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Books about Black British History

Black History BooksA reading list of books related to the ongoing Black presence in Britain, Slavery, colonialism and black Settlement in the U.K
The list is by no means exhaustive!

Books about Black British History

  • Staying Power-The History of Black people in Britain by Peter Fryer
    (Pluto Press 1984)
  • Black England-Life before Emancipation by Gretchen Gerzina
    (John Murray,1995)
  • Black Settlers in Britain 1555-1958 by Nigel File and chris Power
    (Heinemann,1981; reprinted 1995)
  • Black Edwardians-Black people in Britain 1901-1914 by Jeffrey Green
    (Frank Cass 1998)
  • Wonderful adventures of Mary Seacole in Many Lands by Mary seacole
    (1857; reprinted by Falling Wall Press,edited by Ziggy Alexander and Audrey Dewjee,1984).
  • Black Londoners 1880-1990by susan Okokon
    (Sutton Publishing Limited, 1998)
  • The History of Mary Prince, a West Indian Slave
    (1831; reprinted by the University of Michigan Press, edited by Moira Ferguson,1993).
  • The first Black footballer-Arthur Wharton 1865-1930 An Absence of Memory by Phil Vasili
    (frank Cass,1998, reprinted 1999)
  • Colouring over the white Line- The History of Black footballers in Britain by Phil Vasili
    (Mainstream Publishing,2000)
  • Breaking Stereotypes-Perspectives of Selected Black and Asian Leaders Edited by Clinton A.Valley,EdD.
    (Minerva Press, 2000)
  • West Indian Women at War-British Racism in World War II by Ben Bousquet and Colin Douglas
    (Lawrence and Wishhart, 1991)
  • Roots of the Future-Ethnic Diversity in the making of Britain
    By Commission for Racial Equality, 1997
  • England Affric-An Ethnological Survey by Ahmed ali and Abrahim Ali
    (Punite Books, 1995) ISBN 0 9518924 4 4
  • A History of the Black Presence in London (Greater London Council, 1986)
    ISBN 0 7168 1679 2
  • Black and white- the Negro and English Society 1555-1945 By James Walvin
    (Allen Lane, 1973)

For a more exhaustive list of useful Books on Black History, you can download a copy of the the Black & Asian Resources available at the British Library.

Posted in African History, Black Britain, Black History, Black History Month UK, Black People in Europe, Caribbean History, SlaveryComments (3)

Black British History Must Feature throughout the School Curriculum

Black British History Began before the Empire Windrush

When the Government of the day start to role out their ministers, in defence of a topic that they have already managed to largely keep out of the mainstream agenda, you know something’s afoot.  Perhaps they sense that restless educators and equality campaigners see right through their piecemeal offerings on black British history.

In recent weeks much has been made of the forthcoming changes to the National Curriculum, particularly regarding history.  There was a small but significant outcry from organisations such as Operation Black Vote who organised a petition against the changes.

What were these changes to the curriculum and why were some people to opposed to them?  Simon Wooley  of Operation Black Vote and other Interested parties such as Labour councillor, Patrick Vernon,  such as this website, B.A.S.A and many other groups and individuals beleived that the proposed changes amounted to a whitewashing of History.  The changes amount to what is described as the systematic removal of positive reference to the contributions of Black and Asian people to British history. Not only that, but that the proposed history also belittled the revolutionary movements of the working classes as well as denigrating the achievements of women in history.

In the past fortnight, the whole saga played out under the radar of most Britons. The Government managed to keep a pretty tight lid on the whole affair.  I don’t remember once seeing an article about the opposition to the changes on the television news.  Some newspapers picked up on the affair, with articles appearing in the Guardian, Independent, Telegraph, Mirror  and Daily Mail.

I believe some national and regional Radio stations also carried the story or ran features about it.  By and large though, the nation slept on the whole affair.  Believing as I do that Black British history must Feature throughout the School Curriculum, I wrote a brief call to arms on the matter (Hey, Gove, leave Seacole Alone), but wasn’t hopeful that anything could be done.  After living under Eighteen years of Conservative rule,  I was sceptical about the possibility of a Conservative Minister responding to the will of the people.

