On This Day

In this section, we remember significant achievements and moments from Black and Asian history

Muslim Student Lands Eton Scholarship

21 January 2019 - Hasan Patel, a Muslim  teenager from east London who shares a two-bedroom council flat with his parents and two brothers wins a £76,000 scholarship to study at Eton. He will start at the prestigious school – once attended by the likes of Princes William and Harry – in September 2019.

 The 16-year-old currently lives in Leyton, east London. He is a pupil at George Mitchell School but is planning to study A-levels in history, geography, politics and drama when he gets to Eton.

With thanks to The I News for the above information.


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Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari 'floors' Anthony Joshua

20 January 2020 - British boxer Anthony Joshua is pictured prostrating before Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari in London.

Joshua, who is of Nigerian descent, also told the gathering he would "stand up for Nigeria" whenever it was needed.

The pictures have had a mixed response on social media, with critics of Mr Buhari angry that Joshua didn't raise the challenges faced by Nigerian youth.

Joshua said in an Instagram story: "It's not about politics. It's about culture and respect for our elders."

Others, however, have praised Joshua for embracing his Nigerian roots, and for prostrating before Mr Buhari - a traditional show of respect to one's elders.

With thanks to The BBC for the above information

Sylvester Dies After Police Detention

19 January 1999 - Roger Sylvester 31, was a mentally ill man who died after being detained outside his home in Tottenham, London, by eight Metropolitan police officers. It was reported that his neighbours had complained to police of a disturbance after Sylvester had started banging on his own front door, naked.

Police detained Sylvester under the Mental Health Act, then took him to St Ann's Hospital, Haringey, where he fell into a coma while being restrained on the floor of a padded room by six officers while being assessed by medical staff. He died at Whittington Hospital, Islington, 8 days later without regaining consciousness.

In 2003, an inquest heard that Sylvester, who suffered from bipolar disorder, had died of serious brain damage and cardiac arrest, caused by difficulty breathing because of the position he was held in. A jury returned a verdict of unlawful killing in October 2003.

The eight officers who had taken Sylvester into custody appealed to the High Court against what they called an "irrational" ruling, and the verdict was overturned in November 2004.

In 1999, forensic pathologist Dr Freddy Patel was reprimanded by the General Medical Council (GMC) for releasing medical details about Roger Sylvester to reporters outside an inquest hearing, Patel told reporters that Sylvester was a crack cocaine user, something his family denied.

13 Teenagers Die In New Cross Fire

18 January 1981 - The New Cross house fire occurs during a party at a house in New Cross, south-east London, in the early hours of Sunday, 18 January 1981. 

The blaze killed 13 young black people; one survivor committed suicide two years later. Nobody has ever been charged in connection to the fire, which forensic science subsequently established was started from inside the house, either by accident or deliberately. The party was a joint birthday celebration for Yvonne Ruddock (one of the victims of the fire) and Angela Jackson (who survived) and was held at No. 439, New Cross Road. 

It began on the evening of Saturday, 17 January 1981 and continued throughout the night and into the early hours of Sunday. At the time, there was a fairly high degree of racial tension in the area and far-right groups including the National Front were active in the local area. There had also been some early complaints from neighbours about excessive noise from the party .

The initial police suspicion was that the party had been fire-bombed, either as a revenge attack or in an attempt to stop the noise; there was also an alternative theory that a fight had broken out, from which the blaze emanated. Subsequent forensic investigation found that the fire had started by an armchair inside the front-room of the property at 5:40am on Sunday morning and police ruled out the theory that a fight had taken place. See Timeline 13 May 1981. 

Shocking BAME Discrimination In Labour Market

17 January 2019 -New Research shows that  Black Britons and those of south Asian origin face “shocking” discrimination in the labour market at levels unchanged since the late 1960s.

A study by experts based at the Centre for Social Investigation at Nuffield College, University of Oxford, found applicants from minority ethnic backgrounds had to send 80% more applications to get a positive response from an employer than a white person of British origin.

A linked study by the same researchers, comparing their results with similar field experiments dating back to 1969, found discrimination against black Britons and those of south Asian origin – particularly Pakistanis – unchanged over almost 50 years.

The research, part of a larger cross-national project funded by the European Union and shared exclusively with the Guardian before its official launch, prompted concerns that race relations legislation had failed.

It echoes findings published as part of the Guardian’s Bias in Britain  that  people from minority ethnic backgrounds face discrimination when seeking a room to rent. In a snapshot survey of online flatshare ads the Guardian found that an applicant called Muhammad was significantly less likely to receive a positive response than an applicant called David.

With thanks to The Guardian for the above information

Baptise Academy Nomination

16 January 1997 - Jean-Baptiste receives a  Academy Award Nomination for Best Supporting Actress nominations for her performance in Secrets & Lies (1996), becoming the first black British actress to be nominated for an Academy Award

Global coronavirus death toll reaches 2 million people

15 January 2021 -  More than two million people have now lost their lives to the Covid-19 pandemic worldwide, with United Nations chief António Guterres lamenting the impact of the “vicious virus”.

