Harold Moody, League of Coloured Peoples Anniversary Plaque
Formed in 1931, the League of Coloured Peoples, Britain’s first Black civil rights movement, was founded by Dr Harold Moody, a Jamaican-born physician.
The League’s HQ was set up at the Central YMCA in 111 Great Russell Street just off Tottenham Court Road in Central London. Although the League’s main emphasis was on Black Civil Rights in Britain, the wider goal of the organisation was to eradicate discrimination and establish racial equality around the world. The League also sought to address the persecution of Jews in Germany before WWII.
Two years after its formation the League began to publish its own journal called The Keys. The paper became a powerful medium to discuss issues such as the Colour Bar in Britain, prejudice in the workplace, treatment of Black Nurses, discrimination against evacuation of children of colour during WWII, as well as desegregating sections of the British Armed Forces British Armed Forces during WWII.
The League of Coloured Peoples folded soon after the death of Dr Harold Moody in 1947, but not before taking its place as Britain’s first civil rights movement of the 20th century.
On the 13th of March 2019, to mark the 88th anniversary since the historic founding of the League of Coloured Peoples, a blue commemorative plaque to Dr Harold Moody was unveiled at Central YMCA in Tottenham Court Road, the world’s oldest YMCA. The event was be attended by members of the Moody Family, politicians, local councillors, members of the public and media.
Dr Moody, who was well known for his campaign against racial prejudice, established the League of Coloured Peoples in London in 1937. Like Jamaica's first National hero, the Right Excellent Marcus Mosiah Garvey, Dr Moody, who was born just a few decades after the abolition of slavery, was very determined to fight for the human rights of people who were being oppressed at the time because of their ethnicity and colour. His own challenges as a brilliant medical student at King’s College, who was refused work because of his colour, gave him first-hand experience on how ingrained bigotry could be and fuelled his passion to change the status quo. Dr Moody is a part of that distinguished tradition of Jamaican men and women, who refused to resile in their fight against oppression and prejudice. We are therefore proud to support efforts to recognise Dr Moody for his valuable work which laid the foundation for future generations, through the unveiling today, of the symbolic Blue Plaque. His Excellency Seth George Ramocan, High Commissioner for Jamaica
Dr Harold Moody was one Britain’s 20th century icons. He tackled racism, discrimination and inequality and was an important figure in fighting for civil rights in this country. I’m delighted that he will be recognised by a blue plaque, right in the heart of Westminster. We should always commemorate and remember those who fought so hard for positive change in our community. Cllr Lindsey Hall, Right Worshipful Lord Mayor of Westminster.
Dr Harold Moody was undoubtedly one of the 20th century pioneers who had the foresight to help Britain and the world to wake up to the necessity of action to tackle all forms of racism, discrimination and inequality. We must never forget our historic heroes and acknowledge their contributions to the ongoing struggle for equality and justice for all. Lord Herman Ouseley (Former Chair of Council Racial Equality (CRE)
Dr Harold Moody was doing the same thing that Dr Martin Luther king was doing but 30 years earlier and in London as opposed to America; so why is he not better known here? Our Black History walks, bus tours and river cruises address that imbalance. Tony Warner, Director of Black History Walks.
Before the colour bar was disbanded in the UK, before the British Race Relations Act was instituted and amended, before the Commission for Racially Equality was formed, there was an organisation in Britain founded by Dr Harold Moody which fought for the civil rights of people of colour. That organisation was the League of Coloured People founded by Dr Harold Moody at Central YMCA in 1931. Dr Jak Beula, CEO of Nubian Jak Community Trust.
It was truly an honour to have been asked to unveil the Blue Plaque to commemorate the life of an outstanding son of Jamaica. Dr Harold Arundel Moody, Physician and Civil Rights Activist.
The Dr Harold Moody plaque was sponsored by Black History Walks and is part of their campaign to redress the lack of plaques in honour of black people. http://www.blackhistorywalks.com
Location: Central YMCA, 111 Great Russel Street, Camden, London, WC1B 1NP