Radical black publisher and pioneering social activist, Buzz Johnson, leaves lasting legacy

A pioneering, radical Black publisher and social activist who challenged neo-colonialism, injustice and discrimination has suddenly passed away aged 62.

Norris “Buzz” Johnson founded Karia Press in the 70s, which went on to publish Chris Searle’s Grenada Morning, about the Grenada Revolution, and A Blindfold Removed, about Ethiopian literacy, as well as a report on the Broadwater Farm riots.

Mr Johnson was also responsible for “re-discovering” the forgotten civil rights activist Claudia Jones, penning and publishing her compelling story in the book, I Think of My Mother.

Born in Tobago, he moved to Hackney in the 70s to study a degree in mechanical engineering and pure maths, living in Stoke Newington, Clapton and Homerton since that time.

He founded community institutions like the Claudia Jones Organisation in Stoke Newington which supports women of Afro-Caribbean heritage, supplementary schools to help boost educational attainment before it was de-rigueur, and community advice and drop-in centres to tackle issues like workers’ and welfare rights, school exclusion, deaths in custody, youth training, and pensioner isolation.

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