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Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0074 LMA/4462
Held at: London Metropolitan Archives
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Date(s): 1958-2008
Level of description: Collection
Extent: 24.2 linear metres
Name of creator(s): Bogle-L'Ouverture Publications Ltd | specialists in books from and about the Caribbean, Africa, Afro-America and Asia


Administrative/Biographical history:

Bogle-L'Ouverture Publications Limited was established in 1969. The name derives from two individuals who fought against colonialism and slavery during their time. Toussaint L'Ouverture of Haiti and Paul Bogle of Jamaica. They were both sons of slaves who rose to prominence and were a source of inspiration for their people.

The Huntleys lived in West London, Ealing, LB worked from their front room and when the business became too big for the front room rented shop premises at 5A Chignall Road.

Bogle-L'Ouverture Publications Limited was committed to discovering, promoting and disseminating Black history and Black contributions to the world in academic, creative and social fields. They took a strong political stance to achieve this and initiate change in England and throughout the Diaspora. The books, cards, artwork and workshops which they promoted had to be created by Black people and tell the story of Black people.

The countries of the Caribbean were involved in an anti-colonial struggle in the 1940s and pushing for independence. The Huntleys arrived in London in the 1950s and with others joined the struggle to have a voice and be accepted in the society. They began by producing and selling cards and posters which depicted Black people. Ironically the first book published, The Groundings with My Brothers came not from their struggles in England but from the struggles of historian Walter Rodney, in Jamaica, which they recognised as a universal struggle to disseminate Black history to ordinary people. To stop the voice of Black history from being silenced they decided to publish Rodney's speeches and make it available to as wide an audience as possible. The second publication, How Europe Underdeveloped Africa gave a view of the European encounter with Africa from a Black perspective. These books were often distributed free because publishing was not seen by the Huntleys and their supporters as a means to get rich but a political act to educate and inform.

As of 1984, Bogle-L'Ouverture Publications's list of directors included Jessica Huntley, Eric Huntley, Andrew Salkey, Venetta Ndbele and Ewart Thomas (who was based in the United States of America). The company described itself as "specialists in books from and about the Caribbean, Africa, Afro-America, Asia, [as well as] posters, greeting cards, African arts and crafts" (LMA/4462/E/06/004).

Bogle-L'Ouverture Publications also attracted a group of active supporters of artists, writers, teachers, students, parents and academics who shared a similar world view. Some of these later became Friends of Bogle-L'Ouverture and published work, organised events and raised funds to further the work of Bogle-L'Ouverture Publications.

The bookshop became the touch point for Black academics and Artists visiting the capital from around the globe. Once established it became a venue for workshops, readings and lectures and the promotion of positive representations of Black people. The life of the publishing house was intertwined with the concerns of the community and reflected their problems, achievements and ambitions. The name of the bookshop became synonymous with campaigns for justice and equality. The publishing house was an integral part of the African and Caribbean communities in London. Campaigns and organisations which were supported and/or created by the Huntleys included Bookshop Joint Action, the Radical Black Book Fairs, Black Parents Movement, Greater Access to Publishing, Supplementary Schools and the Newcross Massacre Committee, also campaigns against police harassment, the underachievement of Black children in the school system and the killing of Mikey Smith in Jamaica. In addition to these were the international campaigns against Apartheid in South Africa and repressive governments in the Caribbean.

No overall logo defined the publishing house. In the 1980s three books stacked in front of a circle was used. In the 1990s three flying birds and the letters BLP. In 2000 a large sun behind the words Bogle L'Ouverture.

The expansion into markets in Africa, Europe and the Caribbean, improved conditions for Blacks in London and the wide range of community initiatives in which the Huntleys were involved and the beginnings of an economic depression led to the liquidation of Bogle-L'Ouverture Publications.

In 1991 Bogle-L'Ouverture Press was incorporated after the closure of Bogle-L'Ouverture Publications Limited and relaunched in 1993. The catalogues state that, 'Like its predecessor, the Press is committed to promoting an independent and strong voice; one with which we can set our own agenda. The Press aims to provide a window on the world of Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and other countries which are euphemistically known as the Third World.'

