Olive Morris

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Olive Morris
St Catherine, Jamaica
Died12 July 1979
St Thomas's Hospital, Lambeth[1]
Cause of deathNon-Hodgkin lymphoma[1]
EducationHeathbrook primary school; Lavender Hill Girls' Secondary School; Tulse Hill secondary school; London College of Printing; Manchester University[1]

Olive Elaine Morris (26 June 1952 – 12 July 1979)[1] was a British community leader and activist in the feminist, black nationalist, and squatters' rights campaigns of the 1970s in the United Kingdom.


Olive Morris was born in 1952 in St Catherine, Jamaica, to Doris (née Moseley) and Vincent Nathaniel Morris, and moved to London, England, with her family at the age of nine.[1] She lived predominantly in South London.[2] Leaving school without qualifications, she later went on to study at the London College of Printing.[1]

She was a founding member of the Organisation of Women of African and Asian Descent (OWAAD) in London, established the Brixton Black Women's Group, was a member of the British Black Panther Movement (along with others including Linton Kwesi Johnson and Farrukh Dhondy), and helped found the Manchester Black Women's Cooperative and Manchester Black Women's Mutual Aid Group.[3][1]

Recognition and legacy[edit]

Morris died of Non-Hodgkin lymphoma at the age of 27 in 1979. Lambeth Council named one of its key buildings after her, in 1986.[4]

Morris is depicted on the B£1 denomination of the Brixton Pound, a local currency in Brixton, London.

In October 2008 the Remembering Olive Collective was started.[2]

In 2018, in celebration of the 100th anniversary of women's right to vote, The Voice newspaper listed Olive Morris – alongside Kathleen Wrasama, Connie Mark, Fanny Eaton, Diane Abbott, Lilian Bader, Margaret Busby, and Mary Seacole – among eight Black women who have contributed to the development of Britain.[5] She was also named by the Evening Standard on a list of 14 "Inspirational black British women throughout history" (alongside Mary Seacole, Claudia Jones, Adelaide Hall, Margaret Busby, Joan Armatrading, Tessa Sanderson, Doreen Lawrence, Maggie Aderin-Pocock, Sharon White, Malorie Blackman, Diane Abbott, Zadie Smith and Connie Mark.[6]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Emma Allotey, "Morris, Olive Elaine (1952–1979)", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, May 2012. Accessed 15 March 2017.
  2. ^ a b She had three brothers and two sisters.Sheila Ruiz (16 October 2009). "Do you remember Olive Morris?". BBC News. Retrieved 26 July 2016.
  3. ^ Red Chidgey (25 July 2010). "Do you remember Olive Morris?". Red Pepper. Retrieved 26 December 2013.
  4. ^ "Olive Morris House". Lambeth Council. Retrieved 24 July 2017.
  5. ^ Leah Sinclair, "Suffrage 100: The Black Women Who Changed British History", The Voice, 6 February 2018.
  6. ^ Georgia Chambers, "Inspirational black British women throughout history", Evening Standard, 11 October 2018.

External links[edit]