Steven Abdal Hadi-Smith
The Black-E provided me with the opportunity to develop my education. Bill and Wendy were my mentors and tutors in English and Social studies. I enrolled in Central College. It was a giant step for someone who was an under-achiever in school. It was also a period when Black youth were under-reported in further education.
Black Power Film Shows were held at the Blackie. I co-ordinated the shows with my mate Stephen Knox. We went to London to meet Oscar Abrams, who ran the Keskidee Centre. We hired numerous ”lsims”, including Strange Fruit, The Murder of Fred Hampton, The Soledad Brothers and The Panthers.
The Black-E funded me to go on an Educational Cultural trip to Africa. It was there that I really saw poverty and realised the value of education. We take a lot of things for granted in England. I visited Nigeria, Kenya and The Gambia.
Visiting London was an eye-opener to me as I was amazed to see Black people working visibly in most professions. At the time this was not the case in Liverpool.
I had always felt that I wanted to articulate the needs of working people, in particular the Liverpool Black community. This was due to my early awareness of racism. I had also gained confidence in public speaking from my Blackie days; this was a vital tool for a community practitioner in the Liverpool 8 area.
I undertook a role in the democratically-elected Black Caucus Group. I had activists around me; Dave Clay and the Half Penny Protest with the Liverpool Black Organisation, the booming voice of Dave Smith on marches, the increasing community resistance to racism.