International African Opinion journal

date: 1938 onwards

Found in archive at Warwick University

The struggle against British colonialism in Africa was waged from Cranleigh St in Somers Town. Here for several years resided George Padmore. Padmore was an author and journalist arguing the cause of Pan-Africanism and independence from colonial rule. His home at Cranleigh Street served as the Headquarters for the International African Service Bureau in the 1940s, which made the British public aware of injustices under colonial rule in Africa, proposed reforms and encouraged links between African and British trades unions. Through his door went anti-colonial activists from across the world, including his friends and political allies C.L.R. James, Kwame Nkrumah, Jomo Kenyatta, Amy Ashwood Garvey, T. Ras Makonnen, I.T.A Wallace-Johnson and Chris Braithwaite. His partner Dorothy Pizer was an activist and writer too.

The news bureau conveyed the inequities of what was happening under British colonial rule. Padmore also supplied news of the current state of British politics and implications for colonial governance. Each week, he wrote bunches of articles again, sent by airmail to newspapers in the colonies.

Padmore’s home became a port of call for visitors from British colonies seeking advice and a political network. In his ‘Notes on the Life of George Padmore,’ C.L.R. James recalled that ‘few were the African politicians who did not consult Padmore before their visits to the Colonial Office and check with him afterwards’.

in ‘George Padmore and Kwame Nkrumah’, Marika Sherwood argues that Padmore’s kitchen table ‘should have become a museum exhibit’ on the basis of Richard Wright’s claim that ‘almost all the present day leaders of Black Africa’ sat around it.

By Esther Leslie