Black History Update 29 April

The amount of information that could be included in postings like this is becoming overloaded, which is why this posting does not include the latest news developments like the Commonwealth War Graves Commission scandal which has forced the Government to change its line on the Black and Asian contribution, or on last night’s TV programme on whether Universities are racist and today’s Guardian review of its superficiality. It is now too time consuming to keep up to date. Therefore it is important that there is improved sharing of information, with readers emailing me with details of their news and activities.

Thursday 29  April. Uprisings! 40 years On: Media, Terminology & Representation

Black Cultural Archives

Friday 30 April. 8pm. Black Lives in Wandsworth

My Zoom talk for Wandsworth Historical Society

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 871 0946 3017

Passcode: 525717

Friday 30 April. 6.30pm. New Beacon Books

Talk in Black Bookshops series – see below.

Wednesday 5 May. 6.30pm. Centerprise

Thusday 20 May. Planned Re-opening Of Black Cultural Archives

Saturday 29 May. 6.30pm. British Slave Owners, Tracking The Money And The Stories Of The Enslaved

Black History Walks event.

Some Other May Events

Remembering the ‘Southall Riots’ of 23 April 1979

The so-called “Southall Riots” were a multi-racial  protest against the National Front.  Black, Asian and White people tried to keep the National Front out of Southall and people of and all ages and sexes took part. 

Clarence Baker, a Rastafarian and manager of Misty in Roots, was in a coma for at least a week before he came round having been beaten by the police.

Prior to the police raid on the premises of People Unite/Misty in Roots, Clarence had been in the street with a loud hailer telling everyone to keep calm.

An eye-witness recalls: ‘The SPG [Special Patrol Group] used the same kind of tactics that they used on the miners.  They arrived in vans and were shouting profanities at the crowds and making V signs through the windows as they drove up through lines of peaceful demonstrators.  I think it is assumed that the White people who attended were all very left wing…. A White retired vicar was knocked over by the police and his glasses broken.’

The National Council for Civil Liberties asked witnesses to submit accounts of what happened and later produced an unofficial report.  In January 1980, Southall Rights published its account of the night’s events.

The event resulted in several groups being founded including Southall Black Sisters (women of Asian and African descent), which is still active today and still includes all women of colour.

In the 1970s Black and Asian people fought together for their rights and Asians were proud to be politically Black.

Clarence tells his own story of the events on that night:

See also:

Linton Kwesi Johnson performs “Reggae Fi Peach”  –  “The SPG them a murderer, murderer….” at

Other coverage can be seen at:

Paul Robeson

Tayo Aluko discusses Robeson at

The African-American actress Kathleen Warner starred with Robeson at least twice alongside the legendary baritone and actor Paul Robeson in London, including in C. L. R. James’s play about Toussaint L’Ouverture. She also appeared in several films, including the British drama Debt of Honor.

Jackie Robinson clashed with Robeson

There is growing recognition in the USA of the contribution of Robeson.

Robeson Added Lyrics To The House I Live In

Rock Against Racism

Two articles on the same theme: 

The above article ends with the following: 

‘We hear about how rock stars of the previous generation, mucked up on coke and money, began spouting reactionary drivel. “Bowie came up with a load of crap,” one RAR founder remembers. Eric Clapton’s still jaw-dropping speech supporting Enoch Powell (if you haven’t read the full text, you will almost certainly discover it’s worse than you thought) is, as rock ‘n’ roll lore has long suggested, confirmed as the founding myth of Rock against Racism.

We hear a bit of The Gang of Four. We hear a bit more of X-Ray Spex. Archival Janet Street Porter pops up to remind us that leaving the EEC was a key plank of National Front policy. The young Prof Stuart Hall notes the then-current problem with including right-wing extremists on broadcasts for “balance”. Is any of this sounding familiar?

There are more reminders of current discontents in a film [White Riot] that is as much about the power of solidarity as the dangers of intolerance. Leave the last words to Sham 69:  if the kids are united they will never be divided.’

The Eric Clapton interview can be seen at:

Black Service Personnel

Research by John Ellis has uncovered the story of Moore who fought in WW1 at Gallipoli and the Somme in the Royal Naval Division, and was later transferred to the British West Indies Regiment.  John Siblon has researched about men of colour in the Royal Artillery.

Details can be seen on:

RAF Recruit Gilbert Clarke

Like many others he was sent to RAF Hunmanby Moor, Filey, on their arrival in Britain.

“Longest serving female Royal Naval Reserve celebrates 40 years of service” 


Women At Sea: The Navy And Piracy

South African Library Destroyed by Fire

Claudia Jones And Other Radical Black Women In The USA

Book by Dr. Dayo Gore (Associate Professor, University of California), Radicalism at the Crossroads: African-American Women Activists in the Cold War.

Araf Chohan

Some family photos of the Chohan family were shown in the TV programme Saved and Remade, but not those going back to almost 1900.Although not on Black and Asian themes Araf Chohan collects old postcards and has used them to write several books.

Chinese Survivors Of The Titanic

History of British Black Bookshops

Black History Walks has been running a series online talks ‘Books, Violence and Resistance’. The first on 16 April was Eric Huntley of Bogle-L’Ouverture /Walter Rodney Bookshop) Friday 16 and 23 April. See above for the next two.

‘Those [bookshops] that did exist were subject to continued racist attacks including firebombing. Spaces where Black people could meet and learn were rare so bookshops were often packed out and people would travel long distances to attend. While in the bookshop, advice would be sought, information shared, change and campaigns started at a time when many people did not have their own phone far less a computer. This series of four lectures will interview several of these booksellers/activists. With personal testimony, photos and video clips we will tell this powerful story of resistance by reading and retail.’

Bookshops outside London:

Harriet Tubman Bookshop, Birmingham

Raddle Bookshop, Leicester

Harambee Association, Wolverhampton

Ujamaa Co-operative Development, Nottingham

Tree of Life Culture Shop, Birmingham

Source Books, Liverpool
Abasindi Co-operative, Manchester

The Ink Works, Bristol

I & I Bookshop Trust, Ujammaa and Unity Books, Sheffield

Bookshops in London:

Headstart, West Green Road, N15 (Black Liberation Front)

Grassroots, Golbourne Road, W9 (Ditto)
Sabarr Books, Brixton

Unity Books, Kennington (Black Power Movement)

Other booksellers who sold Black and Asian books:

Shakti Bookshouse, Southall

Soma Books, Kennington

Many left wing and community bookshops also had relevant stock, including:


Bookplace in Peckham

News from Nowhere in Liverpool

Frontline Books in Manchester

There were the Black and Radical Book Fairs in London and other parts of the country.

Those African Books Go And Read

Black British Music video by Music4Causes with support by Prof Paul Gilroy, Prof Lez Henry and Tony Warner Compiled & edited by Kwaku.

About seancreighton1947

Since moving to Norbury in July 2011 I have been active on local economy, housing and environment issues with Croydon TUC and Croydon Assembly. I am a member of the Love Norbury Residents Associations Planning & Transport Committees, and Chair of Nobury Community Land Trust. I write for Croydon Citizen at I co-ordinate the Samuel Coleridge-Taylor and Croydon Radical History Networks and edit the North East Popular Politics database. History Project.. I give history talks and lead history walks. I retired in 2012 having worked in the community/voluntary sector and on heritage projects. My history interests include labour movement, mutuality, Black British, slavery & abolition, Edwardian roller skating and the social and political use of music and song. I have a particular interest in the histories of Battersea and Wandsworth, Croydon and Lambeth. I have a publishing imprint History & Social Action Publications.
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