SPEAKING TRUTH TO POWER: The Life and Times of an African Caribbean British Man

Product no.: HP259

The Authorised Biography of Arthur France, MBE by Max Farrar


Arthur France is someone that ‘the establishment’ would prefer to keep hidden from British history. But he has made history, and this book explains how and why.

He was born and raised on the Caribbean island of Nevis and arrived in Leeds in the north of England in 1957. He soon began to organise members of the local Caribbean community into a united force for social progress and was awarded an MBE in 1997.

But Arthur France is best known as the founder of the first Black-led Caribbean Carnival in Europe. This was in Leeds in 1967, but his idea for carnival was not merely sequins and feathers – for him, Carnival was a symbol of Emancipation and a vehicle for changing people’s lives.

If Leeds is now a city that embraces diversity, it is in no small part due to Arthur France and his brothers and sisters in struggle.

In telling Arthur’s story, author Max Farrar also reflects upon the struggle for justice and equality led by so many members of Britain’s Black and Brown communities. It provides the context of violent racism, including the white riots in London’s Notting Hill, the relentless provocation towards their own self-defence, and the growth of the Black Power movement. This remarkable man’s life story is a poignant narrative about ‘race’ in post-war Britain.

An Appendix provides a detailed history of St Kitts and Nevis from the first colonial settlement in 1624 up to independence, which was achieved on 19 September 1983.


“... a truly educational text which tells the story of a life committed to community, to the struggle for racial equality and to the celebration of Black culture.”  Dr Emily Zobel Marshall, Reader in Postcolonial Literature, Leeds Beckett University

“... a powerful resource for those who want to understand Britain’s contested multiculturalism. Arthur France and author Max Farrar retrace Arthur’s life as a driving force within the ‘Windrush generation’ – from Nevis to Yorkshire...”  Professor Paul Warmington, author of Black British Intellectuals and Education

  • 216 x 138 mm
  • 296 pages
  • Paperback

Dr Max Farrar has been involved in grass-roots politics in Leeds, UK, since 1968. In the 1980s, he worked in further and adult education at the Harehills and Chapeltown Law Centre. He also worked for the Runnymede Trust in London and as a freelance writer/photographer. His PhD examining the Black-led social movements in Chapeltown in the 1970s, 80s and 90s, was published as The Struggle for ‘Community’ (2002). Edited books include Islam in the West: Key Issues in Multiculturalism (2012) and Celebrate! Fifty Years of Leeds West Indian Carnival (2017), with Guy Farrar and Tim Smith, which includes his photos and text.

He retired from paid work in 2009 as Professor for Community Engagement at Leeds Beckett (formerly Metropolitan) University, where he taught and researched in sociology from the early 1990s. Max Farrar is secretary to the Board of the David Oluwale Memorial Association, a registered charity which uses all forms of art and performance in communicating messages for inclusion, diversity and social justice.

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