Published Books They published books by Black authors for four decades which reflected their reality. The first book The Groundings with my Brothers was a collection of speeches and lectures given by Walter Rodney to ordinary Jamaicans. The second publication was the children's book Getting to Know Ourselves by Bernard and Phyllis Coard.

How Europe Underdeveloped Africa was Rodney's third book and Bogle's second publication by this author. It was reprinted four times and in several languages. After the initial printing, print runs were in excess of 20,000 copies. Howard University bought the American rights and it became an essential university text.

Andrew Salkey was a stalwart supporter and eventually a Director and shareholder of the company. Bogle produced nine of his titles and his work was also published by mainstream publishers such as Oxford University Press.


Scope and content/abstract:

Records of Bogle-L'Ouverture Publications Ltd, specialists in books from and about the Caribbean, Africa, Afro-America and Asia, 1958-2008. Contains business records and records of associated publishing organisations founded by Eric and Jessica Huntley. The archives of Bogle-L'Ouverture Publications Limited include correspondence files and submitted manuscripts relating to published and unpublished authors, poets and artists. Also includes personal records of Lionel and Pansy Jeffrey and Andrew Salkey which were given to Eric and Jessica Huntley.

Please see the separate introductions to each section of the catalogue for further information.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

The records are arranged as follows:

LMA/4462/A Corporate
LMA/4462/B Accounts and Sales
LMA/4462/C Published Authors, Poets and Artists
LMA/4462/D Submission
LMA/4462/E Publications and Circulars
LMA/4462/F Bookshop, Distribution, Marketing and Outreach [this section remains uncatalogued - please contact staff for further information]
LMA/4462/G Audio-visual [this section remains uncatalogued - please contact staff for further information]
LMA/4462/H Friends of Bogle
LMA/4462/I Ananse Society
LMA/4462/J Bookshop Joint Action
LMA/4462/K Caribbean Biographical Project
LMA/4462/L Greater Access to Publishing
LMA/4462/M International Bookfair of Radical Black and Third World Books
LMA/4462/N Salkey Score Committee
LMA/4462/O Torch Publishing Co-op
LMA/4462/P Jeffrey, Lionel and Pansy (donated papers)
LMA/4462/Q Salkey, Andrew (donated papers)
LMA/4462/R Walter Rodney Memorial Trust
LMA/4462/S African Caribbean and Minorities 2000 Cooperative

Conditions governing access:

These records are available for public inspection, although records containing personal information are subject to access restrictions under the UK Data Protection Act, 1998.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copyright rests with the depositors.

Finding aids:

Please see online catalogues at:

Archival Information

Archival history:

Initially, Eric and Jessica Huntley wished to provide their own centre in their local area in Ealing for the consultation of their archives. Unfortunately this dream could not be fulfilled and the Huntleys, wishing to make their collections accessible to the wider community began exploring alternative options, first with a South London university and finally deposit option with the LMA. The relationship between LMA and the Huntleys germinated through the friendship with Yinnon Ezra of Hampshire County Council sought advice from the Head Archivist of Hampshire Record Office as to options for the Huntleys' archives.

Immediate source of acquisition:

Their archive collections were the first deposit from the African-Caribbean community to be made to the London Metropolitan Archives, in 2005 with additional deposits since that time (B05/016; B05/017; B05/020; B07/021).

Allied Materials

Related material:

There was much fluidity between the work of the publishing house and the political campaigning and community work in which the Huntleys were involved. These activities were related to and supported each other. Their personal and business papers were housed together. See LMA/4463 for other businesses campaigns, politics and personal records.

See also: Caribbean Transnational Experience by Professor Harry Goulbourne, chair of the Huntley Archives Advisory Group. Chapter 6, "Having a Public Voice: Caribbean Publishers and Diasporic Communications", discusses the history of Bogle L'Ouverture Press in detail. Published by Pluto Press, Arawale Publications (2002). Available at London Metropolitan Archives: Reference: LMA Store 20.171/GOU.

See also George Padmore Institute collections relating to New Beacon Books and John La Rose, who worked closely with the Huntleys and their business. The George Padmore Institute, 76 Stroud Green Road, London N4 3EN.

The archives of the Institute of Race Relations include a 'Black History Collection'. These are held by the Institute of Race Relations, 2-6 Leeke Street, London WC1X 9HS.

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:

Rules or conventions:
Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions:
July to October 2009

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