Our history

The RACE Centre was established by Lou Kushnick, Professor of Sociology at The University of Manchester, in 1999.

Photo: Lou Kushnick, Professor of Sociology
Lou Kushnick, Professor of Sociology

His vision was for a collection that would not only have huge research value, but also be instrumental in celebrating Global Majority histories and cultures and combating racism. This vision underpins all of the work we do today.

The Ahmed Iqbal Ullah Education Trust was founded two years later. The Trust is an independent charity, and works in partnership with the RACE Centre. The Trust works closely with Global Majority communities to document their histories, and in many cases, this work results in donations to the RACE Centre collections. Through these, and other donations, our collections are constantly evolving.  

Ahmed Iqbal Ullah

The RACE Centre is named after Ahmed Iqbal Ullah. Ahmed was a Bangladeshi-heritage school boy who, at the age of 13, was killed in a racist attack by a fellow pupil in the playground of a high school in Manchester.

Photo: Ahmed Iqbal Ullah
Ahmed Iqbal Ullah

Ahmed had a keen sense of justice and often stood up to bullies, defending younger Asian boys when they were attacked. His murder was retaliation for just such an action. It was poorly handled by statutory agencies and not initially recognised as a racist attack.

Following a sustained and brave campaign spearheaded by his family and supported by anti-racist activists and many residents of Greater Manchester (and beyond), Manchester City Council commissioned an inquiry. The Inquiry report, (the Macdonald Report, published in 1988) concluded that race had indeed been a key factor in Ahmed's murder.

Legacy Materials

In 2016-17, marking 30 years since Ahmed's death, we undertook an NHLF-supported project, The Legacy of Ahmed, to commemorate his life. The project was developed closely with the Ullah family and sought to sensitively explore not simply his murder, but also the positive legacy.

Explore the Legacy of Ahmed project archive collection.

At the Centre we have various related resources including the final MacDonald Inquiry report, 'Murder in the Playground', which you can find in our library, and the original papers of the Inquiry which are held in our archive. Access restrictions apply to this collection, please contact us for details.