Yet, on the 7th of February, I was surprised to receive a newsletter email proclaiming Victory.  The headline read:

Seacole and Equiano to Feature in Curriculum

Whilst being naturally pleased at the news, I doubted that the Government would have climbed down completely and felt that the inclusion of Black history in the British Schools curriculum would doubtless have come at a heavy price.  London Teacher Dan Lydon summed it up best when he wrote in response to the article:

Screen Shot 2013-02-17 at 21.42.00

A Pyrrhic victory

Although the inclusion of Seacole and Equiano is welcomed, the new NC proposals are a disgrace. They represent the complete reversal of all the progress that has been made over the last decade in ensuring Britain’s diverse history is recognised and taught in schools. The tokenistic reference to Seacole and Equiano ignores the significant contributions that have been made to this country by people of Black and Asian heritage and wipes out a presence that has been recorded since Roman times. The first time any student will even know of this presence, under the new proposals, will be after studying history for 7 years! and the first thing they will be taught is that Black people were slaves. Gone is the awareness of African civilizations, the Blackmoors in Tudor Britain, radicals such as Cuffay, Davidson and Wedderburn. Where will students learn of the writings of Ignatius Sancho, the performances of Ira Aldridge or Samuel Coleridge Taylor? How can they be inspired by the pioneering efforts of Walter Tull or Claudia Jones? This misguided, amateurish attempt to impose a narrow, Little Englander interpretation of history must be challenged with the same vigour and passion as the campaign to support Seacole.

Since then, more and more people have spoken out against this “pyrrhic victory”.  Pointing to the facts that British history has always been more complex than portrayed by the Schools curriculum, and emphasising that steps should be taken to ensure that the teaching of history becomes more culturally inclusive, from primary school to University. Rather than the current government policy of  narrowing what is already an homogenous soup of vague omissions.

Author, Broadcaster and journalist; Yasmin Alibhai Brown highlighted the very nature of Britain’s longstanding interwoven Black Presence in her article in the Independent on February 10th 2013.  Whilst her article Pay attention Michael Gove, this is the British history we really need to learn about doesn’t reveal any Earth shattering contributions by Black or Asian people, it does highlight the normality of everyday interactions between people of different ethnic backgrounds. Interactions that have been going on for centuries, unnoticed and obscured by indifference.

Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Education and Childcare, Liz Truss hit back this week stating that the Gove led revolution of the curriculum:

Screen Shot 2013-02-17 at 21.42.00
captures British history in all its multi-layered, omni-racial glory

The thrust of Truss’s argument is that the new curriculum should be interesting and relevant. I have to ask, To whom is it relevant and interesting? Britain’s Schools, have in their populations today, the sons and daughters of migrants both recent and from the more distant past.  The future population of Britain needs to understand a history that is relevant to them, not a history that is more relevant to their grandparents of just some of the class.

Truss and Gove et al, say that to teach such history is pandering to the left or special interest groups and playing the P.C game. I disagree.

Michael Gove is out of Touch

History can be painful when you tell the truth.  It isn’t enough to say that Britain ended the Slave trade, without admitting that Britain was a major slaving power who grew fabulously wealthy from the profits of trading in human lives.  It isn’t enough to say that Britain brought medicine and technology and granted independence to commonwealth countries, without highlighting the brutal subjugation techniques deployed in acquiring those territories in the first place.

The Government should build an inclusive Curriculum

The government of today, or indeed any government would do far better by seeking to build a curriculum that portrays  a rich and detailed, chronological history of the world, that brings into focus, the ongoing interactivity of peoples who contributed to the country we live in today.  The days when Black and Asian kids are made to feel like immigrants in Britain should be in the past.  We are British through valour and trial, and that has to be recognised. Yet before we became British, we were Africans and Asians, and we had our own vibrant histories and traditions and cultures, that deserves much more than denigration and belittlement and relegation to the footnotes.

What do you think about the changes to the curriculum?  Is Michael Gove correct?  Or, should the history curriculum be far more inclusive?  I’m keen to read your thoughts. Please Leave a comment in the box below.

Related Links

Posted in Black Britain, Black History, Editors BlogComments (4)

Black Loyalists in 18th Century London


Image: Courtesy of Kurt Miller – KMI Studio Website:

It was during the War of Independence in the colony of America that Britain gained herself these unlikely allies. Black loyalists fought for Britain against the American colonists. Free blacks were joined by thousands of slaves who had been promised freedom and land by Britain if they joined in this battle. The idea of British freedom, i.e. complete freedom in the shortest possible time, was appealing to the escaped Africans who in the 1770s made their way to the British army position to fight for Britain and for freedom.

In September 1783, the independence of the United States and the formation of its boundaries were formally recognised. The new country was founded by an egalitarian movement and based on the philosophy of ‘equal rights’ for all.  After this treaty had been signed, the whole British faction had to leave the United States. In the eight months between April and November 1783, over 3,000 black people leaving the country on British ships for destinations as varied as Nova Scotia, the West Indies, England, Germany, Quebec or Belgium, were recorded in the Book of Negroes .

