Images unseen for forty years, are to be revealed in a specially-curated exhibition, recall “the day it became cool to be anti-racist” and 40,000 people rocked out at Manchester’s Northern Carnival Against The Nazis:
From the symbolic solidarity and natural kinship of black and white youths to the punk power of local heroes, Buzzcocks, the vibrant resistance to the rise of seventies racism by 40,000 people in Manchester on Sat 15 July 1978 is brought rushing from the past to the present in a series of evocative, previously unseen photographs, part of the We Are Dynamite! exhibition, opening at NIAMOS, Manchester between Mon 3 – Sat 22 September 2018.
Led by Manchester Digital Music Archive (MDMA), the first public exhibition of photographs, taken by documentary photographer, John Sturrock on the day that the influential Rock Against Racism movement loudly gathered anti-Nazi protesters for a rally from Strangeways Prison, through the city centre, shows the size, strength and diversity of the gathering. Concluding with an open air concert at Alexandra Park, featuring an ascendant Buzzcocks alongside Birmingham reggae icons, Steel Pulse, Rock Against Racism and Anti-Nazi League organisers succeeded in holding one of the biggest protest events to counter the rising political threat of right-wing organisations including the National Front.
Abigail Ward of MDMArchive, curator of We Are Dynamite! says: “The scale and impact of the ‘Northern Carnival against the Nazis’ in 1978 can’t be underestimated in the struggle against the very real threat of political racism during that time, yet John Sturrock’s newly discovered photographs of the day let us see it for ourselves. Bringing tens of thousands of people together in a unified front against right-wing aggression and discrimination, in a pre-internet era, could seem fantastical to us now, but the strength of conviction amongst the organisers, the bands that played and communities in Manchester and the wider North of England made such a significant event possible.”
Invited by the event’s key organisers, Bernie Wilcox of Rock Against Racism and the Anti-Nazi League’s Geoff Brown, Sturrock, spent the whole day capturing speeches, performances and the mass movement of people through the streets to the protest’s climax.
Photo credit: John Sturrock
EXHIBITION: We Are Dynamite! Northern Carnival against the Nazis: 40th Anniversary Exhibition
Mon 3 – Sat 22 September 2018, FREE
NIAMOS, Chichester Road, Hulme, M15 5UP.
Curated by Abigail Ward for Manchester Digital Music Archive