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Obituary: Mr Len Garrison

Historian and educationalist Lenford Kwesi Garrison, who gained an MA in Local History at this University in 1992, died of a heart attack on Tuesday, February 18, aged 59. 

He graduated from Sussex University in 1976, where he had studied African and Caribbean history. In 1977 he founded ACER, The Afro-Caribbean Education Resource, publishing and producing learning materials drawn from the black schools. Out of this project grew schemes of which one, the Young Penmanship Awards for creative writing, was probably the most successful.

In 1988 Len went to Nottingham as director of Afro-Caribbean Family and Friends (Acff) - a move that expanded the reach of his work and included the establishment of one of the first effective mentoring projects, Build. He was also responsible for setting up East Midlands African Caribbean Arts. During this period Nottingham's city museum held an exhibition entitled The Black Presence. 

Arguably the most important figure in the black British community's exploration and understanding of its history, Jamaica-born Len Garrison was the Chair and Founder member of the Black Cultural Archives (BCA). In the late 1980s, he collected together a vital resource of documents, memorabilia and artefacts which, when the BCA joined with Middlesex University in 1997, went to create the Archive and Museum of Black History.

Recently he was selected to take part in a remarkable project tracing black people's DNA, carried out by Dr Mark Jobling of the University of Leicester. This project was featured in a recent BBC2 documentary, Motherland.

Len Garrison's achievements are documented in the book, Black Success Stories, which celebrates the successes and achievements of people of African heritage.

He is survived by his wife Marie and their son Tunde. 

Funeral arrangements: Len Garrison

March 2003 

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Last updated: 11 March 2003 17:00
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