Black Loyalists in 18th Century London

London had a severe poverty problem in the 18th century. This became more pronounced as growing numbers of African-American loyalists arriving from America ended up living on the streets. The black and white loyalists had all been promised compensation for their losses in the War of Independence, however, the majority of claims from the black loyalists were denied or they were given derisory amounts condemning them to lives of destitution. The Parliamentary Commission Compensation Board reviewing the claims stated, on several occasions, that they believed the black claimants were being deceptive in claiming they were free men with property and should adopt a state of gratitude that they were now at liberty rather than pursue applications for financial assistance. In 1786 there were over 1,000 black loyalists living in London. As the negative sentiment regarding the presence of Africans in England increased there were suggestions of where to relocate these black people; the main areas proposed where the Bahamas, where other loyalists had moved to or Sierra Leone, on the West African coast.

The following year around 200 of this impoverished group migrated to Sierra Leone with government assistance; the government wanted to remove the problem of black poverty and the presence of large groups of free black people from the streets of England. There were 344 poor black people on the ship Myro that sailed from London in 1787.  The plan was to move the burden of the ‘troublesome’ black person from the attention of the public, forever . This was an indication of the racially nationalist philosophy that was to perpetuate the abolitionist movement.


Further reading and research

The Book of Negroes – that listed all the Black Loyalists evacuated from America – can be found in the archives at Kew (Public Records Office).

There is also a copy available online here

The National Archives contain records, that can only be viewed in the reading room, about the Committee for the Relief of Poor Blacks and their emigration to Sierra Leone; this covers the details of events between May 1786 to April 1787.

This article was contributed by Marjorie Morgan.Writer, Researcher. © 2013 | Blackpresence has special permission to publish this article.

Related Link: Black Loyalists

Posted in African American History, African History, Black Britain, Black History Month UK, Black People in Europe, Black Soldiers, Guest Blog Posts, SlaveryComments (5)

Ending The Confusion About Peoples War Carnival Band & Peoples World In London

It is fitting that on Carnival Tuesday we should be writing to set the record straight and put down an accurate historical record.

Ever since the end of Peoples War Carnival Band in 1998 there has been continuing confusion about our involvement with Peoples World. This situation continues until today . We have told the people who approach us that Peoples War Carnival Band and Peoples World are NOT the same band but completely different bands. The confusion occurs, people say, because the names are similar and sound the same.

So there is People WAR Carnival Band and Peoples WORLD . Different spelling. Different mas bands.

1. Michael and Keith La Rose formed Peoples War Carnival Band in 1982. We chose the name Peoples War from a poster supporting the fighters in the war against the Portugese colonialists in Angola, Mozambique and Gunea Buissau

2. Michael La Rose was the designer and bandleader and Keith La Rose designed the Tshirts and publicity. People War Sound System provided the music on the road.

3. Like all bands we had experience in another mas band before we formed Peoples War Carnival Band. We were the music section for Lion Youth Band as Peoples War Sound Syrstem one of the first sound systems on the road at Notting Hill Carnival. We were also involved with playing music for other bands like Mangrove, Race Today Renegades, Starlite and Genesis. We also provided music at the Carnival Devreloment Committee’s (CDC) Sunday sessions at the Tabernacle, Powis Square in the late 1970s.

4. Peoples War Carnival Band produced the body of our masquerade work between 1983 and 1998. 15 years.

5. Peoples War Carnival Band designed simple mas that had to say something. It had to comment about our history and condition in the J’ouvert mas tradition. We callled it “Radical Mas”. The theme of Peoples War Carnival Band’s fisrt mas band in 1983 was “Come What May We are Here To Stay” and ended in 1998 with”After the Windrush”..

6. Michael la Rose’s individual masquerade design “End of Empire” from the 1994 Peoples War Carnival Band theme “Back to Basics Britain”was used in the Victoria and Albert Museum display “40 years of the Notting Hill Carnival” in October 2004.

7. In 1989 Peoples War Carnival Band founded The Asssociation for a Peoples Carnival (APC) with Dexter Khan of Cocoyea, Pepe Francis of Ebony, Clive “Mashup” Phillip of Mangrove and other concerned Carnival individuals in response to the vicious policing of carnival that year. Michael La Rose was elected chair of the organisation

8. In 1996 we decided to wind down and end Peoples War Carnival Band in 2 years time. After Notting Hill Carnival 1998 Peoples War Carnival band was officially wound up and ended.

9. Some people in the old band wanted to form a new band. Michael agreed to assist the new band with help with mas making and music on the road, so that the new band could be established.He was never a part of the new band or their decision making. Michael never designed mas themes for the new band. Michael’s son Renaldo ,DJ Redz provides the music section for the new band to this day.In 1999 Peoples World brought out their first mas band. .

10. The name selected by the people in the new band was Peoples World. This was very similar to the name of the other band. The name “Peoples World ” was the invention of Keith La Rose for a sound system. He was never consulted or asked his permission for use of the name by anyone. They also selected the “dancing man” image choosen by Keith La Rose, from his contacts in the music industry, to be the branding of Peoples War Carnival Band on our first Tshirts, hats and all our publicity.

