This Plaque is Dedicated to
all Black Merchant Seamen who served
during the 1939 – 45 War.
“They held their course”
Hey Joe is set in Falkner Square Gardens, and like 2600 it began with a memorial: the memorial to Black merchant seamen who had fought in the Second World War which is located in Falkner Square Gardens.
Unveiled in November 1993, on the fiftieth anniversary of the Battle of the Atlantic, it is an essential corrective to traditional or official narratives of remembrance which have consistently failed to acknowledge the contribution of people of colour to Britain in times of conflict. It also stands at the heart of personal and shared histories in Liverpool.
The filmmakers knew we wanted to develop a film around the memorial, so we began by contacting Joe Farrag, the community activist who campaigned and fundraised for it in the early 1990s. An initial conversation with him in winter 2020 opened up a number of areas for us to research and explore as we prepared the piece. When we interviewed Joe at length later in the spring, we spoke for nearly three hours. He told us about his life, work, and principles, and from his personal stories a brilliantly vivid picture of post-war Liverpool, and specifically post-war Liverpool 8, emerged, which helped us to understand more profoundly the roots of the memorial in Falkner Square Gardens, and its legacies.
Back to: Institute of Irish Studies