Val McCalla plaque

Val McCalla plaque

Date of Installation:
Location:
Plaque: Blue

Val Irvine McCalla (3 October 1943 – 22 August 2002) was a Jamaican accountant and media entrepreneur who settled in Britain in 1959. He is best known as the founder of The Voice, a British weekly newspaper aimed at the Britain's black community, which he established in 1982 as a voice for the British African-Caribbean community. He was honoured as a pioneering publisher for the community, but also faced critics who deemed him sensationalistic.[1]

Val McCalla was born in a poor part of Kingston, Jamaica.[3] After studying accountancy at Kingston College, a Jamaican high school, McCalla travelled to England in May 1959, aged 15.

He joined the RAF, but a perforated eardrum put paid to his dreams of becoming a pilot and instead he honed his skills as a bookkeeper,[4] leaving in the mid-1960s.[5]

He then found employment in various accounts and book-keeping positions, before working part-time on a community newspaper, East End News, based near his flat in Bethnal Green.[6] He started The Voice newspaper in 1982, Britain’s first Black owned paper, with a team that included broadcaster Alex Pascall,[7][8] launching it at the Notting Hill carnival that August,[9] and bringing in Viv Broughton as marketing manager.[10] The Voice became a training ground for leading journalists. He owned Chic and Pride magazines, and in 1991 founded The Weekly Journal.[11]

McCalla died of liver failure on 22 August 2002, aged 58, in Seaford, East Sussex, where he was buried.[4][12][13]

Joyce Fraser Unveiling the Blue Plaque to Val McCalla, Founder of The Voice Newspaper


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