In order to reach the truth, you have got to tell the truth.
Strength of our Mothers documents the lives of 23 white women in interracial relationships with African and Afro-Caribbean men from the 1940s to 2000. Each women's story is told in their own voice or by their children.
Margaret Anne HoranMay 1928 - Oct 1996
Janette MurphyNovember 1941
Agnes McLardieApril 1938
Marjorie (Madge) AbbeyJanuary 1934
Estelle Mary LongmoreOctober 1944
Pat GeorgeApr 1930 - Dec 1997
Victoria SibthropeJuly 1928 - 2006
Mildred MayerOctober 1927
Rita HigginsMarch 1936
Dorothy SteadmanJuly 1930 - Aug 2017
Evelyn Masie LawrenceMar 1926 - Aug 2020
May QuarteyMay 1921 - Jan 2002
Margaretha LeaderSep 1937 - Feb 2017
Dorothy DaviesFeb 1932 - Dec 2004
Ellen ForresterDec 1952 - Oct 2018
Irene BarnesOct 1925 - Jul 1980
Sheila JawandoNov 1928 - Jan 2012
Avis BlakeleyJune 1957
Bernadette ThompsonDec 1947 - Jul 2012
Betty SweeneyDec 1920 - May 1979
Ann (Hilda) BlackshawAug 1939 - Jan 1988
Lily KellyJun 1926 - 1971
Every picture tells a story. Here are the families' images captured over the years full of memories.
Held at HOME on May 19th 2019, 140 family members joined us for the launch event.
The event was an afternoon of performances of poetry, dance and song and a unique one-act play scripted verbatim from all the interviews bringing the lives of the mothers live to the stage for a one-off unique performance now captured on film.
Please be advised that the play that forms part of this performance reel contains offensive racist language. Such language definitely does not reflect the attitude of NBAA, the actors nor the women they portray but are the actual words that were used to abuse the mothers.
Edited review by Kate Pahl
This collection of stories is about love.
It is also about hidden lives, sometimes painful, sometimes heart-breaking, always important. The oral histories of relationships across the divides of race and celebrates the ways in which women sustain and support their families over time.
Like all hidden histories, these stories represent living knowledge that can inform future generations and can help us think differently about the experiences of children from interracial relationships.
MMU Professor of Arts and Literacy
Hard copies can only be collected in person from:
Ahmed Iqbal Ullah Race Relations Resource Centre
Lower Ground Floor
St Peter’s Square
By post email firstname.lastname@example.org
Background on the project
SOM does not fictionalise life but tells it just as we live it. Sometimes it is cruel and heart-breaking but even then, families pull on through. In many cases hardship and heartache makes the bond of family stronger, especially when Mothers stepped away from the relationship into single parenthood. Fathers too became the sole carer of their children when mothers left because they couldn’t or didn’t want to stay in the home.
Strength of Our Mothers a 2017-2019 partnership project led by National Black Arts Alliance, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.
NBAA is the UK’s largest network of Black artists established in 1985 it exists to combat negative attitudes to Black arts and culture. Its heritage work in social history contributes to debates around migration, interracial marriage, and class to challenge racist narratives.
Send us feedback
Do you have any feedback about the book, the launch, or the project as a whole? Please let us know with the following form.