London Metropolitan Archives (LMA) is a major partner in The Cy Grant Trust’s successful bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund to catalogue the archives of Cy Grant (1919-2010) and promote his legacy to the wider community. Other partners include the Windrush Foundation.
Born in Guyana in 1919, Cyril Ewart Lionel Grant served as a Flight Lieutenant in the Royal Air Force (RAF) during the Second World War. By the 1950s Cy Grant lived in London following a successful career as a singer/songwriter, later becoming a community organiser/activist, artistic director, actor, broadcaster, writer, poet, and community historian. He became the first Black person to appear regularly on British television. This collection contains rich material for research themes around multi-ethnic minority arts on a national basis, an iconic career which saw stardom and fame across the world and across ethnic divides, wartime narratives, discourse on Black African Caribbean roots, culture and race relations.
Highlights in the collection include Cy Grant’s Royal Air Force log book; fan-mail, studio and film stills photographs, and films documenting Cy Grant’s fame from his acting and singing, 1950s-1970s; minutes and papers of the Drum Arts Centre Limited London, 1970s documenting the establishment of a national centre for the arts of Black people and related Black Theatre Workshop; minutes and printed material documenting the Concord Festival Trust for which Cy Grant was Director overseeing 22 multicultural ethic arts festivals across Britain over four years between 1981-1985. Cy Grant’s life is documented in his memoir ‘Blackness and the Dreaming Soul’ published in 2007 and his original drafts are contained in the collection alongside other writings.