October sees us welcome British Black History Month. A month where we recognise the struggle for equality that many brave people have campaigned for through out the centuries and still continue to strive for today. Our knowledge is a little sketchy, so we thought we’d look at a few of the key moments!
1833 - Slavery Outlawed
Britain passed an act officially outlawing the institution of slavery. In the space of just 26 years, the British Government outlawed the slave trade that Britain had created and went soon to abolish the practice of slavery throughout the colonies.
1913 - First Black Mayor
John Archer became Britain’s first black mayor of Battersea. He was also the first black person to hold civic office in Britain as councillor, alderman and then mayor.
1958 - First Black Newspaper
Claudia Jones (born in Trinidad) founded the first major black post-war newspaper “The West Indian Gazette”. Claudia was also a political activist and community leader. The Gazette was crucial in her fight for equal opportunities.
1965 - Cy Grant Plays Othello
Cy Grant stars as Othello at Leicester’s Phoenix Theatre. He was one of the first black presenters on TV and in the late 50s he sang calypso versions of the news on BBC Tonight!
1968 - First Black Headteacher
Dr. Beryl Gilroy became London’s first black headmaster at Beckford Primary in West Hampstead. She later became a successful novelist, writing stories for and about her students, believing that literature could “heal”.
1968 - Clyde Best signs for West Ham United. The Bermudan plays 186 games and scores 47 goals in 7 seasons. He was a role model for many black youngsters during the 70s.
1973 - News Reporter
Trevor McDonald joins ITN as a reporter from the BBC World Service and becomes Britain’s first black TV news reporter. Trevor rose through the ranks and joined the News at Ten. He received an OBE in 1992 and a knighthood in 1999.
1987 - UK’s First Black MPs
Bernie Grant and Diane Abbott both won seats for Labour in the 1987 General Election. Grant made his mark by wearing a traditional Ghanaian robe. Diane Abbott was active in many political areas. She’s still MP for Hackney North & Stoke Newington.
1987 - Paul Gilroy released his book There Ain’t No Black in the Union Jack. The book looks at racial politics in England. Gilroy accuses British intellectuals and politicians on both sides of the political divide of refusing to take race seriously.
1993 - Stephen Lawrence
A-Level student Stephen Lawrence is murdered by a group of white men while waiting for a bus in Eltham, South-East London. Failure to capture his killers provoked his parents to begin a campaign to shame the authorities. No-one has been convicted.
1993 - England Captain
Paul Ince becomes the first black Captain of the England football team. He captained the squad for a total of seven games. Sol Campbell is the other black player who was captain in 1998.
1998 - Justin Fashanu Dies
Footballer Justin Fashanu dies. The elder brother of John, he was one of the first British sportsmen to be openly gay. In the 1080s he was the first black player transferred for £1million, yet after coming out his career fell apart.
2017 - Record Number
of Minority MP’s
The general election of 1987 saw the “Famous Four” of BAME MPs; Diane Abbott, Bernie Grant, Keith Vaz and Paul Boating elected into Parliament. 30 years later the 2017 General Election resulted in a new record of 52 BAME (Black, Asian & Minority Ethnic) MPs elected.