When you work in an archive, especially one that contains records that stretch back over a thousand years, you rarely have the opportunity to actually meet the people you are researching. Vicky and I did get this opportunity.
On Monday 4Â July we hosted a very special visit from some of the key figures in the British Black Power movement during the 1970s: Althea Jones-Lecointe, the leader of the British Black Panther movement;Â Eddie Lecointe, a key campaigner in the movement; and Barbara Beese, one of the original Mangrove Nine. We also welcomed the family members of Frank Crichlow, the owner of the Mangrove restaurant.
This visit was a culmination of a year of research and events, in partnership with the Black Cultural Archives, which brought to light collections relating to one of the flash points of Black British History: The Mangrove Nine trials. These individuals were at the centre of the campaign against the police targeting of the black community in Notting Hill.
They built up a movement, took radical action to defend themselves in court, and formally exposed racism within the Metropolitan Police. The success of the trial led to the formation of the 1976 Race Relations Act; a step closer to racial equality.
Our controversial records on the Mangrove Nine consist of secret police and government reports; pamphlets and periodicals seized from houses of campaigners, and photographs purposefully taken to target key leaders of the Black Power movement. As we set out these documents for our guests there was a sense of nervous anticipation: How were they going to react? Continue reading »