Bogle L’Ouverture Publications, named in honour of two outstanding liberation fighters in Caribbean history, Toussaint L'Ouverture and Paul Bogle, was founded in 1968 by Eric and Jessica Huntley. It was among the first black owned, independent publishers in the UK, providing a platform for African Caribbean writers to articulate their cultural and social experiences. Eric later described it as an ‘oasis in the desert of West London’. Visitors to the shop were able to discover new radical publications, meet authors at book launches and find books to suit children from diverse backgrounds. It also became a place for teachers to learn new ways to teach their subjects and was frequently visited by artists and intellectuals visiting the UK.
However, becoming a hub for African-Caribbean Londoners whilst supporting radical ideas also lead to a number of racist attacks on this community space (1977-79),including graffiti, broken windows, threatening phone calls and excrement being pushed through the letterbox. Nonetheless, together with New Beacon Books, a strong alliance was formed that stood up to racism and showed that they would not be intimidated.
The most influential book published here is the groundbreaking How EuropeUnderdeveloped Africa by Dr Walter Rodney, which has been translated into several languages. Other bestselling authors include Linton Kwesi Johnson, Andrew Salkeyand Valerie Bloom. Today BLP is being redeveloped into a Community Interest Company, continuing in the tradition and philosophy with which it was started nearly fifty years ago by showcasing debut and contemporary authors, as well as a range of out of print, forgotten and neglected books about the experiences, achievements and aspirations of African-Caribbean people.