Lenford Garrison

(1943-2003) was born in St Thomas, Jamaica. His parents immigrated to Britain in 1952 and 1953, where he joined them in 1954.

In his formative years, Len, a pupil at Kingsley grammar school, Chelsea, pursued his interest in photography by working as a part-time cinema projectionist in Clapham Junction. He went on to study the subject at King's College London and later became the specialist in medical photography at Guy's hospital. In 1971, he went to Ruskin College, Oxford, where he wrote a dissertation on the Rastafarian movement in Jamaica, achieving a diploma in Development Studies; in 1976 graduated in African and Caribbean History at Sussex University; and in 1992, gained an MA in local history at Leicester University.

Len successfully combined academic pursuit with community activism. He was a founder member of the International Social Group in the 1960s. In 1977 he founded The Afro-Caribbean Research Project to publish and produce learning materials drawn from the Black British experience for use in the school curriculum. He also established the Black Young Writers Award Scheme, which encouraged and exposed the talents of hundreds of young Black writers in the 1970s and 80s. In 1977, he represented Britain at the Festival of Arts and Culture (FESTAC) in Nigeria.

In 1981, Len co-founded the Black Cultural Archives (BCA) in the heart of Brixton market. His extensive collection of documents, memorabilia and artefacts were a vital resource for the BCA.

He set up the Afro-Caribbean Family and Friends (ACFF) Education and Culture Centre in Nottingham in 1988. During the ten years' as its Director, he established several community initiatives. This included the first effective mentoring projects, known as Build, a scheme for supporting the carers of orphaned and abandoned Black children. He also set up East Midlands African Caribbean Arts and 1993 saw the first exhibition on 'The Black Presence in Nottingham'.

Remember what we inherit today has been hard won with bloodshed and sacrifice by others yesterday.