“Our world has reached a heart-wrenching milestone,” the Portuguese politician announced on Friday in a video marking the moment.

“Behind this staggering number are names and faces: the smile now only a memory, the seat forever empty at the dinner table, the room that echoes with the silence of a loved one,” he added, calling for greater global solidarity to fund vaccination efforts and urging citizens to stick to containment measures such as physical distancing and masks.

Data from Johns Hopkins University showed the latest Covid milestone was reached on Friday, with an average of 11,900 daily deaths being recorded this year, according to Reuters. That means somebody is currently dying every eight seconds because of Covid.

The global death toll hit one million in late September, nine months after the new coronavirus was first detected in the Chinese city of Wuhan. Disturbingly, it has taken just over three months for that number to double, with some of the worst hit countries – including the US, Brazil, Mexico and the UK – currently witnessing a surge in infections and deaths.

Death of Cyrille Regis

14 January 2018 - Former Coventry,Aston Villa,West Brom,Wolves, Wycombe, Chester and England International , Cyrille Regis MBE dies suddenly from a heart attack aged 59. See Hall of Fame for full biography.

Bunny Johnson's Heavyweight First

13 January 1975 - Bunny Johnson knocks out Northern Ireland's Danny McAlinden  in the 9th Round to become the  first Black Heavyweight Champion of Great Britain. See Hall of Fame for more on Bunny Johnson.

Cricketer Convicted For Spot Fixing

12 January 2012 - Mervyn Westfield of Essex Cricket Club becomes the first English cricketer to be convicted of spot-fixing ie the action or practice of dishonestly determining the outcome of a specific part of a match or game before it is played. He   pleaded guilty to corruption charges at the Old Bailey  to spot  fixing during a one-day match for Essex against Durham in 2009 He was  sentenced to four months in prison and banned from cricket and was given a ban from all forms of the game until 16 February 2017.


New Trade Agreements Announced At JETCO

11 January 2018 - The twelfth meeting of the India-UK Joint Economic and Trade Committee (JETCO) took place in London on Thursday, 11 January 2018. The Indian delegation was led by Shri Suresh Prabhu, Honourable Minister of Commerce and Industry, and the UK side was led by the Rt. Honourable Dr. Liam Fox MP, Secretary of State for International Trade.

No less than 26 agreements were announced as a result of the meeting, including an agreement to set up a new UK-India Tech Alliance to promote collaboration on building future skills in new technologies, and a commitment by the two countries to continue their worldleading research relationship. The UK also agreed to set up a fast-track mechanism to identify and resolve specific issues faced by Indian companies already in the UK or looking to establish operations here7 .


Samira Ahmed wins BBC equal pay tribunal

10 January 2020 -Presenter Samira Ahmed wins the employment tribunal she brought against the BBC in a dispute over equal pay.

Ahmed claimed she was underpaid by £700,000 for hosting audience feedback show Newswatch compared with Jeremy Vine's salary for Points of View.

The unanimous judgement said her work was like that done by Vine, and the BBC had failed to prove the pay gap wasn't because of sex discrimination.

Ahmed said she was "glad it's been resolved".

"No woman wants to have to take action against their own employer," she said, adding: "I love working for the BBC."

In response, the BBC insisted the pay for Ahmed and Vine "was not determined by their gender".

How to know if you're getting equal pay

Describing Ahmed as "an excellent journalist and presenter", the corporation added: "We regret that this case ever had to go to tribunal."

The BBC said it would "work together with Samira to move on in a positive way".

With thanks to The BBC for the above information.

Abu Hamza Receives Life Sentence In USA

9 January 2015 -Abu Hamza, the former head of London's Finsbury Park mosque who preached Islamic terrorism, is sentenced to life in prison by a US court.

New African Gallery Opens At British Museum

8 January 2001 - The British Museum opens new African Gallery . They state that:

"The Sainsbury African Galleries reveal the extraordinary cultural, artistic and historical diversity and complexity of the continent represented by the collections.

The galleries present varied material and artistic traditions, including forged metalwork, textiles, pottery-making, masquerade and sculpture. Cross-cutting the displays, the galleries approach a range of wider themes, including trade, identity, gender, power, religion and transformation."

First Ever Black Sitcom Broadcast

7 January 1983- Channel 4 Broadcast first ever Black Comedy Sitcom 'no Problem which was to run' between 1983 and 1985. As well as being Channel Four's first UK black sitcom it was also their first British-made sitcom. Its cast were members of the Black Theatre Co-operative which staged plays and included Judith Jacob and Victor Romero Evans.Set in Willesden Green, it was about the grown up Powell children after their parents had returned to Jamaica. The comedy dealt with their lives and ambitions from modelling to running a pirate radio station.

