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Dorrett Buckley Greaves


How the black community set up SADACCA

Black and white photograph of the front door of SADACCA.
The front door of SADACCA in 2005, formerly the office of Samuel Osborne steel works. © Carl Rose


Dorrett has lived in Burngreave for almost 50 years. During most of that time she has been an active member of SADACCA (Sheffield and District African Caribbean Community Association). In the extract below she talks about how the organisation was set up.

This sound clip lasts for 9 minutes and 13 seconds.

So it was, it started at SADACCA and then..?

No! It started at the huts in Oxford Street. We coming there. Then, after a while, we were there and we were trying to get a place and we were coming up against a lot of obstacle. An' we were supposed to get somewhere up here at...Ellesmere, beside the church there, the church hall. We were supposed to get, we supposed to get three - is it three hundred pounds or three million pounds to develop that, as a centre, because we advocate for it and we had people in the, some of our members went and joined the trade union thing...because where, according to where they work. An' this powerful man here name George Caborn, when he speak, thunder rolls, he was ready, head of the trade, the steel works an' the trade union, you know what I mean. And we were, he came up to us an' try to help us an' say he'll help us, you know, whatever an' so what...because one of our members was a member of his trade union, communist...thing. (smiling) And, you know, when he's, when he's (mouth sound)...during the holiday season when the trade union is marching t'rough an have a...what time of year they have it ? During holiday...but they would march. The trade union would was a long march from all the way down. We use to get involved in everything, like the Lord Mayor's Parade, yes...because we were there as a recognised organisation, though we, you know, so they always come and involve us, invite us to be part...and parcel of that. And then you have the United Nation Association which we were affiliated to and, you know, we get to know, they get to know us and we get to know them. We get to exchange our views an' the United Nations Association used to meet once a year and have a, you know like. Everybody come an' we go there an we have a food fair an' everybody go an' do their...exhibit their wares, you go an' you cook. An' the French would do, you know, they do their pastry an' this an' that an the English, they cooking their cakes an this an' that, plus rice an' peas an' chicken was our ..thing. An' we used to go cook we rice an' peas an' chicken and they used to enjoy that and, you know, so each one, we get to know each other and it was a good thing. An' then after a while we got the...turn it.

An all during this time, they develop the Sheffield Racial Equality Unit and we were part of that, we were on the board an ting like that. Meet at the city hall an, you know, and sub committees, yeah and I used to go out an' talk scouting. An then I met Dorothy Dixon Barrow at a meeting. And I invite her to come an' join us an' she was reluctant an she didn't, you know, because she say join other thing but an la la la la la. Anyway three times, until she come, until she come. An' look what the contribution, what Dorothy did to Sheffield, you know. I was there, I am the one that got her on there...that's my role.


I work undercover, like an undercover agent...all for the good of the organisation an...when, what happen...we had a the huts, we couldn't get a place to move to, because we wanted a place to move, to develop ourself. An' we go to the town hall an we advocate an' da deh dah ..nothing happen...however we, there was a fire. I don't know how and why. [smiling] But when the fire, the fire burn down our hut...mmhh. So we didn't have anywhere to meet now. So we went to the authorities an' tell them that we don't have anywhere to meet an' they were trying to push us in with somebody...we say, 'No, no, no, no, no! We want a place of our own, we want to develop, culture, educate the children,' you know, what we doing at SADACCA now.


We give them our...[clock chimes] prospectus, is that it? An' tell them what we want, an' so on an' so forth, and they couldn't get us anywhere. Everywhere they give us, we turn it down. An' so they said, "Well, you go an' look somewhere you self...then, an' come back to us"... And so we found this place down here, we went to Philadelphia Centre but we had to share that with other groups an we say, 'No, we want a place of our own.' And they start to shout that we here so long, an' we have given our time and effort, we helped, we contribute to the economy of the city an' la la la la la because George Caborn tell, George Caborn tell them what to say, those that had the clout [laughter]. So I tag along. [laughter] An' so, when the thing come down, you see, but we had friends in high places, you know. I'm not knocking those people. And so, when they, we look around an' this place, we saw this place, Samuel Osborne place. An' they went to the city hall, city council an' they say, 'Oh no, that's a listed building.' An' so we say, 'Oh yes, thaat's what we want. If it's listed, it's not going away, is it ?' [laughter] And it was in a terrible state. And we went through a terrible time with that, I tell you. There were people there that didn't want us to get it at all, in the council, didn't want us to get it at all. But there were people there that were working for us in there, because we had someone, because of the racism in here an the terrible racism with the Police an' all that sort of thing, you know. Riots. When the riots start in America, it came here.


Oh yes...everywhere...everybody else was black power an' things like that. And so we had to have a worker in the city council that was working for race, race equality, race this. An' so he, we had our man in there. And he...could see about things at the onset. An' so...when we got the place, they say, 'No, we couldn't have it because it was listed.' An' so we said, 'Yes, we'll have it because it's listed.' the past you have to have, an architect have to give you in, you know, you've got to give you look at the building an' give you the report back. An' that use to take you up to six months, you know what I mean? The city council, the people in there who didn't want us to have it, they...gave us a fortnight...But God was on our not going...God was on our side...What he did, we had a couple that were working for the city council that were architects and one was a Jamaican an' she was married to an'...English man. An they were devout people and they were interested in our development. An' they took night and day after work an' sit up through the night and got it prepared. An theee...person who was working there, for the race...


Equality, I forget his title - we call him race equality manager for the moment. [laughter] An' he, does tree and our officials an the committee members sit up and get it ready...prepared. An when the, he got it on his desk, the official in question, got it on his desk, he was shocked an' he couldn't do anything about it because this person that work there was very influential an' he was there, working on our behalf
because that was his job for work for the black an' ethnic, whether you [were] Asian.

Extract of an interview with Dorrett Buckley Greaves recorded by Camille Daughma for the Burngreave Voices oral history archive, June 2006.