By reflecting upon a range of personal and professional experiences, extending over eight decades, this lecture will map key milestones in the post-war history of ‘race’ relations in Liverpool. The lecture will also assess progress and prospects for ‘race’ relations in, and beyond Liverpool, and locate them within the context of wider struggles for social justice.
Wally Brown was born in Liverpool and for most of his adult life he has been, and remains, a prominent champion of social justice. He was a founder member of the Liverpool Black Organisation (LBO) in the 1970s and was active within the Merseyside Anti-Racist Alliance (MARA). Later he was Chair of the Merseyside Community Relations Council (MCRC), a member of Lord Gifford’s inquiry team into race relations in Liverpool - after the 1981 uprisings - and a co-author of the major report deriving from the Inquiry, ‘Loosen the Shackles’, that published in 1989. Following, appointments as a Senior Youth Worker in the Toxteth area of Liverpool, an Adult Education Manager in Manchester and Head of Community Education in the London Borough of Lambeth, Wally returned to Liverpool in 1991 to take up the post of Principal of Liverpool City College, during which time he was also actively engaged with a range of community-based organisations including the Liverpool 8 Law Centre and the Charles Wootton Centre. Wally was awarded a CBE in 2001 and, in 2012, he was made a Freeman of the City of Liverpool in recognition of his services to education. In 2015 he was appointed a Deputy Lieutenant of Merseyside and his autobiography, Wally Brown: A Life Born and Raised in Liverpool 8, was published in 2023.