Stephen Lawrence Day 2024- Books and Archive Resources

Stephen Lawrence Day 2024 aims to inspire societal transformation by empowering the next generation with knowledge that transcends traditional educational paradigms.

By redefining the essence of education, we aim to unearth and address the deep-seated legacies of colonialism, empowering young minds to lead with courage.

Stephen Lawrence Day Foundation, 2024.1

For 2024, the Ahmed Iqbal Ullah RACE Centre commemorates Stephen Lawrence Day by sharing our collections to understand race and colonialism within the criminal justice system and media, and the legacy of the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry.

Stephen Lawrence Newspaper Cuttings Collection

Stephen Lawrence was murdered while waiting for a bus on the 22 April 1993 in a racially motivated attack. Five suspects were identified but after several police failings it took almost 20 years for two of the suspects to be charged and convicted in 2012. The case highlighted not only the racism prevalent in Britain but also the racism and failings that existed in the police force.

Recognising the importance of the event and how the media would cover it, Lou Kushnick collected and donated the newspaper cuttings charting the murder and criminal case from 1993-2013 to the Ahmed Iqbal Ullah RACE Centre

Collage of newspaper cuttings overlapped on top of each other and blurred.
GB3228.18, Stephen Lawrence Newspaper Cuttings Collection, various newspaper cuttings collage, 1993-2013. (See reference list at the end for full list of featured archive items)

These newspaper cuttings illustrate the media’s reaction to the murder at the time and its aftermath.2 The media’s coverage of Stephen’s case traces the story of deep-rooted racism found within the criminal justice system and the eventual inquiry into their mishandling of the case.3

In 1999, former high court judge Sir William Macpherson led an inquiry into the racist murder of Stephen Lawrence and its surrounding policing operation. The Macpherson Report identified the existence of institutional racism within the Metropolitan Police and stated that the investigation had been “marred by a combination of professional incompetence, institutional racism and a failure of leadership by senior officers”.

Book cover with bold title 'Stephen Lawrence Inquiry'
CR.4.01/MAC, The Stephen Lawrence Inquiry: Report of an inquiry by Sir William Macpherson of Cluny, 1999.

In 1995, Stephen’s parents, Doreen and Neville Lawrence wrote on the ‘eve of an historical legal challenge’ and initiated their own private criminal prosecution against the murderers of their son- a new campaign the Price for Justice, seeking help and support.

You can search through the Stephen Lawrence Newspaper Cuttings Collection catalogue (GB3228.18) via the Manchester Libraries catalogue. Or book to view this collection through the archive search room online booking form.

The Legacy of Stephen Lawrence

The legacy of the Stephen Lawrence case and the Macpherson Report is evident within a wide variety of material produced subsequently, including creative works. It has also inspired organisations to take further action to implement the recommendations offered through the Inquiry.

The Commission for Racial Equality published a report in 1999 summarising their work at regional and national level to follow up on the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry Report. The CRE report stipulates how integral their role is in influencing organisational policies to be actively anti-racist.

Bound cover with title 'ACTION FOLLOWING THE STEPHEN LAWRENCE INQUIRY REPORT-UPDATE' by the Commission for Racial Equality.
 PO.1.02/COM, Action following the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry Report: update, Commission for Racial Equality, 1999.

The Colour of Justice play, written by Richard Norton-Taylor, was a dramatic insight into Lawrence’s killing and subsequent investigation. Extracting from over 10,000 pages worth of transcripts from the inquiry, it reflects acts of racism discovered throughout the operation. These accounts are taken directly from police witnesses who denied significant evidence.

The theatre programme that accompanied the production contains an overview of racial violence in South-East London, the murder of Stephen Lawrence and the inquiry into police conduct during the investigation.

Book cover with title 'The colour of Justice' with image of 2 police officers in front of Stephen Lawrence Family Campaign poster.
2 page spread from 'The Colour of Justice'- Left page shows list of suspects and witnesses in the Stephen Lawrence case. Right page shows map of site where Stephen Lawrence was murdered.
CR.4.01/SHA, The Colour of justice the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry, Shallice Jane, 1999.

