A day at the British Newspaper Library in Colindale reveals the impact of the US Civil Rights movements in the 60’s. Riots in American ghettos and freedom fighters such as Martin Luther King and Malcolm X fascinated the British press and frequently made the front page – especially for The Guardian.
News of their embattled ‘brothers and sisters’ in the US was a catalyst for the black British community to address the inequalities in their own communities. Michael de Freitas community leader self styled after the manner of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King who both visited Notting Hill Gate in the 60’s.
In his autobiographer, Michael X talks of the challenges facing black people in London around this time and sets out his manifesto for change. A controversial figure who was later hung for murder, Michael X was disappeared from the public consciousness but he made the front cover of the Observer in 1965 and was possible the most famous black British man at this time.
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