Archive | February, 2010

Cyrille Regis – Footballer



Cyrille Regis, Is a famous black British footballer, he was one of the earliest black players in the modern leagues. The striker, whose trademark was scoring highly spectacular goals, began his playing career at West Brom with star players like Laurie Cunningham, Brendon Batson, Derek Statham, Len Cantello and Tony ‘Bomber’ Brown.

Regis broke into the first team at West Bromwhich Albion within a few months of signing for West Brom in May 1977 and remembers some of the racial abuse that he endured initially from some of the Hawthorns crowd;

“I think they were rebelling against me ’cause I’d taken a white guy’s place in the team.” (Quoted in Cashmore, 1981, p154).

However, the West Brom fans, impressed by his early scoring exploits were quick to warm to the former electrician who had joined Albion from non-league Hayes. Regis believed that it was this early recognition and acceptance of his talents by both the club and fans alike, which allowed his career at West Brom to develop.

Large black communities in nearby Handsworth also provided support for Regis and his colleagues at a time when black fans were reluctant to attend matches for fear of their own safety. Regis would later reach the pinnacle of his career in 1987, when he was a key figure in Coventry City’s F.A. Cup winning triumph.
He stayed at Coventry City where another seven years winning the only major medal of his career. He then played two years for Aston Villa and ended his career at Wolverhampton Wanderers, Wycombe Wanderers and Chester

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Lenny Henry – Othello

Lenny Henry as Othello

Lenny Henry as Othello

If you missed the opportunity to see Lenny Henry Play Othello on the Theatre Circuit last year, you’ll be pleased to know that the BBC ran it on Radio4 Today.
you can also listen to the programme that followed Henry as he prepared for the role.
Listen to the whole Play here on iPlayer.

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W.E Du Bois



William Edward Burghardt Du Bois was born on (February 23, 1868? he was an American civil rights activist,Pan-Africanist,sociologist,historian,author, and editor.

He grew up in Great Barrington, a predominately Anglo American town. His Mother, Mary Silvina Burghardt’s family was part of the very small free black population of Great Barrington, having long owned land in the state. Their family descended from Dutch and African ancestors, including Tom, a West African-born man who served as a private for Captain John Spoor’s company in 1780, a service which likely won him his freedom. According to Du Bois, several of his mothers ancestors were notably involved in regional history.

William Edward Burghardt DuBois was one of this country’s most distinguished educators. Born in a small village in Massachusetts in 1868, DuBois first came face to face with the realities of racism in 19th century America while attending Fisk University in Nashville. It was while completing his graduate studies at Harvard that DuBois wrote an exhaustive study of the history of the slave trade — one that is still considered one of the most comprehensive on that subject.

In 1895 he was the first African American to earn a Ph.D. from Havard University.

In 1903 he wrote Thebook “The Souls of Black Folk” which serves as the underpinning of access to many of his ideas.

In 1905 W.E.B. Dubois, John Hope, Monroe Trotter and 27 others met secretly in the home of Mary B. Talbert, a prominant member of Buffalo’s Michigan Street Baptist Church.? there they adopted the resolutions which lead to the founding of the Niagara Movement. The Niagara Movement will renounce Booker T. Washington’s accommodation policies set forth in his famed “Atlanta Compromise” speech ten years earlier. The Niagara Movement’s manifesto is, in the words of Du Bois, “We want full manhood suffrage and we want it now…. We are men! We want to be treated as men. And we shall win.” The movement will be a forerunner of the NAACP.

Despite the establishment of 30 branches and the achievement of a few scattered civil-rights victories at the local level, the group suffered from organizational weakness and lack of funds as well as a permanent headquarters or staff, and it never was able to attract mass support. After the Springfield? Race Riot of 1908, however, white liberals joined with the nucleus of Niagara “militants” and founded the NAACP the following year, 1909. The Niagara Movement disbanded in 1910, with the leadership of Du Bois forming the main continuity between the two organizations.

W.E.B. DuBois continued to work as an author, lecturer and educator throughout the first half of the 20th Century . His teachings were an important influence on the Civil Rights Movement of the’50s and’60s. Ironically, DuBois died on the eve of the historic march on Washington in 1963.? The Actor and playwright Ossie Davis read an announcement of his death to the 250,000 people gathered the next day at the Washington Monument.