We hope you now know who Peoples War Carnival Band were and what we did between 1982 and 1998.

For a couple of years now Michael has been writing the story of our band making much more information available as a historical record . It will be called “Radical Mas ; 15 years of Peoples War at Notting Hill Carnival 1983 -1998″ . It will include the people and masqueraders involved with the band , the mas and themes , music, other band leaders, mas pioneers, the APC and the struggle for carnival with Notting Hill Carnival organisers, the police, the local council and Arts Council . .

The culture of Carnival means new bands are formed from peoples apprenticeships and experience of working in other bands. There are many new bands formed in London out of Cocoyea, Ebony, Nostalgia, Pantonic etc . It is how new bands are formed.

We hope everything is clear and you now know the difference between Peoples War Carnival Band and Peoples World.

Please tell the people you know.

Keith and Michael La Rose

Posted in Black Britain, Guest Blog PostsComments (0)

Jeff Green Seeks info on African American Fugitive 1850s

Contributed Email from Historian Jeffrey Green

African American Fugitive

My latest entry on my website (put  Jeffrey Green Historian  into your search engine) is page 107 and concerns fugitive slave John Anderson who killed a man in Missouri in 1853 en route to freedom in Canada. In 1860-1861 the legal arguments over extradition attracted a lot of attention and in mid-1861 Anderson came to England. He stayed until late 1862, moving on to Liberia. A small biography was published in London in 1863.

He went to the nonconformist village school in the then-village of Corby, Northamptonshire (it has under 200 houses in the 1860s) for a year, taught by John Pool and his wife Ann or Anna. John Pool accompanied Anderson on the train from London to catch his steamship in Liverpool in late 1862.

Does anyone know anything about the Hampshire-born Pools? The census of 1861 shows they had an 8 year old daughter (Alice Olivia) and a 7 year old son (William Henry). These two teachers, their children, the village children, or local adults may have commented years later that a 30 year old black American, accused of murder, studied in Corby in 1861-1862.

Assistance would be appreciated as I am contacted to wrote Anderson’s entry for the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.

Jeff Green

Posted in African American History, Black BritainComments (3)

American Soliders Assault West Indian

The excerpt below is taken from a London diary. It outlines the treatment of African American soldiers in England during WW2.

American Soliders Assault West Indian

The village hall is large and pleasant, and the Clerk of the Council, who sat at the receipt of custom and kept a fatherly eye on everything, is an efficient and experienced person who knows how to let things get jolly without getting out of hand.The village hall is large and pleasant, and the Clerk of the Council, who sat at the receipt of custom and kept a fatherly eye on everything, is an efficient and experienced person who knows how to let things get jolly without getting out of hand.

We had heard talk of a lot of jitterbug thrills, with the girls flying hilariously over the shoulders of their American partners. Nothing of the sort. It was a really good dance. A couple of hundred couples I suppose.

A few of the girls were in uniform; most of them came from the district, one had seen them in shops or working on the farms. One was conspicuous in a frock that swept the floor; most of them just had on their prettiest light dresses.

At ten o’clock, when the pubs closed, the numbers rapidly increased and the dancing became hotter and more expert. There seemed to me little changing of partners; mostly the boy and the girl, or at least the boys and girls of a single group of friends, stuck together. No one was drunk; everyone seemed to be enjoying it.

There had been, I was told, an unpleasing incident not long ago. The band that night contained a West Indian; the Americans, including these Southerners with the usual phobia, were, of course, contented enough to have the coloured soldier as an entertainer. They are used to that in the United States.

But when the West Indian [sic] took the floor with the wife of one of his colleagues in the band, one of the southern American boys promptly went across the room and struck him.

The band stopped; the players went to the rescue of their colleague, who was conducted out of the ball by a back way, and the show went on as if nothing had happened. But something had happened.

An English soldier, who told me of this incident, was restrained but angry and puzzled. What made these Southern boys behave in this incredibly uncivilised fashion? I told him the story of slavery and liberation, the Ku Klux Klan and about present relations of white and black in the South.

He listened gravely. But obviously nothing could or should change his view of the conduct of these Southern boys, which is a real barrier to the friendship which I could see happily developing between British and Americans.

New Statesman and Nation 19 September 1942;

Posted in Black Britain, Black HistoryComments (0)

No Justice No Peace – Racial Justice in Britain

No Justice – No Peace: By Lee Pinkerton.  Original article published on The Blak Watch
Looking at the Stephen Lawrence verdict and racial justice in Britain.

“There’s no such thing as freedom in this country for a Black man. There’s no such thing as justice in this country for a Black man.”

Malcolm X

“I had to go to court the other day. You go there looking for justice and that’s what you find – just us!”

