April 2019 marked the 40th anniversary of the death of Blair Peach (25 March 1946 - 23 April 1979). Blair Peach was a young white New Zealander, a teacher, and a liberal.
He worked as a fireman and as a hospital orderly in New Zealand before moving to London in 1969. He taught at the Phoenix school in the London borough of Bow for children with additional needs and was an active member of the East London Teachers' Association, a branch of the National Union of Teachers.
On 23 april 1979, he was injured as he took part in an anti-fascist march in Southall, and he died the next day in Ealing hospital. 8000 sikhs visited the Dominion cinema, Southall (now demolished) to pay their last respects to Blair Peach on the eve of his funeral.
The Metropolitan Police identified the probable responsibility of one of their own officers in reports finally made available to the public on 27 April 2010.
Because of the controversy surrounding Blair Peach's death, his struggle against racism has never been properly commemorated. 3 Billboards for Blair Peach was intended by the artist as the simplest of memorials - naming Blair Peach publicly 40 years after he lost his life opposing racism.
The great American reformer, Dr Martin Luther King, counselled that equality was everyone's responsibility. He urged the civil rights movement to embrace its white 'brothers and sisters', encouraging them to march side by side in a joint struggle for equality.
3 billboards for Blair Peach set out to commemorate a man who opposed racism even though he was not, himself, from an ethnic minority background.
3 Billboards for Blair Peach
Artist in Residence, Clear Channel UK