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Viv Anderson – Footballer

Viv Anderson

Viv Anderson

Born in Nottingham Viv Signed as an Apprentice, Tall and rangy, he was universally known as “Spider” because of his long legs, which enabled him to win the ball cleanly in ever more unlikely situations. He was also quick, good in the air and no slouch when going forward.

Viv signed professional forms and made his debut in 1974, when he was 18. By 1976 he had cemented his place in the promotion team, and 2 years later his consistent excellence for Forest’s Championship winning side meant that he fully deserved the honour of being the first black player to win a full England cap.

After well over 400 games for Forest and a part in all of the great triumphs of his era, he left Forest for Arsenal in 1984. Eventually he became Alex Ferguson’s first signing at Manchester United, before a series of injuries led to a free transfer to Sheffield Wednesday, where he finished his playing career.

Viv briefly managed Barnsley, but his managerial career has mostly been as Bryan Robson’s no 2 at Boro. Given the fact that he is still only 5 years older than Forest’s current first choice goalkeeper, time would appear to be on his side if he ever wishes to branch out on his own again. Truly one of the all-time great Forest players.

He was awarded an MBE in January 2000.

Anderson was inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame in 2004 in recognition of his impact on the English league.

Related Links:

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Clyde Best MBE-Footballer

Clyde Best

Clyde Best

Clyde Best was one of the first black footballers to succeed in the English Football League and paved the way for a whole generation to make their way into the professional game. Clyde Best made 186 appearances for West Ham United in a six year spell at Upton Park and bagged a respectable 47 goals. Clyde moved to the United States in the 1980’s and started up a cleaning business in California.

However, he gave it all up in 1997 when he returned to his native Bermuda and answered their call to take control of the national football team.’ Clyde was a big, bustling centre-forward who scored goals for fun. Clyde Best took a lot of stick as one of the pioneering black footballers ( racism was rife in until the early 90’s at football grounds, and still is to a degree in the lower leagues), but he was a firm favourite of most of the Hammers fans. Clyde played alongside the greats of Upton Park such as Bobby Moore, Geoff Hurst and Trevor Brooking.

Best was inducted into the Bermuda National Sports Hall of Fame in 2004. He was awarded an MBE in the January 2006 New Year’s Honours list for services to football and the community in Bermuda.

Related Links

Clyde Best – football Unites Racism Divides
Clyde Best – Southend Echo

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Aunt Esther's Story – Stephen Bourne

Stephen bourne and his aunt Esther

Stephen bourne and his Aunt Esther

In 1991 Stephen Bourne and his adopted aunt, Esther Bruce (1912-94), collaborated on her autobiography Aunt Esthers Story. This is now recognised as one of the first books to document the life of a Black working-class Londoner.

In 2007 Bourne assisted in the production of a short documentary, also called Aunt Esther’s Story, with no money, in his living-room, using old family photographs and a videotaped interview with Esther.

Following successful screenings at the Tate Modern, Imperial War Museum, Peckham Library and National Portrait Gallery, as well as several film festivals, Bourne has made Aunt Esther’s Story available to view in two parts on You Tube (

Just type Aunt Esther’s Story into the search box.

Later this year Bourne’s 11th book, Mother Country: Britain’s Black Community on the Home Front 1939-1945, will be published by The History Press.

Says playwright and critic Bonnie Greer: “Stephen brings great natural scholarship and passion to a largely hidden story. He is highly accessible, accurate, and surprising. You always walk away from his work knowing something that you didn’t know, that you didn’t even suspect.”

Related Links
Stephen Bourne

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Sir Bill Morris

Sir Bill Moriss

Sir Bill Moriss

Bill Morris was born in Bombay, Jamaica in 1938 and lived with his parents (his mother was a domestic science teacher, his father a part-time policeman) in a small rural village, Cheapside, Manchester. He was educated at nearby Mizpah School where his ambition was to play cricket for the West Indies.

Bills plans to attend a prestigious agricultural college changed his father died, when he joined his recently widowed mother in Britain, living in the Handsworth district of Birmingham.

Bill started work at the Birmingham engineering company, Hardy Spicers, attending day-release courses in engineering skills at Handsworth Technical College.

Bill’s trade union life began in 1958 when he joined the Transport and General Workers Union. He was elected a shop steward at Hardy Spicers in 1963 and the following year he was involved in his first major industrial dispute, over the issue of trade union recognition.

He held a wide range of elected positions within the T&G, including membership of its governing body, the General Executive Council. The T&G had an education programme which Bill took full advantage of,learning about trade unions, labour history and industrial law and health and safety.