Gary Mason Killed In Cycling Tragedy

 6 January 2011 - Former British Heavyweight Champion, Gary Mason dies after being hit by a van in Sandy Lane South,Wallington, South London whilst cycling. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Increase In Immigration Leads To Aliens Order Update

5 January 1953 -The 1953 Aliens Order replaced the 1920 Order and consolidated various other statutory instruments since World War 1. The 1950s brought special challenges such as the influx of visitors for the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953, a year which also saw the opening of the new passenger car ferry terminal at Eastern Docks, Dover. Despite the increase in traffic the numbers of those detained on entry remained small. During the parliamentary debate for the 1953 Act the Home Secretary was asked how many people were currently in detention and advised that on 22 July 1953 the total number of immigration detainees in the UK was 11

36 Not Out For The Voice

4 January 2018 - The Voice Newspaper, Britain's longest serving Black Newspaper enters its 36th year since it started publishing in 1982.  

Lawrence Murders Convicted At Last

3 January 2012 -  after a trial based on new forensic evidence, Gary Dobson and David Norris are convicted of the racist murder of black London teenager Stephen Lawrence, who was killed in April 1993

Navid Sadiq In Racist Attack

2 January 1992 - Navid Sadiq (15) , Southwark, South London is shot during robbery on off-licence where he worked. On hearing that he had caused injury, attacker said 'Good. I hope they die. My name is Conroy, good English name that. What am I going to get for doing a couple of Pakis? I am Anglo Saxon'. Joseph Conroy given two life sentences for murder and attempted murder in October 1992.

Birth Of The India League

1 January 1928 -The India League is born, It was a Britain-based organization whose aim was to campaign for full independence and self-government for India. The activist, lawyer and editor V. K. Krishna Menon was the driving force behind it. It evolved from the Commonwealth of India League (est. 1922). see Hall of Fame for full biography. 

Four Die In Stabbing Attacks

31 December 2017- Four young men were killed in stabbing incidents in London amid New Year celebrations, the Met Police report. Three were stabbed on New Year's Eve and a fourth in the early hours of New Year's Day in unrelated incidents.

Another young man stabbed on New Year's Day is in a critical condition in hospital. Five men have been arrested over the death of an 18-year-old in Larmans Road, Enfield. No other arrests have been made.

In the other attacks, a 20-year-old man was fatally stabbed in Memorial Avenue, West Ham, and a 17-year-old boy was killed in Norwood Road, Tulse Hill, on New Year's Eve. Early on New Year's Day, a 20-year-old man was fatally wounded in Bartholomew Court, Old Street. A second man in his 20s suffered critical stab injuries in the same incident.

The fatalities in the final hours of 2017 took the number of people stabbed to death in the capital last year to 80, the Met said.

With thanks to the BBC for the above information.

Blue Plaque For Coleridge-Taylor

30 December 2012 - A year-long festival to commemorate Samuel Coleridge-Taylor ended with the unveiling of a blue plaque at 6 St Leonards Road, the house where he died on September 1 1912. See Hall of Fame Section section for full biography 

British Business Man Executed

29 December 2009 -Akmal Shaikh (5 April 1956 – 29 December 2009)  a Pakistani-British businessman who was convicted is executed in China for drug trafficking. The trial and execution attracted significant media attention in the UK. He was the first EU National in 50 years to receive such a fate. Prime Minister Gordon Brown informs the Chinese Governments revulsion at the act.

Connie Mark Two - Blue Plaque Restored

28 December 2018 - Connie Mark's  blue plaque is  reinstalled outside the Mary Seacole Housing Association in Hammersmith.

The replacement blue plaque was erected to coincide with Mark’s 95th birthday last week Friday (December 21) after the original was vandalised in 2012.

Mark, who was born in Jamaica, worked in the Auxiliary Territorial Service during World War Two. After she left the military, she went on to dedicate herself to charitable causes, championing equality and promoting black history and culture.

Jak Buela, Nubian Jak Community Trust, the organisation which was partly responsible for organising the replacement, told The Voice: “The Nubian Jak Community Trust felt that with this year being the 70th the anniversary of both the Windrush and NHS, this was a timely moment for the plaque to be reproduced. The fact that Connie Mark was also a WWII veteran as well a Windrush and NHS pioneer, inspired our organisation to seek about restoring her plaque in time for her 95th birthday.”

In addition to the unveiling of the blue plaque, Mark was also honoured with a Google Doodle on what would have been her milestone birthday. The doodle, a temporary reimagining of the search engine’s homepage logo, depicted Mark typing and speaking out about equality.

The global tech giant also had a hand in other tributes made to her on the special day.

With thanks to the Voice Online for the above information and Nubian Jak for the image.