to us and the Great War to Race Riots Group; Janaya Picket, Janet Johnson, Catherine Leen, Margaret Millne, Marmura Nyirenda, Rose Thomas, Sharon Lane, Suzanne Morris and Vicki Caren. The great War to Race Riots Archive group would like thanks the descendants of Robert Bynoe, Archibald Lyttle and Hubert Lewis for their support in the research process.

Black History Month: Walking Tour

Date: Saturday 21st October
Time: 1.30pm
Chinese Arch, Nelson Street, Liverpool, L1 5EW 
Get tickets here

As part of WoW’s Black History Month celebrations, we will be embarking on a historical walking tour of the L1 area, exploring a forgotten yet integral part of Liverpool’s cultural and racial history. Inspired by the hugely successful Great War to Race Riots Archive project and our on-going ‘Black Lives and Legacies 1919’ project, in association with Liverpool University, our volunteers have researched and mapped a history yet to be recognised in mainstream accounts of our city’s well documented past.

The racial riots of 1919 were a watershed moment for Liverpool’s longstanding black community. On the night of 6th June 1919 unprecedented racial violence erupted in the modern day Chinatown area that would continue for for days as gangs of people, reportedly in the hundreds or thousands, hunted out “any black man they could find … severely beating and stabbing” them. Black homes and businesses were looted and wrecked as over 700 members of the black community were removed from their homes into the main Bridewell, for their own protection.
As these people were, despite of the colour of their skin, citizens of the British Empire they could not be forcibly removed from the UK, much to the chagrin of Liverpool Council and Central Government.  The post WW1 economic and social slump encouraged xenophobic feeling amongst the local population, perpetuated by the media. During 1919 there was an increase in racial violence in other port towns across mainland Britain including Glasgow,Cardiff and others that signified a global antipathy towards ethnic minorities: this was the height of the Klu Klux Klan across the Atlantic and a period in Chicago’s history known as ‘The Red Summer’. 

Using official reports from the time we will trace the night of the 6th June 1919 visiting the residences of those involved as well as trailing the tragic last movements  of Charles Wootton, a 24 year old Bermudan sailor and victim of the 1919 riots, who was chased by a mob and drowned in Queens Dock. He was either swept, thrown or jumped in but once the dock was pelted with rocks. Not a single person was charged in connection with his death and the coroner’s ruling at the time supported this injustice. On the tour we will visit the memorial plaque laid for Charles Wootton by historian David Olusoga just last year.

We will then continue to trace the events of the week following Wootton’s death when large scale racial violence continued and spread into L8. The walking tour is just under 3 miles and accessible to all. We will finish at Toxteth Library just in time for a talk with David Olusoga about his award winning book Black and British. So join us, as with the aid of contemporary sources and photographs, we attempt to bring this lost piece of history back to life.

The tour will take place on Saturday the 21st October. We will begin at the Chinese Arch on Nelson Street at 1.30pm sharp so be sure to be prompt.

Black History Month: Benjamin Zephaniah and the Revolutionary Minds

Saturday 21st October
Time: 7:30pm until 1:00am
District Club, Jordan Street, Liverpool, L1 0BW 
Click here to buy your £12 ticket from Philharmonic Box Office

Philharmonic Box Office via telephone: 0151 709 3789 or directly from their Box Office from 9.30am-6pm.

Writing on the Wall and Positive Vibration are proud to present Benjamin Zephaniah & The Revolutionary Minds. Pioneering dub poet, writer, social commentator and music maker Benjamin Zephaniah has teamed up with renowned producer & engineer, 'The Sea', to create the incredibly timely album (and band) - 'Revolutionary Minds'.

On Saturday 21st October, we get to hear this powerful new dub reggae album, which tackles the indigestible topic of the world we live in today - from political & economic corruption and global warming to rampant racism and fascist patriarchy.

Amid this chaos, 'Revolutionary Minds' is the soundtrack for the modern revolutionist. It will make you feel empowered, hopeful, galvanised to make a difference and make you dance: it’s a dub thing.