Richard Pryor.

The guilty verdicts obtained in the Stephen Lawrence murder trial came as a surprise to many Black commentators, myself included. And why would it come as a surprise? The verdicts came as a surprise because even a cursory glance through the history of Black people in Britain uncovers a litany of racial violence and an absence of justice. Sometimes the perpetrators are racist thugs and the events take place on the street. Quite often the perpetrators are the police themselves and the events happen in police custody, but the outcome is the same – the perpetrators go free.

Doreen and Neville Lawrence

Doreen and Neville Lawrence

The tireless Neville & Doreen Lawrence

Let me take you on a quick tour of Britains racial injustice of the last 50 years.

As soon as Caribbean immigrants arrived in Britain en-mass in the 1950’s we were met with intolerance, racism and violence. The first high profile murder came in 1959.

On 17 May 1959 young Antiguan Kelso Cochrane was knifed to death in west London in a racist attack. The police tried to dampen down the issue, claiming that it was a robbery and not a racist attack. Local black people knew different, fascist inspired gangs had operated in the area for some time. There was a conspiracy of silence which meant that his killers, to this day, have not been brought to justice. It was in response to this racial tension and climate of fear inspired a show of strength, solidarity and cultural pride that led to the birth of the Notting Hill Carnival.

Ten years later a young Nigerian student became a fatal victim of racist violence and this time the Police themselves were the suspects.

David Oluwale came to England from Nigeria in 1949 with dreams of studying to be an engineer in Leeds. In 1953 Oluwale was charged with disorderly conduct and assault following a police raid on a nightclub.

He subsequently served a 28-day sentence. In prison it was reported he suffered from hallucinations, possibly because of damage sustained from a truncheon blow during the arrest. He was transferred to Menston Asylum in Leeds (now called High Royds Hospital) where he spent the next eight years.

Upon release Oluwale was unable to hold down a job and a permanent residence, and quickly became homeless. He found himself in trouble with the Leeds police again several times and accused the police of harassing him.

In April 1969 his dead body was found in the River Aire. A year later an enquiry was launched, carried out by Scotland Yard, and sufficient evidence was gathered to prompt manslaughter, perjury and grievous bodily harm (GBH) charges being brought against two police officers (Ellerker and Kitching) in 1971. Ellerker was found guilty of three assaults against Oluwale and Kitching of two assaults. They were both found not guilty of causing GBH. Ellerker was sentenced to three years in prison, and Kitching received 27 months.

The 1970’s saw a rise in the prominence of the far right, National Front Party. The start of the 80’s saw one of the most tragic events and criminal scandals in Black British History.

The New Cross Fire 1981


The New Cross Fire

The New Cross Fire



The New Cross Fire was a devastating house fire which killed 13 young black people during a birthday party in New Cross, South East London on Sunday 18 January 1981. There had been early complaints about noise from the party and the initial police suspicion was that the party had been bombed either as a revenge attack or to stop the noise.

The inquest into the deaths saw criticism of the police. The coroner’s summary for the jury was heavily directed towards suggesting the fire was accidental, and the jury returned an open verdict which implied agreement. The victims’ families challenged the procedure and while the High Court agreed that the summing-up was inaccurate, it refused to overturn the verdict. Nobody has ever been charged in relation to the fire.

British Police and the Black Community

1985 was a particularly bad year for relations between the British Police and the Black community.
In September of that year the police conducted an armed search of the home of Cherry Groce seeking her son Michael Groce in relation to a suspected firearms offence – they believed Michael was hiding in his mother’s home. Mrs. Groce was in bed when the police began their search and Michael was not there at the time, but Mrs. Groce was hit by a police bullet – an injury which left her paralysed from the waist down. This event was the spark for the Brixton Riots of 1985. The police officer who shot Mrs. Groce, Inspector Douglas Lovelock, was prosecuted but eventually acquitted of malicious wounding. Mrs. Groce received compensation from the Metropolitan Police.

Brixton Riots 1981

Brixton Riots 1981

Brixton Riots 1985

The very next month a young black man, Floyd Jarrett, was arrested by police, having been stopped in a vehicle with an allegedly suspicious tax disc. Four police officers searched his home. In a disturbance between police and family members, his 49-year-old mother, Cynthia Jarrett, fell over and died of a stroke. Cynthia Jarrett’s death sparked outrage from members of the black community against the Metropolitan Police, and was the spark for the Broadwater Farm Riot. More commonly known as the Brixton riots of 1985

Rolan Adams

In February 1991 Black teenager Rolan Adams was fatally stabbed by a gang of more than a dozen white youths, in Thamesmead, south London.
 Many of the attackers were already known to the police as they regularly terrorised the local black community, so it was easy for the police to identify who they were and they were quickly arrested. One youth was tried and convicted for murder. Of the other 14 perpetrators: four eventually faced trial, but for the lesser offence of violent disorder. After much plea bargaining by their defence team they were convicted of the offence and sentenced to 120 hours community service.