You can book to view an edited extract from play inspired by the case, The Colour of Justice (GB3228.18/6/9) here.

In 2000, Brian Cathcart publishes ‘The Case of Stephen Lawrence’ and confronts how tragically Stephen Lawrence’s young life was wasted and of the bungled Police investigation into the murder.

Bound cover with bold title 'The Case of Stephen Lawrence; with portrait of Stephen Lawrence.
CR.4.01/CAT, The Case of Stephen Lawrence, Brian, Cathcart, 2000.

Further Reading

Below are further titles to explore in our library. A number of these books are reading recommendations from the Stephen Lawrence Day Foundation. All these books are available to search via the Manchester Libraries catalogue.  

Criminal Justice responses to the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry: a compilation of articles and reports (CR.4.01/CRI)

Bound cover with bold title 'Criminal Justice: Responses to the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry.

Murder in the Playground- the Burnage Report, Ian Macdonald, Reena Bhavnani, Lily Khan, Gus John (MAN/ED.11/MAC)

Book cover with bold title 'Murder in the Playground' and portrait image of Ahmed Iqbal Ullah.

Anti-racist defence lawyer, Ian Macdonald, was counsel in high-profile cases relating to prejudice within the criminal justice system. He represented Stephen’s friend, Duwayne Brookes, in the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry. Earlier than this, Ian Macdonald was also commissioned by Manchester City Council to conduct a public inquiry into racism in the city’s schools, like the Macpherson Report, following the racially motivated murder of schoolboy Ahmed Iqbal Ullah in Manchester in 1986.

You can read more about this through the Legacy of Ahmed Project Collection catalogue (GB3228.19).

The Lonely Londoners, S. Selvon (FIC/SIL)

The Hate You Give, A. Thomas (YAFIC/THO)

In the Shadow of Enoch Powell, S. Hirsch (HI.1/HIR)

How the West Indian child is made educationally sub-normal in the British school system, B. Coard (ED.9.01/COA)

The New Cross massacre story interviews with John La Rose (CR.4.01/NEW)

Antiracist Baby, I.X. Kendi (JUN/KEN 0-5 YEARS)

We Sang Across the Sea, B. Zephaniah (JUN/ZEP 0-5 YEARS)

Display of 6 books in Ahmed Iqbal Ullah RACE Centre library, as recommended by the Stephen Lawrence Day Foundation.

The Stephen Lawrence Day book display featuring these titles will be up to view in our library from 19th April 2024.

For more information and resources, read Manchester Libraries blog on Stephen Lawrence Day here.


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  2. GB3228.18/1/1, Stephen Lawrence Newspaper Cuttings Collection, ‘Black and white unite in grief’ – racially mixed group protests at the killing of a Black teenager in South-East London”, 2 May 1993.

    GB3228.18/3/4, Stephen Lawrence Newspaper Cuttings Collection, ‘Community view in black and white’, 27 Apr 1996.

    GB3228.18/5/38, Stephen Lawrence Newspaper Cuttings Collection, ‘Media’s distorted view of the Lawrence inquiry’, 1 July 1998.
  3. GB3228.18/4/6, Stephen Lawrence Newspaper Cuttings Collection, ‘Former judge to lead inquiry into race murder’, 1 Aug 1997.

    GB3228.18/13/3, Stephen Lawrence Newspaper Cuttings Collection, ‘The Lawrence case has at last made us confront the complex nature of racism’, 8 Jan 2012.

    GB3228.18/5/4, Stephen Lawrence Newspaper Cuttings Collection, ‘Lift the veil on racist Britain: It’s not Stephen Lawrence’s killers who are on trial but the entire criminal justice system’, Mar 1998.

    GB3228.18/3/5, Stephen Lawrence Newspaper Cuttings Collection, ‘Lawrence CPS official “hid racism”’, 28 Apr 1996.

    GB3228.18/4/5, Stephen Lawrence Newspaper Cuttings Collection, ‘CPS and police face race inquiry: four years after Stephen Lawrence died, former judge Sir William Macpherson is to inquire into the handling of such cases'”, 1 Aug 1997. ↩︎