This highlight event is part of Writing on the Wall's Black History Month mini Festival with further details about upcoming debates and discussions to follow.


Black History Month: David Olusoga - Black and British book launch

Saturday 21st October
Time: 4pm - 5.30pm
Toxteth Library, Windsor Street, L8 1XF
Click here to buy your £4/£2 tickets

Writing on the Wall and Waterstones present David Olusoga's Black and British: A Forgotten History as part of WoW's Black History Month mini Festival.

Join David Olusoga in exploring and discussing the rich and revealing story of the long relationship between the British Isles and the people of Africa and the Caribbean. Unflinching, confronting taboos and revealing hitherto unknown scandals, David Olusoga describes how the lives of black and white Britons have been entwined for centuries. The book is an accompaniment to the highly acclaimed BBC2 series for which David Olusoga organised the commemorative plaque in memory of seafarer Charles Wootton who was murdered in Liverpool during the 1919 race riots.  

31st October: Rap Vs Rhyme

Tuesday 31st October
Time: 6pm - 8pm 
Toxteth Library, Windsor Street, L8 1XF 

Are you interested in rap? Rap Vs Rhyme is your chance to show us what you've got and see TL / Tony Broke, C-Two and Miss Deep perform their own work.

Writing on the Wall presents a 6 week project to hone your writing skills plus a chance to perform live to audiences with the best Liverpool rap talent. So come along to the launch if you're interested in rap, poetry, performance and more. For 16-25s. 


Write to Work - Mosaics Book Launch

Thursday 12th October 
Time: 6.30pm
Siren Cafe 54 St James St, Liverpool, L1 0AB

Writing on the Wall are proud to announce Mosaics, an anthology of new work by talented writers from our 12 week programme, Write to Work, which helps unemployed learners explore their writing skills and serves as a route into employment, further learning or vocational training.

Congratulations to all those involved! The anthology includes quality stories, poems, reviews, articles and observations.  We’re thrilled and proud to showcase their work so come along to Siren on 12th October and meet the authors from 6.30pm. 

Ten Years on the Parish - Available to buy online

Click here to buy a copy of the book 

George Garrett’s autobiographical work Ten Years On The Parish, published here in full for the first time since it was written in the late 1930s, shines a light on the hardships and poverty endured by many in the years between the wars. Garrett was a merchant seaman, writer, playwright and radical activist, who was central to working class politics and culture in the 1920s and 30s in Liverpool and beyond. He travelled the world, wrote a series of documentary reports about poverty and struggle in the 1920s and 30s, three plays influenced by the new realism of Eugene O’Neill, and a series of short stories, which led George Orwell, who met him while researching The Road to Wigan Pier, to say he was ‘very greatly impressed by Garrett’. In the late 1930s he was a founder member of Liverpool’s Unity Theatre.

Liverpool City of Festivals

Liverpool is a city of festivals. Why don't you check out the website and explore some of the most groundbreaking and unforgettable festivals around? 


Finding Some Way Through (A City of the Mind)

Liverpool Mental Health Consortium and Writing on the Wall celebrated the launch of the soundscape: Finding Some Way Through (A City of the Mind), created by project participants, led by composer and musical director Patrick Dineen. 

On Monday 16th January at The Rotunda Cafe, we had an excellent turn out, full of enthusiasm and thought-provoking listeners willing to add their own 'inner city' thoughts to the city the participants had already created.

We recognise that mental health is an issue that never goes away, although we aired this piece on Blue Monday we would like to play the piece wherever necessary. If you feel like you know a place that would like to help raise mental health awareness by playing this piece, please send us an email at

If you missed out on hearing the piece, it is now available to listen to on the Liverpool Mental Health Consortium's Soundcloud.

Contact WoW

Address:  Toxteth Library, Windsor Street, Liverpool, L8 1TH
Map: Click Here for our location page

Tel:  0151 703 0020

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