It’s important to know and recognise some of the main movers and shakers in the Black British Civil Rights movement! So we’ve compiled some profiles of some of the most inspiring and influential men and women.
Olive Morris was born in Jamaica 1952 and moved to London at the age of 9 later going on to study at the London College of Printing.
An active member of the Youth Branch of the British Black Panther Movement Morris fought against racism and police brutality
As a feminist and black nationalist Morris established a number of groups to campaign for Black women’s rights and even founded the Brixton Black Women’s Centre in Stockwell Green.:
- The Brixton Black Women’s Group
- The Manchester Black Women’s Cooperative
- Manchester Black Women’s Mutual Aid group
Watch more about Olive Morris and her work here !
Crichlow moved from Trinidad – born in 1932- with the first wave of post-war immigrants from the Caribbean in 1953. Crichlow a community activist and civil rights campaigner was a key player in the Notting Hill Carnival when it was first established.
But it is Chinchow’s involvement was one of the “Mangrove Nine” that gave him is notoriety in the black British Civil rights scene.
After marching on a police station in 1970 to protest unfair police treatment and discrimination Crichlow and eight others including Darcus Howe were charged with incitement to riot in 1971. Their trial lasted 55 days and eventually the Mangrove Nine were acquitted bringing to light the unfair racial biases against black people that were rife in the London Metropolitan police.
Arguably one of the central founders of the Notting Hill Carnival, Claudia Jones was born in 1915 in Trinidad and migrated with her family to the United States.
Tee was an active black nationalist and Communist Jones was deported for her political activities and campaigns to the United Kingdom in 1955.
Here she founded Britain’s first major black newspaper The West Indian Gazette, in 1958.
Not only was her journalism pioneering she became a pioneer in black British culture by setting up a “Mardi-Gras” based carnival in 1959 following the Notting Hill Riots in 1958.
Originally from Trinidad, born in 1943, Howe was a Streatham based Broadcaster, Columnist and Activist who fought to put the unjust behaviour towards black Britons on the map in the 1970s.
He was not only part of one of the “Mangrove Nine” but helped in 1981 organise a “Black People’s Day of Action” to protest the handling of the investigation into the New Cross Fire where 13 black teenagers lost their lives.
Howe’s work for Black Civil Rights included:
- An editor of Race Today
- A chairman of the Notting Hill Carnival
- A television broadcaster for “Black on Black” on Channel 4
Paul Stephenson OBE was born in 1937 and is most remembered for his work as a community worker, activist and civil rights campaigner in Bristol.
Famously remembered for leading the Bristol Bus boycott in 1963 (his campaigns against colour bars in Britain was significant in the creation of the first Race Relations Act in 1965.
Stephenson also set up the West Indian Development Council in 1963 to fight against discrimination.
He was honoured for his “for his services to equal opportunities and to community relations in Bristol” in 2009 and received an OBE.
Read more about the Bus boycott here !
This is just a small look into the world of the Black Civil Rights movement of the 20th century, amongst many others these figures were fundamental to the rights Black people have in Britain today and deserve to be recognised.
Written by Jasmine Botchey