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john la rose
John La Rose Has lived a life dedicated to expanding the humans experience, using his many talents as poet, essayist, publisher and film maker. Born in Trinidad in the 1920s, he first taught at St Mary's College, before leaving to teach in secondary schools in Venezuela. He migrated to Britain in 1961 after broadening his skills by producing radio programmes on culture for Radio Trinidad, and by co-authoring Atilla the Hun, the first serious study of the calypso music style with Raymond Quevedo, a Calypsonian. John was to become very socially active in England, he founded New Beacon Books, the first specialist Caribbean publisher, bookseller and international bookservice in August 1966. Then later in December, he together with Caribbean writers Edward Kamua Brathwaite and Andrew Salkey co-founded the influential Caribbean Artists Movement. Dedicated to help in all aspects to better the conditions of West Indians, John La Rose served as chairman of the Institute of Race Relations in 1972-3, the crucial time when the IRR was establishing its independence, he was also chairman of Towards Racial Justice, which was the vehicle that published the campaigning journal, Race Today. John was also deeply involved in the Black Education Movement, and fought against Banding and against the wrongful placing of West Indians in schools for the educationally subnormal. He also helped to start the Caribbean Education and Community Workers Association. It was this association that published 'How The West Indian Child is Made Educationally Sub-normal in the British School System'. John La Rose joined together with Bogle-L'Ouverture Publications, Race Today, and with his New Beacon Books to organise the International Book Fair of Radical Black and Third World Books, the first of which took place in 1982. John's work has embraced various aspects of human rights, and he was chairman of the Committee for the Release of Political Prisoners in Kenya, founded in 1982. John also helped to found Africa Solidarity and European Action for Racial Equality and Social Justice. La Rose was also a co-producer and scripted the documentary film, Mangrove Nine, about the resistance to police attacks on the popular Mangrove Restaurant, which he did with Franco Rosso. He also produced and directed a short film on the Black Church in Britain for BBC 2 in 1973. Since John La Rose founded New Beacon Books, he has served as editor in chief, and also editor of the twice yearly New Beacon Review. He is also the founder of the George Padmore Institute, and continues to arrange a series of lectures which continue to broaden and expand the human experience in Britain. The acclaimed African writer Ngugi Wa Thiongo wrote: 'John La Rose is immensely aware of the revolutionary potential of literature and culture in the world today. As a writer, publisher and cultural activist, he has helped in the growth of many writers in Africa the Caribbean, Europe and America. Rarely has anybody come into contact with him without being affected by his generous, searching modern renaissance spirit.'