The History of Hull’s Afro-Caribbean Centre

After conversations with the interim chairman, I wrote up this short piece on the history of a local community space.

Hull African-Caribbean Association (HACA), or African-Caribbean Society as it was known, was established in 1983. From humble beginnings, in the living rooms of the founding members and meetings in their shops, HACA has travelled a journey of marginalisation, financial difficulties, closures and re-openings but above all perseverance, unity and courage. With the ongoing support of the people of Hull and the council; this centre has served our city and will continue into the future.

Warrell, a Caribbean gentleman living in Hull, passed away in 1983.This man who lived a humble relatively solitary life was destined to be buried in an unmarked grave. The prospect of such a sad ending energised the African-Caribbean people of Hull into setting about to provide Warrell with a dignified send off. They made contact with Warrell’s relatives in the USA, and the deceased was afforded a fitting funeral.

After the funeral, at a hotel above the Merchant Navy Social Club, members of the community agreed that there was a need to establish an African-Caribbean Association in Hull. In part this was in order that unmarked graves and undignified funerals for our elders would become a thing of the past, and partially to preserve and improve the life and lives of our community. From this funeral reception, through the conversations that were held and the shaking of hands the African-Caribbean Associated took root.

Meetings began in Livingstone Lynch’s living room, and Horace Irving’s shop on Hessle Road. As more people came forward, feeling a need to be part of the new community group, the group started meeting in bigger rooms at the New York Hotel on Anlaby road and Myton School hall.

Eventually, due to the community’s sense of belonging it became necessary for a permanent space. Our late Ras. A. Goulbourne elder, fronted the council and asked for a building. The council responded to his request positively and promised both a premises and a promise of continued support. The council provided both the building in which we are still based and £100,000 on restoration.

When our elder Ras. A Goulbourne passed away earlier this year, the keys where passed to an interim chairman Mr. Irving, who preferred to play a supportive role in HACA rather than a leading one considering it essential that somebody would take on the difficult task permanently.

HACA plays a huge (and growing) role in our community. HACA is a resource for people from the African-Caribbean community to come with their problems and seeking support. A place to promote peace and build and maintain bridges in our community. Thus the role of a chairperson is effectively central in our community.

Our centre had survived throughout the years to the continuous efforts of the founding members and the Hull City Council. Now the centre will count on continuous commitment from its members to guarantee our future.

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