Sarah White

(1941-2022) – Activist and Publisher

Born in West Hampstead in London and attending school in Bristol, Sarah White studied History of Science and Russian at Leeds University, spending a year in Moscow in the 1960s. Upon her return she began her PhD at Imperial College London and also volunteered for the African National Congress at the Africa Centre. It was here that Sarah met the Trinidadian activist John La Rose, with whom she lived for the rest of her life. Together they were the co-founders of New Beacon Books in 1966, the UK’s first black publisher and bookshop, partly funded by Sarah’s work as a science journalist at New Scientist from 1967. She was also central to many other cultural and political movements which were fighting for racial equality and social justice, including the International Book Fairs of Radical Black and Third World Books (1982-95) among others. John and Sarah, along with other activists, co-founded the George Padmore Institute in 1991, an archive and educational resource which houses many of the archives of the movements they were part of. 

Sarah’s unassuming, behind-the-scenes presence was key to work being done for so many organisations, whether being secretary of the George Padmore Institute or editing many of the New Beacon publications. But above all, she was a dear and wonderful friend.

Sharmilla Beezmohun

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