In 1973 He was appointed a full-time T&G Officer, as Nottingham/Derby District Organiser, and later as Northampton District Secretary. In 1979 he was appointed National Secretary for the Passenger Services Trade Group, responsible for leading national negotiations in the bus and coach industries.

He became Deputy General Secretary in 1986 and, as a result of a change in the law, was confirmed in the position by postal ballot four years later. His industrial duties included executive responsibility for the union’s four transport sectors, the car industry, energy and engineering and white collar workers.

He was also responsible for the union’s educational activities, equal opportunities and development of policies and services for women and young members.

In 1991, Bill was elected General Secretary of the T&G by a postal ballot of members. He was the first black general secretary of a trade union and one of the most influential black people in Britain.

Bill Morris made it clear he did not wish to be known or judged as a black General Secretary: as he said at the time of his election, “I am not the black candidate, rather the candidate who is black.

In 1995 he was re-elected to the post of General Secretary. a post he held untill 2003

Morris served on a wide range of national bodies including the Advisory Councils of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA), and was appointed to the Economic and Social Affairs Committee of the European Union. He has served as a member of the Labour Party’s Conference Arrangements Committee.

In addition he has also worked as a member of the Commission for Racial Equality.

1998 saw his appointment as a non-executive Director of the Bank of England. He is a Fellow of the RSA and the City and Guilds of London Institute and he holds honorary degrees from a number of British universities.

Morris was awarded the Order of Jamaica in 2002 and received a knighthood in the 2003 Queen’s birthday honours list.

Responding to the news of the award, Sir Bill said:

I hope that in this recognition, today’s young black Britons will find some inspiration. <em>”I have always held the view that race can be an inspiration, not a barrier

On 11 April 2006, it was announced that Morris would take a seat in the House of Lords as a working life peer, and he was gazetted as Baron Morris of Handsworth, of Handsworth in the County of West Midlands in June 2006. He serves on the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights.

Related Links

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Calling All Artists, Poets, Writers and bloggers – Help Haiti and get published

Help Haiti

Help Haiti

Call for submission open to poets, writers, journalists, bloggers and graphic artists from all backgrounds and origins. We invite you to write in solidarity for Haiti. You can send us poems, song lyrics, short stories, opinion pieces, drawings, paintings or photographs. The work must be about or inspired by Haiti, its people and its culture.

The entries shortlisted will be made into a book. Proceeds of the book sales will be donated to Lambi Haiti Fund. A book launch will take place in London, with writers & poets invited to read excerpts of the book.

Submission deadline: Thursday 18 March


Please send poems of 1000 words max. Short pieces of prose should be 2500 words max. Include a short bio about yourself and or a link to your blog. Documents must be sent as an attachment in .doc format. You can submit up to 3 different pieces

Drawings / paintings / photographs: send a high resolution picture in a jpeg or gif format. They can be in colour or in Black and White. B&W will be used in the internal pages of the book, colour will be used for the cover.

Upon agreeing to publication, and Black Londoners acquires first rights and retains the right to archive the work for an indefinite period. The author retains all the rights upon publication.

We accept only original, non published work, no reprints.

All submissions and info requests must be sent to:

There is no fee involved as this is a charity project.

Submission deadline: Thursday 18 March.

The collection will be edited by and published by Black Londoners, as part of year-long programme of charity events organised under the umbrella

Black Londoners Appeal for Haiti.

More info on:

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John La Rose – Poet and Activist

John La Rose

John La Rose

John La Rose is a political and Cultural activist. He came to Britain from Trinidad where he had been working as General Secretary to the West Indian Independence Party.

John La Rose is a political and Cultural activist. He came to Britain from Trinidad where he had been working as General Secretary to the West Indian Independence Party. From his base in North London he founded several community groups such as the ‘Caribbean Artists movement’ (1967) ‘Caribbean Education and Community Workers Association’ (1969) and ‘The Black Parents movement’ (1975).

La Rose is also one of Britains Laeding black Publishers. Pionneer of ‘New Beacon Books’ since 1966 he is also the founder of the ‘International Book Fair of Radical Black and Third World books’. The Publication and dissemination of books by writers such as C.L.R.James and Derek Walcott has allowed a multicultural approach to education possible.

John La Rose also wrote poems and essays some of which can be found here.

Related Links

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African American-Swing Dancing from the Movie Hellzapoppin' (1941)



Found this excellent video on Youtube today, some footage of African American Jazz music in the 40’s.

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