b. 1952 - 1979
Born 26th June 1952, Olive Morris emanated joy; she liked to dance, look good, she liked to joke and to live her best life. Olive Morris was young, brave and full of life.
A radical black feminist, organiser and community activist, and writer, Morris dedicated her short life to liberation and creating a world that was better for working-class people.
Morris’ well-known entry into activism came when, as a 17-year-old she witnessed the brutal assault of a Nigerian diplomat (click here). Jumping to his defence, and being assaulted by the attending police officers. ‘Each time I tried to talk or raise my head I was slapped in the face.’ Morris was kicked and stripped during the incident. The police told her ‘that is the right colour for your body’, referring to the bruises on her body. She was threatened with rape later on at the police station. This incident began her inspiring social justice journey.
Despite the constant threats to her life, physical assaults, and lack of support from the very systems which purport to be there to protect the public, Morris definitely and in love fought on. Her reach was breathtaking, and the diversity in the work she did almost impossible to comprehend.
Morris died from complications from non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, 12th July 1979.
A world in which the most marginalised in society are able to thrive.
Members of the black diaspora living in the UK had faced decades of mistreatment at the hands of the state, white members of the public, and centuries-old structures and systems put in place and maintained to continue to oppress them. In the 70s and 80s, things reached a boiling point with a number of uprisings from a community that were fed up with being treated in such atrocious ways.
Just some of Morris’ amazing work:
- Co-founded the Organisation of Women of African and Asian Descent
- Member of the British Black Panther Party
- The Brixton Black Women’s Group
- Squatting- 121 Railton Road, Brixton
- Ran Race Today’s ‘Basement Sessions’ discussing art, culture and politics
- Founded the Manchester Black Women’s Co-operative
- Founded the Black Women’s Mutual Aid Group
- Helped to establish a black supplementary school
- A founding member of the Organisation of Women of African and Asian Descent (OWAAD)
Watch them in Action
Are you like them?
If you answer yes to most of the following, we are pretty sure you are!
* Is joy central to your activism?
* Is your approach one that takes into consideration the intersectionalities of human beings?
* Are you able to voaclise your cause in front of large crowds?