Join us to view archives and enjoy performances inspired by an icon. Young and old are invited to learn and share reminiscences in celebration of Guyanese born Cy Grant, RAF WWII Navigator, actor, singer, author, poet, multi-ethnic arts organiser, and the first black celebrity to regularly appear on British television.
(Presented by Cy Grant Trust, in partnership with LMA and Windrush Foundation, and supported by Heritage Lottery Fund)
Cy Grant Grand Finale
10:00 to 16:00
London Metropolitan Archives
40 Northampton Road
The life of Cy Grant, whose extensive career spanned acting, song writing, human rights activism and the Royal Air Force, will be celebrated at London Metropolitan Archives (LMA) next month.
A finale event, led by the Cy Grant Trust, will mark the launch of the Cy Grant Archive, which will be fully accessible to the public for the first time. Navigating the Dreams of an Icon: Cy Grant Project Finale on Saturday 18 February (10am – 4pm) is a free event, featuring discussions, films, family activities, puppetry, and poetry workshops, at LMA, the City and pan-London archive, owned and managed by the City of London Corporation. Tickets must be booked in advance from cygrantfinale.eventbrite.co.uk
The event will announce the completion the cataloguing of documents, manuscripts, photographs and sound recordings dating from the 1940s to 2010, which chart Cy Grant’s life. This was made possible by an award of a £79,800 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund to the Cy Grant Trust in 2016.
Guyanese-born Cy Grant, who died aged 90 in 2010, was enlisted as a Royal Air Force Flight Lieutenant Navigator in the Second World War, and also worked as a singer/song writer, broadcaster, writer, multi-ethnic arts community organiser, and activist. He was also the first black person to feature regularly on UK television, chiefly, because of his appearances on the BBC current affairs programme, Tonight.
In 2014, Cy Grant’s family deposited the Cy Grant Archive at LMA and a year later, Cy Grant Trust, LMA and Windrush Foundation formed a partnership to oversee the archive project, which builds on a growing number of collections deposited at LMA by the Black African Caribbean community. The project, which began in 2016, has to date attracted volunteers who have dedicated over 350 hours of their time. The launch of an education teaching pack will mark the end of the project in May 2017.
Samantha Moxon, Cy Grant’s daughter, said:
“This project means a great deal to our family. My dad’s dream was that the importance of his work should be recognised and never forgotten.”
Geoff Pick, the City of London Corporation’s Director of Archives, said:
“We are delighted that we have been entrusted with the Cy Grant Archive and are a key partner in preserving and making accessible an outstanding collection from a very special Londoner. This initiative builds on the City of London Corporation’s strong foundations in documenting the history of the capital’s many communities.”
The project began in April 2016 when cataloguing commenced on the Cy Grant Archive. Since then, the aim has been to connect Cy Grant’s life to all generations through a series of events. These have included talks and screenings at Black Cultural Archives, The British Film Institute and LMA.
A touring exhibition which displays images from the archive will be available to view at LMA from 18 February until early March 2017. The exhibition first opened at Marcus Garvey Library, Tottenham in November 2016, moving to Hornsey Library in Hornsey in January 2017. The project is due for completion in May 2017 when an education teaching pack will be launched through the project’s website, cygrant.com. Full descriptions to the Cy Grant Archive will be available to view on London Metropolitan Archives’ online catalogue. The catalogue enables individuals to order and consult original items at LMA.
The City of London Corporation, which owns and manages London Metropolitan Archives LMA), invests £80m every year in heritage and cultural activities of all kinds. It is the UK’s largest funder of culture after the government, the BBC, and the Heritage Lottery Fund.