Dorothy Kuya died on 23 December 2013 after a short illness. Dorothy was a tireless campaigner against discrimination and racism. Born in Liverpool in April 1932, to a white English mother and a Sierra Leone father, she trained as a nurse and as a teacher. Blessed with excellent communication skills allied to a keen mind and a direct approach, Dorothy was a formidable campaigner.

She has been variously been described as a cultural historian (reflected in her interests in African culture and heritage), a political activist (member of the British Communist Party from a young age (where she met Paul Roberson and Pablo Picasso among others), a community champion (a leading member of Granby Residents Association).

It is as an anti-racist campaigner that Dorothy first came to national prominence when she was employed as the first Community Relations Officer in Merseyside. Dorothy was also involved in the

Many projects were developed in Liverpool with Dorothy’s input during her time as CRO including, Martin Luther King Foundation which resulted in the successful development of South Liverpool Personnel, a community-based employment and training agency, the Black Social Workers Project, Ujaama House, for homeless young people and the Merseyside Caribbean Centre.

Dorothy was a major influence on the politicisation of many young Liverpool-born black people who later went on to take leading roles in the black community’s development.

In 1980, Dorothy moved to London to take up the post of Head Race Equality Adviser for Haringey Council. She worked closely with the then Leader of Haringey Council, Bernie Grant, with whom she formed a lasting political alliance. She was also a member of the Inquiry chaired by Lord Gifford that produced the Broadwater Farm report on the 1985 riots in Haringey. She left Haringey Council to set up a race equality consultancy called Affirmata and campaigned against racism and sexism in children’s book.

In the mid-1980s, she became chair of Ujima, a London-wide housing association and helped steer the organisation to become the largest black-run social enterprise in Europe. A founder member and Director of Ujima, Tony Soares said, “she was the best chair I ever had, supportive and decisive.”

Dorothy returned to Liverpool in 1994. With Eric Lynch, she instituted and conducted the Liverpool Slavery History Trailtours around the city helping reveal Liverpool’s hidden history.

She was a key figure in trying to establish the International Slavery Museum in Liverpool which she saw as part of the reparation to African slaves. The museum opened on 23 August 2007.

Dorothy bequeathed her library (over 2000 books and publications) to Africa Presence, an organisation she helped set up to promote African heritage and culture.

Dorothy has made a lasting impression on me as an exceptional, passionate and articulate person with an energetic mind. She was kind, generous with her time and a role model to me and many others. We will miss this great daughter of Liverpool.

Louis Julienne