SEND Barbara Beese speaks out

Learning objectives

  1. Discover why Barbara Beese is significant.
  1. Explore some of the ways people have protested for equal rights and how things change from the past to the present.
  1. Discover how portraits can reveal useful information about people.
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[IMAGE] A black-and-white photograph of a crowd of people marching together, carrying banners with anti-racist slogans. At the front of the crowd is a Black woman who is holding hands with a young Black boy.
Barbara Beese (Anti-racism demonstration, Brick Lane)
by Paul Trevor
archival pigment print, 1976
12 3/8 in. x 18 1/2 in. (314 mm x 470 mm) overall
NPG x201507
© Paul Trevor

This is a photograph from 1976. It was taken nearly 50 years ago, in Brick Lane in London. It shows people marching to Protest Saying or showing that you are against something. against Racism The unfair treatment of people who belong to a different race. in their communities.

There are around 3,000 people on this march. Is that more people than all the people in your school?

Look closer

Look carefully at the portrait for a whole minute (you might like to use a timer). Remember to look around the edges, in all four corners and in the background).

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[IMAGE] A black-and-white photograph of a crowd of people marching together, carrying banners with anti-racist slogans. At the front of the crowd is a Black woman who is holding hands with a young Black boy.
Barbara Beese (Anti-racism demonstration, Brick Lane), by Paul Trevor, 1976
  • Look at the people’s bodies, and their arms and legs.

    Remember to look at the people at the front of the picture (the foreground) and the back of the picture (the background).

    • Try standing up and posing like one of the people.
    • Think carefully about where you need to put your arms and legs.
    • What do you think these people are doing?
  • Look at the Expression A look on a person's face that shows their thoughts or feelings. on the people’s faces.

    Remember to look at the people at the front of the picture (the foreground) and the back of the picture (the background).

    • Try making the same Expression A look on a person's face that shows their thoughts or feelings. as one of the people.
    • Are your mouth and eyes open or shut?
    • How do you think they might be feeling?
    • People marching. Some of them are carrying banners with important messages against Racism The unfair treatment of people who belong to a different race. written on them, such as ‘No Britain without us’.
    • There might be people on the side of the street watching the march.
    • You might see the photographer, Paul Trevor, who took this photograph.
    • It would be noisy.
    • You might hear people shouting or chanting anti-racism messages like the ones on the banners.
    • Think of words to describe how you might feel.
    • Who would you want to have with you?
    • The woman at the front of the picture (in the foreground), is Barbara Beese. The little boy holding Beese’s hand is her son, Darcus.
    • Barbara Beese and Darcus are Protest Saying or showing that you are against something. against Racism The unfair treatment of people who belong to a different race. in their communities. They are marching through the streets of London with their friends, neighbours and other people who are against racism.

Why do we remember Barbara Beese?

Barbara Beese is known for being an Activist A person who works to change something that affects our lives or the world we live in. and Protest Saying or showing that you are against something. against Racism The unfair treatment of people who belong to a different race. .

Many people living in Britain have been treated badly because of their race, or the colour of their skin. They have been called horrible names, had their homes damaged and even been seriously hurt.

Barbara Beese’s actions, and the actions of others, have made a big difference. Laws have been changed to make life more equal and fairer for everyone.

But racism still happens today, and people like Barbara are still protesting against it.

Compare and contrast

Compare the photograph of the Brick Lane anti-racism Protest Saying or showing that you are against something. from 1976 with a photograph of an anti-racism protest from 2020. This protest also took place in London, but over 30 years later.

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    Barbara Beese (Anti-racism demonstration, Brick Lane),    by Paul Trevor,    1976,    NPG x201507,    © Paul Trevor
Barbara Beese (Anti-racism demonstration, Brick Lane), by Paul Trevor, 1976
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    'Akuac' (Akuac Thiep),    by Anastasia Orlando,    7th June 2020,    NPG x201490,    Hold Still: A Portrait of Our Nation in 2020 © Anastasia Orlando
'Akuac' (Akuac Thiep), by Anastasia Orlando, 7th June 2020
  1. What can you see that is the same?
  1. What can you see that is different?
  1. What do these people have in common?
  1. What do you have in common with these people?

Explore more pictures of activists

Look at more pictures of people who have tried to make the world a fairer place and made a difference to equal rights.

  1. What can you find out about them?
  1. What were they protesting about?
  1. How did they protest?