A report by Nicole-Rachelle Moore for Soca News.
The Cy Grant Trust was awarded a Heritage Lottery Fund grant and, together with its partners The London Metropolitan Archives (LMA) and the Windrush Foundation, Grant is being celebrated and honoured through a project spanning several months. The primary objective of the work is to encourage a connection with Grant through availability of relevant documents, films, manuscripts and photographs that will inspire young people and raise an informed awareness of his achievements and experiences.
By the time of his passing in 2010 at the age of 90, it was as if Cy Grant had packed many lives into one rather extraordinary one. Cy Grant was a Royal Air Force Flight Lieutenant Navigator during World War II. After the war, he was as an activist in London’s African-Caribbean community, an actor, broadcaster, multi-ethnic arts community organiser, singer/song writer and writer. Grant’s appearances on the BBC’s nightly current affairs programme Tonight, made him the first black person to feature as regularly on British television.
Samantha Moxon, one of Grant’s four children, expressed her family’s enthusiasm for the upcoming project, saying, “This means a great deal to our family. My dad’s dream was that the importance of his work should be recognised and never forgotten.”
The LMA’s director Geoff Pick said that they were, “delighted that we have been entrusted with the Cy Grant Archive and have become a key partner in preserving and making accessible this outstanding collection that traces the life and work of a very special Londoner and hero of the Black Caribbean community.”
Included in the project is an exhibition hosted by the Marcus Garvey Library in Tottenham, online resources, a school education pack, screenings at both the British Film Institute and the LMA as well as youth / inter-generational workshops. There will be a final celebration event to launch the archive catalogue, which will be available in 2017 via the LMA’s own online catalogue. The Cy Grant Archive adds to a growing number of archive collections donated to the LMA by the African-Caribbean community (including that of Eric and the late Jessica Huntley, themselves Guyanese nationals).
Cy Grant was an ‘everyman’, an amazing and inspirational Renaissance Man, whose full and meaningful life story is set to be increasingly appreciated and shared. For tickets to the finale event at London Metropolitan Archives, visit www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/navigating-the-dreams-of-an-icon-cy-grant-grand-finale-tickets-29607242058