THEME OF BLACK HISTORY MONTH UK 2020 WAS NON-VIOLENT CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE
The brutal killing of George Floyd by American police in June 2020 sparked global protests against racism. In the UK, young activists took to the streets to demand an end to racial inequality in education, health, justice and employment. Sparking important conversations over Britain’s colonial past and its role in the Atlantic Slave Trade within government, business and the media.
We took a look back at the Black British activists of the 1960s and 1980s who used 'Non-Violent Civil Disobedience' to help achieve racial equality in the UK. Shining a light on the pioneering Civil Rights activists behind the Bristol Bus Boycott and Lewisham Mums against SUS laws who paved the way for today's young Black British activists.
Bristol Bus Boycott
In 1963, Roy Hackett, Paul Stephenson, Audley Evans and Guy Bailey joined together to organise a boycott to force the Bristol Omnibus Company to change its racist policies that stopped Black and Asian people from working on the buses. The protest attracted national attention and ultimately lead to the passing of the Race Relations Act in 1965 that banned all discrimination in the workplace.
Lewisham Mums against SUS laws
A group of Lewisham mums lead by Mavis Best, campaigned to stop the SUS laws in the UK with the support of Paul Boateng (future Home Secretary and Labour Peer). The law was abolished on 27 August 1981 but three years later the government introduce the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 which reintroduced stop and search.
Black British history is British history
These Black British activists fought to change the law and help create modern Britain, but their voices have been erased and forgotten from UK history.
Black History Month UK exists to tell their stories and ensure that Black Voices are heard.
But we are only able to provide you with a snapshot of Black British history. We hope that we piqued your interest and inspired you to find out more. We encourage you to look beyond the month of October because every day should Black History day.