John La Rose

John La RoseTribute to John La Rose 1927-2006

posted by Gaynor Kuye – 3rd March 2006
(originally published by IRR News)
News or updates listed at the foot of this item

A stalwart of Black struggle in Britain, John La Rose, has died. As a writer, publisher and political organiser, his contribution to the development of Black cultural expression in the UK cannot be rivalled.

It is with great sadness that the staff of the Institute of Race Relations heard the news of John’s death on 28 February from a heart attack. As a member of IRR’s Council, and its Chairman in the early 1970s, he helped to guide the organisation during a particularly turbulent time in its history; its transformation from an establishment body into a radical think-tank.

John was born in Trinidad in 1927 and, after leaving school, became involved in the work of radical political, trade union and cultural organisations. Having joined a Marxist study group, he became an active member of the Federated Workers Trade Union and held meetings throughout the oil belt of southern Trinidad.

In 1952 the FWTU, joined by other radicals, formed the West Indian Independence Party and John was appointed its General Secretary- contesting a seat in Arima, his home town, in the 1956 elections. In 1958 he left Trinidad for Venezuela, where he worked as a teacher and in 1961 left for Britain.

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John La Rose was born in Arima, Trinidad, on 27 December 1927. At nine he won a scholarship to St Mary’s College, where he later taught before becoming an insurance executive. He also taught in Venezuela. He was an executive member of the Youth Council in Trinidad and produced their radio programme, ‘Noise of Youth’.

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Like Marcus Garvey, CLR James, George Padmore, Fidel Castro and Frantz Fanon, La Rose belonged to a Caribbean tradition of radical and revolutionary activism whose input has reverberated across continents.

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