Joy Gardner

Joy Gardner was a 40-year-old Black woman from Jamaica who was killed during a struggle with the police at her home in Crouch End, London. Joy had come to visit her mother, Myrna Simpson, in 1987, but had overstayed her 6 month visa.

In 1993 an immigration officer and police officers arrived at her home to serve a deportation notice. When Gardner refused, the police entered her home and struggled and fought with her. Police gagged and restrained Gardner using a body belt and wrapped 13 ft of tape around her head which they later claimed was to prevent her biting them. Gardner suffocated and subsequently fell into a coma. She later died in hospital. These events were witnessed by Gardner’s five year old son. The three police officers involved were found not guilty of manslaughter in 1995.

Joy Gardner

Joy Gardner

Roger Sylvester

On January 11, 1999, police arrived outside Roger Sylvester’s house as a result of a 999 emergency call. Two officers came to the house initially and found him naked in his front garden. Within minutes another six officers had arrived. The eight officers put Sylvester to the ground where he was handcuffed. Sylvester was detained under Section 136 of the Mental Health Act. Police officers told his family that he was restrained “for his own safety.”

According to one witness, Sylvester’s body was already limp when it was placed in the police van. He was taken to St Ann’s hospital and carried from the van to a private room where, still restrained, he was put on the floor by upwards of six police officers for nearly 20 minutes before being seen by a doctor. The officers, with the assistance of medical staff, tried to resuscitate him but he had sustained numerous injuries and remained in a coma at the Whittington hospital until his life support machine was switched off seven days later.

Azelle Rodney – shot six times in less than a second

Azelle Rodney

Azelle Rodney

24 year old Azelle Rodney was a back seat pasenger of a Volkswagon Golf travelling the streets of North London in April 2005, when the police performed what they call ‘a hard stop’. The car had been under surveillance for several hours before officers stopped it in Edgware. Police believed he was part of an armed gang who were on their way to rob a Columbian drugs gang. With this suspicion the Police could have arrested Rodney and the other occupants of the car before they even started their journey, but instead chose to allow them to start their drive across London.

Alternatively, the officers who had been following Rodney’s car covertly, could have switched on their lights and siren when making the stop so that they could clearly have been indentified as officers. Instead, within seconds of the Police surrounding the car, Rodney was shot six times by an armed officer who offered no verbal warning. Two other occupants of the car were later convicted for firearms offences, but there was no evidence that Mr Rodney was holding a weapon at the time of the shooting. True to form an investigation by the IPCC exonerated the Police, and the Crown Prosecution Service decided there was no criminal case for the police to answer. Seven years later in 2012 a public inquiry was opened instead of an inquest because a coroner would not have been able to see some of the evidence that Police say was behind their actions.

Frank Ogburo

Frank Ogburo was 43 and was on a brief tourist visit to London to see friends in September 2006. The police were called by a neighbour when he was involved in a domestic altercation in the friend’s flat where he’d been staying in Woolwich. Eye-witnesses saw a struggle between the officers and Frank which resulted in him being sprayed with CS Gas, being handcuffed and brought to the floor. As the struggle on the floor continued more people gathered. Frank Ogburo was heard to shout “you’re killing me, I can’t breathe”. CCTV footage captured several more officers joining in the restraint and striking Frank to subdue him. By this point Frank’s wrists were in handcuffs behind his back. His death according to the jury at the inquest was as a “consequence of restraint”.

Bringing us up to date events of last year illustrate that little has changed.

The Death of Smiley Culture

On March 15th 2011 Police conducted a search at the home of David Emmanuel aka reggae artist Smiley Culture. Whilst Police were at the property Smiley Culture sustained a single stab wound to the chest, from which he later died. An investigation into the Police operation was conducted by the IPCC and found no evidence that a crime had been committed, and no misconduct by Police officers. An inquest into Smiley’s death will be held infront of a jury and will not take place before the conclusion of the trials to which Smiley was allegedly linked.

Smiley Culture

Smiley Culture

Mark Duggan Shot by Police

Mark Duggan

Mark Duggan


29, was a passenger in a minicab when on Thursday August 4th 2011 he was shot dead in the street by police. The death occurred during an operation where specialist firearm officers and officers from Operation Trident, were attempting to carry out an arrest. It was at first announced that Mr Duggan had been shot after an apparent exchange of fire. Later the IPCC admitted it may have misled journalists into believing Mr Duggan fired at officers before he was killed.

In November 2012, 2 members of the community group set up by the IPCC to oversee the enquiry of Mark Dugan‘s death stepped down alleging a cover up and whitewash.

