Pillars of the Community-West Quay: Black Stories

PUBLISHED : February 1, 2024

WORDS : Archive Team

A ‘Pillars of the Community’ installation by nationally acclaimed graffiti artist Carleen De Sozer represents a collection of stories put together by Black History consultant Don John and celebrates Black Stories from Southampton.

Carleen De Sozer was asked to visually represent some of the people featured in the book Black Stories Southampton by Don John. She declared that it was a challenge and a pleasure to paint these pillars with people who had contributed something to Southampton’s black history as a part of the weekend event for the Westquay car park ‘Multi-Stories’ weekend takeover featuring art, music, and skateboarding.

The stories featured included:

Jacques Francis: Diver in Southampton in Tudor Times

Muhammad Ali: Visited Fine fare supermarket in Hedge End in 1971

Shebeens & Blues Parties: Derby Rd area 1970s

Craig David : Southampton Legend

Alf Charles: First Black player for Southampton FC 1937

Bob Marley: Reggae legend Played in Southampton with Bunny Wailer & Peter Tosh in 1973

Louis Armstrong: Jazz Legend at The Hippodrome Southampton in 1932

Steve Gawe: Youth worker in inner city Southampton 70s/80s, ANC member and later South African ambassador to Norway

Rosie Purves: Southampton nurse who fought Racism in the NHS

Mae Street Kidd: Assistant Director of the American Red Cross based in Netley Southampton in 1942

Ebony Rockers: Legendary Southampton Reggae Band 70s/80s