Next month The National Archives and the Black Cultural Archives will hold two workshops for 18-25 years olds using spoken word to bring black British history to life. These events will follow the story of the Mangrove Nine.
The trial of the nine arguably represents a high point of the Black Panther movement in the UK, showing the power of black activism and the institutionalised police prejudice. But what prompted the backlash of black British people against the police? And what sparked one of the show trials of the century?
The Mangrove restaurant
We hold the original complaints of Frank Crichlow in 1969 to the Race Relations Board. This complaint was in relation to Crichlow’s restaurant The Mangrove, which was located in Notting Hill. The restaurant opened in March 1968, quickly becoming a centre for the black community, attracting intellectuals, creatives and campaigners.
The restaurant was repeatedly raided by police. Although the raids were carried out on the basis of drug possession, drugs were never found and Crichlow’s own anti-drugs stance was well known in the community.
In his complaint Crichlow directly states ‘I know it is because I am a black citizen of Britain that I am discriminated against’ (CK 2/690). The Race Relations Act 1968 made it illegal to refuse housing, employment or public services on the grounds of colour, race, or ethnic or national origins.
The raids on the Mangrove were seen as reflecting a wider culture of oppression. Continue reading »