BLACK PEOPLE’S DAY OF ACTION – 40 YEARS ON

March 3, 2021

Part 1: Political Strategy and Organisation

March 2nd marks forty years since The Black People’s Day of Action. The historically significant day, in 1981, saw over 20,000 people march across London seeking justice for the victims of the New Cross Fire, which had broken out six weeks prior. The tragic Fire had resulted in the death of thirteen black teenagers on the night, and a further death months later. Despite many signs and witness accounts indicating that the fire was racially motivated, the police failed to make any charges. In the weeks and months following the fire, the black community came together to demand justice for the victims of the fire.

The New Cross Massacre Action Committee, an assembly of activists, mobilised and formed a unified response to the racial injustice evident in the subsequent police investigation and media reporting. The Black People’s Day of Action was a clear expression of the black community’s grievances and a protest against racial injustice in Britain.

In this special podcast, members of the Race Today collective reunite to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the march and discuss the political strategy they used when organising the national demonstration.

Producer: Bryan Knight & Tamara Howe Moderator: Kehinde Andrews (Professor of Black Studies – Birmingham City University) The Race Today Collective: Leila Hassan Howe, Jean Ambrose, Michael Cadette, Farrukh Dhondy, Patricia Dick, Claudius Hilliman, Linton Kwesi Johnson

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