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Rivers of Blood in Wolverhampton? Enoch Powell, Racism and Resistance

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University of Wolverhampton

Lecture Theatre MH002, Ground Floor

Mary Seacole Building, Nursery Street

Wolverhampton

WV1 1AD

United Kingdom

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Faculty of Social Sciences Black History Month Lecture 2017

About the lecture

Almost fifty years ago Enoch Powell made national headlines in what would become known of as his ‘Rivers of Blood’ speech. He dramatically warned of an immigrant invasion in the once respectable streets of Wolverhampton. This focus brought the Black Country town into the national spotlight, yet Powell’s unstable relationship with Wolverhampton has since been overlooked.
This lecture explores this relationship further. It draws out a rich local history which Powell's words reflected, distorted and reformulated. Through interviews and archival research, the talk examines alternative responses to the speech and allows us to reflect on questions of race, class and resistance in Wolverhampton.
In a contemporary period of economic crisis and national divisions, revisiting the shadow of Powell is pertinent in grappling with emerging change.

Introduction by Eleanor Smith MP

Eleanor Smith is the Labour Member of Parliament for Wolverhampton South West. She will be talking on race equality today. Eleanor Smith was elected in the 2017 general election, becoming the West Midlands' first ever Afro-Caribbean MP after winning the seat once held by the Conservative MP Enoch Powell.

Speaker: Dr. Shirin Hirsch

Shirin is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in History at the University of Wolverhampton. She is currently completing a book on Enoch Powell, race and resistance which will be published by Manchester University Press in 2018.

Read Dr Shirin Hirsch's full staff profile

(Photograph courtesy of the Express and Star, shows Wolverhampton protest against Enoch Powell.)

Date and Time

Location

University of Wolverhampton

Lecture Theatre MH002, Ground Floor

Mary Seacole Building, Nursery Street

Wolverhampton

WV1 1AD

United Kingdom

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