Familiar strangers: the black radicals who civilised Britain

Posted: April 4, 2017 in Uncategorized

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A history of Britain’s black liberation struggle.

Howe (left) rallies anti-fascists, in Lewisham, 1977

That's How The Light Gets In

When the story of radical politics in Britain during the second half of the 20th century comes to be written by future historians, pride of place will surely be given to the black activists drawn from the post-war generation of migrants from the Caribbean and the Indian sub-continent. This thought occurs after reading reviews of Familiar Stranger, the recently published collection of autobiographical essays by Stuart Hall, who was – in Tim Adams’ words in the Observer – ‘perhaps the most significant figure on the British intellectual left over the course of the last 50 years,’ and learning of the death of Darcus Howe, who once described himself as having come from Trinidad on a ‘civilising mission’, to teach Britons to live in a harmonious and diverse society. I know that as a radical fresh out of university in the early 1970s, I drew inspiration from these black activists…

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