The African-Caribbean Educational Resource Project

Len Garrison, ACER, and the British education system

By Black Cultural Archives

Len Garrison founded the African-Caribbean Educational Resource (ACER) in 1977 after campaigning for two years for funding and resources with the Inner London Education Authority (ILEA).

Drawing of Len Garrison (1991) by Gordon de la MotheBlack Cultural Archives

Garrison had completed a diploma in development studies at Ruskin College, Oxford in 1971. His dissertation was about the Rastafarianism movement in Jamaica. This is a later publication examining the issues around young Rastafarians and identity in Britain.

Black Youth Rastafarianism and the Identity crisis in Britain (1978) by Len GarrisonBlack Cultural Archives

It was beautifully illustrated by Ras Daniel Heartman & Everton Gordon.

Images and reflections, section one: Image and Identity (1979) by African Caribbean Education Resource ProjectBlack Cultural Archives

ACER was set up to provide educational resources for schools in Britain who had no materials or textbooks that related to the African and Caribbean pupils.

Images and Reflections, section four: 'SUS' the Black child and the law Images and Reflections, section four: 'SUS' the Black child and the law (1979) by Len GarrisonBlack Cultural Archives

Many journals were published for teachers. This gave them with the resources to provide a broad reaching education that encompassed the backgrounds of all their pupils and in turn, to help them counter racism.

Many journals were published for teachers. This gave them with the resources to provide a broad reaching education that encompassed the backgrounds of all their pupils and in turn, to help them counter racism.

Images and Reflections Journal: At School Today, From the collection of: Black Cultural Archives
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Images and Reflections, section four: 'SUS' the Black child and the law Images and Reflections, section four: 'SUS' the Black child and the law, African-Caribbean Education Resources (ACER), c.1979, From the collection of: Black Cultural Archives
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There was insight into how black children were discriminated against by people in authority. These pamphlets raised the awareness of teachers, who would otherwise have been unaware of the discrimination faced by their pupils.

Resources for Anti-Racist Education, African Caribbean Education Resource Project [ACER], 1985, From the collection of: Black Cultural Archives
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ACER though supported by the Inner London Education Authority, had a reach across the UK with the printed materials they produced.

Black Youth Annual Penmanship Awards 'Winning Essays 1983' Black Youth Annual Penmanship Awards 'Winning Essays 1983', Len Garrison, 1983, From the collection of: Black Cultural Archives
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ACER also ran the Black Youth Annual Penmanship Awards. A number of black professionals including music critic Clive Davis, and novelist and barrister Nicola Williams, received the award in their youth.

Black Youth Annual Penmanship Awards 'Winning Essays 1983', From the collection of: Black Cultural Archives
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The ILEA was dismantled in 1988 and ACER closed due to lack of funding. ACER's legacy can be seen today in black history being part of the mainstream British educational curriculum and its work has inspired the Dutch to develop similar multi-cultural learning.

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