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Civil Rights Campaign and Responses in Sheffield

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Guest TheBotanical

I am trying to find evidence/sources that exist that deal with migration in Sheffield during the 40s, 50s and 60s mainly from the Caribbean. I am interested in witnessing responses in the media, particularly the Sheffield Star, also looking at responses to the US Civil Rights Movement. I understand Malcolm X visited Sheffield but there seems very little evidence. Can anybody help and point me in the right direction with articles or dates? Thank you.


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Malcolm X visited the UK several times over three months in 1964/65.  It would have been interesting to interview Miss Devoto to get her recollections, although sadly she died in 2001 aged 59.  Maybe there are others who attended who might be able to give you their thoughts?

From: Malcolm X at Oxford Union: Racial Politics in a Global Era  By Saladin Ambar

After Oxford, a letter would be delivered by airmail to Malcolm's Harlem office. Addressed to "Mr. Malcolm X" and the °`Organization for Afro-American Unity, Harlem, New York City U.S.A.” without so much as a zip code, the author almost imploringly included on the upper left corner a winking plea: `PLEASE FORWARD BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY.’ The writer was a young woman named Sandra M. Devoto of Sheffield, England. She had heard Malcolm speak in Sheffield after his brief stint there and in Manchester, the day after the Oxford talk. Dated December 5, the day after his departure from the UK, the letter is worth reprinting here in its entirety, as it conveys how Malcolm’s own personal liberation embodied great potential for a more radical politics to emerge within the context of multiracial communities in the West:

Dear Malcolm X,

I am the girl in the turquoise sweater, pearl necklace, and black skirt who shook hands with you saying I agreed with everything you said. Believe me, I really mean it.

Politically l hold no firm views, can be swayed, see both sides of the question. Religiously also I can see all good and bad points in all faiths. There are only two things in which I take a sure and steadfast stand, I am against, with no reservations whatever, Prejudice, especially racial or colour prejudice and Hypocrisy. To me, these are the worst sins and the greatest trouble causes in the world today: I hope you don’t dismiss this letter as stupid, there are so many things I would like to say; but alas, am not as articulate as I would like to be.

lf only there was something I could do to help, however, I don’t know what you would feel or do about an Anglo-Italian, female agnostic who doesn’t see what she can do anyway. I know you have a great sense of humour, so am sure you will at least have a laugh!

All of us here will I am sure, follow your progress with great hope and enthusiasm. I certainly hope that you will visit this country and come to Sheffield again in the near future, though of course I realize that your work lies in the United States. Please let me know if there is anything I can do to help as I feel so impotent sitting here talking and discussing the problem but never being able to do anything constructive.

I shall never forget meeting you,

Yours sincerely,


Sandra M. Devoto (Miss)

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