What’s changed for Black Britons?

So does the Lawrence verdict represent the turning of a new page in British justice, and a new chapter in the Black British experience, or is it just a blip achieved only through the tirelessness and tenacity of Neville and Doreen Lawrence? After this anomaly will it be back to (racist) business as usual?

Though the apologists say that relations between the Police and Black people are much better than they were back in the day, the truth is that little has changed. In the 1980’s it was the hated ‘Sus’ law that caused tension between the Police and young Black men – now its Section 60 powers. Introduced in the 90’s to deal with football hooliganism, now its used to harass those who’ve never been to a football match. In 2010 there were 70,000 stops and searches in London alone. Analysis by the London School of Economics and the Open Society Justice Initiative shows that during the last 12 months a Black person was nearly 30 times more likely to be stopped and searched that a white person. And a separate analysis, based on Home Office data reveals that less that 0.5% of section 60 searches led to an arrest for possession of a dangerous weapon, five times fewer than a year ago. And then they wonder why so many young Black men hate the Police?

The death of Cynthia Jarret at the hands of the police led to the Tottenham Riots in 1985. The shooting of Cherry Groce by Police the same year led to the Brixton Riots. The shooting of Mark Duggan by the Police in 2011 led to the Tottenham Riots of the same year, and the general hostility towards the police by Black people, and feelings of alienation and hopelessness from the underclass took those riots nationwide. Watch carefully the outcome of the Azelle Rodney, Mark Duggan and Smiley Culture cases to see which way things are really going.


Further Reading:

The Stephen Lawrence Inquiry: Official documents

The Death Of Kelso Cochrane:  Operation Black Vote:

The New Cross Fire: BBC News

Stop and Search Experiences: Facebook

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Lee Jasper

Lee Jasper

Lee Jasper

Lee Jasper was responsible for the development, enactment and promotion of equalities policies for the GLA and its functional bodies. He has corporate responsibility for the development and delivery of anti discriminatory policies aimed at ensuring equality in employment practices and service delivery.

Jasper was also responsible for advising the Mayor on policing issues and at the time was considered the foremost black expert on police and black community relationships. As a member of the Mayor’s Advisory Cabinet, he was responsible for political advice regarding race relations in London.

Mr Jasper was formally the Director of the 1990 Trust, a post that he held between 1995 and the year 2000.  The 1990 trust is a leading policy organisation on issues affecting African, Asian, and Caribbean communities in the UK and Europe. During the 90’s The 1990 Trust was at the forefront of Information Technology development within Black communities and runs a well established programme which included the Black Information Network website, BLINK ( which, at its height attracts over 1.5 million hits a month.

Lee Jasper has held an impressive and wide range of positions working for the betterment of black people in the uk. His C.V includes:

Who is Lee Jasper

  • Senior Policy Advisor to the Inner London Education Authority (ILEA)
  • Director of Development, the Mangrove Trust
  • Chair of Mangrove Community Association, Notting Hill
  • Secretary, Notting Hill Carnival
  • Press and Publicity Officer, Interval Housing Project, Rainer Foundation
  • Chair of National Black Alliance
  • National Black Caucus
  • Operation Black Vote
  • Lambeth Police Consultative Group
  • National Secretary of the National Assembly against Racism
  • Founder board member of the Jubilee 2000 Campaign
  • Black Jewish Forum
  • Lambeth Police Consultative Group
  • Criminal Justice Consultative Race Sub Group
  • Chair of Scotland Yard Operation Trident Lay Advisory Group, which combats the distribution of hard drugs in black communities.
  • Trident Lambeth Independent Advisory Group
  • Royal Commonwealth Society (1997-1999)
  • President of the National Black Students Alliance, as well as the Deputy Representative of the UK on the European Council’s European National Anti Racist Network
  • Chief Political Commentator for The Voice newspaper during the 2010 election
  • Coalition of Resistance (COR) anti-cuts campaign
  • Black Activists Rising Against the Cuts (BARAC)
  • London Race & Criminal Justice Consortium


Allegations of Wrongdoing Unfounded

During his time working for the GLA Jasper came under investigation with accusations of Fraud and corruption levelled against him in a series of articles by the ‘Evening Standard’ Journalist Andrew Gilligan. After extensive investigations the allegations were proven false.

Jasper Resigns

Despite being exonerated on one set of allegations, Jasper decided to step down after yet more allegations were levelled at him regarding his involvement with an organisation which was to receive funding. Despite these further allegations Scotland yard found that Mr Jasper had no criminal charges to answer.

The GLA spoke in glowing terms of Jaspers work, yet the incoming London Mayor, Borris Johnson held a thorough investigation into Jaspers activity. The investigation too 18 months and Law firm DLA Piper were brought in. The report published in June 2009 concluded that Jasper had not influenced the funding decisions of the LDA and that there was no evidence of fraud or corruption. However, it described Jasper’s involvement in one body to receive funding to be “entirely inappropriate”.

