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As a founder of the Rock Against Racism movement in the 1970s Red Saunders was a key player behind the gigs and festivals that inspired a generation of musicians and activists.
Rock Against Racism was a grassroots political and cultural movement that emerged as a reaction to the rise of the far right and the increasing number of racist attacks in the UK. It came to life in August, 1976, shortly after Eric Clapton’s infamous drunken rant in support of Enoch Powell at the Birmingham Odeon.
Over six years between 1977-1983 RAR organised over five hundred gigs up and down the country, as well as the national carnivals organised in conjunction with the Anti Nazi League. Hundreds of thousands came onto the streets to march and unite against racism and the National Front, with bands such as The Clash, X-Ray Spex, Buzzcocks and Steel Pulse, all appearing at events throughout the country.
The Images below are from Red’s Archive documenting the RAR gigs up and down the country, as well as around the record shops of Manchester’s Moss Side during the Northern Carnival in nearby Alexandra Park.
Red also documented the Northern Soul scene at Wigan casino whilst working as a photographer for the Sunday Mirror Magazine in the 1970s.
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British Culture Archive is a registered non profit resource set up to document culture and social change in the UK. In 2021 we plan to open a permanent gallery and exhibition space in Manchester where we can showcase our People’s Archive alongside guest exhibitions from our featured photographers. If you appreciate the work we do you please support our Crowdfunder which will help towards our gallery space as well as exhibitions that we are holding throughout the UK. You can support us here.
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