Friday, 23 April 2010

George Barnsby - socialist historian - RIP

George Barnsby 'a local legend who did so much for Black Country', has sadly died - see below for a letter to the Morning Star:

I was saddened to hear of the death of our great friend George Barnsby. He was a lifelong communist and an important historian of the working-class movement in the Black Country.

All his life he was a socialist, historian, teacher and profound anti-racist. He wrote over 30 histories and pamphlets on the radical and socialist history of Birmingham and the Black Country from his adopted home of Wolverhampton.

As a Black Country bloke in the words of EP Thomson he rescued my working-class history from "the enormous condescension of posterity." George also worked hard for racial equality and in a town that was the political home of Enoch Powell this was no small challenge.

He made a huge contribution to the understanding of the early working-class movement in our region from the Owenites and Chartists right through to modern political parties, trade unions and co-operative societies.

He will be greatly missed by his comrades and friends. Deepest condolences to his wife Esme and his two sons, William and Robert and all his family.

Nick Matthews

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