After leaving the GLA, Jasper continues to work in a number of community organisations and in November 2012 ran for Political Office in the Croydon North By Election. He Lost his deposit though, only attracting a small percentage of the vote.

Lee Jasper Related Links

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Funding Available in Wales


The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) wants to increase the number of enquiries applications from and award more grants to black, Asian and minority ethnic led organisations. As part of the work to achieve this, the HLF Wales team is holding workshops specifically aimed at BAME led groups. The workshops will be a great opportunity to find out about HLF, the type of heritage projects we can support and learn from a previously successful funded project. There will also be space for your group to put on a small display explaining what you do and network with other organisations over lunch.


Session 1

Date: Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Time: 10.30am – 1.00pm

Location: Clore Learning Space, National Museum Wales, Cardiff


Session 2

Date: Thursday, 15 November 2012

Time: 10.30am – 1.00pm

Location: Dockside Education Room, National Waterfront Museum, Swansea


If you’d like to book your place please email Sally Roberts stating which workshop you’d like to attend, whether you have any dietary and / or additional needs and if you would like space for a small display. 


Mae Cronfa Dreftadaeth y Loteri (CDL) yn sylwi yn awyddus i gynyddu nifer yr ymholiadau gan, gwella ansawdd y ceisiadau gan, ac yn y pen draw, dyfarnu mwy o grantiau i fudiadau a arweinir gan bobl croen du, Asiaidd a lleiafrifoedd ethnig (BAME) yn is na chyfartaledd y DU. Fel rhan o’r gwaith i gyflawni hyn, mae tîm Cymru CDL yn cynnal gweithdai a anelir yn benodol at grwpiau dan arweiniad BAME. Bydd y gweithdai yn gyfle gwych i gael gwybod am CDL, y math o brosiectau treftadaeth y gallwn eu cefnogi a dysgu oddi wrth brosiect llwyddiannus a ariannwyd o’r blaen. Bydd yna hefyd le ar gyfer eich grwp i wneud arddangosfa fechan sy’n esbonio yr hyn yr ydych yn ei wneud a chyfle rhwydweithio gyda sefydliadau eraill dros ginio.


Sesiwn 1

Dyddiad: Dydd Mercher, 14 Tachwedd 2012

Amser: 10.30am – 1.00pm

Lleoliad: Gofod Dysgu Clore, Amgueddfa Genedlaethol, Caerdydd






Dyddiad: Dydd Iau, 15 Tachwedd 2012

Amser: 10.30am – 1.00pm

Lleoliad: Ystafell Addysg y Glannau, Amgueddfa Genedlaethol y Glannau, Abertawe


Os hoffech chi fwcio eich lle anfonwch ebost at Sally Roberts yn nodi pa weithdy rydych eisiau mynychu, os oes gennych unrhyw anghenion dietegol a / neu ychwanegol ac os hoffech le ar gyfer arddangosfa fechan.

Posted in Black Britain, Black HistoryComments (2)

Six Towns One City Carnival

Six Towns One Carnival

Six Towns One Carnival

Six Towns One City Carnival Association Fundraising Event

Organisers of Stoke-on-Trent’s biggest free community event have launched a fundraising campaign to secure its future.

Six Towns One City Carnival Association Fundraising Event
Voluntary group Six Towns One City Carnival Association (STOCCA) will stage the first Carnival Jamdown, a night of Reggae, Soul, R & B, and Salsa on Friday 30 November at London Road Social Club, Stoke. The event will also feature live performances and food will be available.

Six Towns One City Carnival, aclaimed for fufilling an important role in promoting community cohesion, attracts thousands of people each year from all over the Midlands. The event is now under threat due to funding cuts. It costs £10,000 per year to stage.

Organiser Colley Sykes said “ Unfortunately the usual sources of funding are no longer available to us, we’ve had fantastic support from the public over the years and we hope people will support us in helping us to raise funds for next year’s event.”

Tickets for Jamdown are £3, available from Rubber Soul Records, Hide Street Stoke Tel. 07986729197, or North Staffordshire African Caribbean Assosciation (NORSACA).


Six Towns One City Carnival

Six Towns One City Carnival

Six Towns One City Carnival has taken place every August in Stoke-on-Trent since 1998.  The motto of the Carnival is ‘United Strength is Stronger’ as it brings communities together.  The event attended by thousands of people from North Staffordshire and the Midlands.

Previously run by NORSACA (North Staffordshire African Caribbean Association)  since 2012 the event has been organised by the Six Towns One City Carnival Association (STOCCA), a team of volunteers from all sections of the community.

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