In this section, we remember significant achievements and moments from Black and Asian history
18 February 2003 - Lenford Kwesi Garrison, dies aged just 59. He was named as one of the "Greatest Black Britons", according to a list produced by Every Generation Media. The Jamaican-born photographer and educationalist was one of the founding members of the Black Cultural Archives (BCA), a lasting legacy that combines everything Garrison was passionate about.
Thanks to the Voice Newspaper for the above information. See also our Hall of Fame.
15 February 2003 - The traditional and seasonal Basant Kite Festival of the Punjab region, Pakistan, comes to London. It falls on Basant, also called Basant Panchami and Vasant Panchami. According to the Punjabi calendar it is held on the fifth day of lunar month of Magha (in late January or early February) marking the start of spring.
Basant is celebrated in Ralwalpindi, Pakistan and elsewhere with the flying of kites.
The Basant Kite Festival is popular in many areas of the Punjab region and is celebrated with much fanfare.
The other traditions are common to other regions celebrating Basant: it is traditional for people to wear yellow. It is also customary to eat rice coloured with saffron. Other sweet dishes include gajjar da halwa and laddo. People decorate their houses with yellow flowers too. These traditions can also be observed in Uttarkashi where Basant is a farmers festival. People pluck yellow flowers and decorate the main doors of the house with it welcoming the spring and the new sowing season.
14 February 2019 -The writer Andrea Levy, who explored the experience of Jamaican British people in a series of novels over 20 years dies, aged 62, from cancer.
After starting to write as a hobby in her early 30s, Levy published three novels in the 1990s that brought her positive reviews and steady sales. But her fourth novel, Small Island, launched her into the literary big league, winning the 2004 Orange prize, the Whitbread book of the year and the Commonwealth Writers’ prize, selling more than 1m copies around the world and inspiring a 2009 BBC TV adaptation.
With thanks to The Guardian for the above information
13 February 2019 - Goldsmiths University of London announce that students will be able to study for an MA in Black British History once the programme is introduced in September 2019. This will mark the first time that black British history is available to study at a postgraduate level at a UK university.
Based in the Department of History, the MA Black British History will run alongside the existing MA History and MA Queer History.
Optional modules are expected to cover 500 years of black British history and the people and ideas that shaped it, including: the black Tudors; abolitionism; black Victorians and Victoriana; religious experiences; black involvement during the First and Second World Wars, and African and West-Indian immigration to Britain.
With thanks to The Voice Online for the above information.
7 February 2018 - A cutting-edge scientific analysis shows that a Briton from 10,000 years ago had dark brown skin and blue eyes.
Researchers from London's Natural History Museum extracted DNA from Cheddar Man, Britain's oldest complete skeleton, which was discovered in 1903. University College London researchers then used the subsequent genome analysis for a facial reconstruction.
It underlines the fact that the lighter skin characteristic of modern Europeans is a relatively recent phenomenon. No prehistoric Briton of this age had previously had their genome analysed.
As such, the analysis provides valuable new insights into the first people to resettle Britain after the last Ice Age.
With thanks to the BBC for the above information.
5 February 2011 -David Cameron criticises "state multiculturalism" in his first speech as prime minister on radicalisation and causes of terrorism.
The Labour MP for Luton South, Gavin Shuker, asked if it was wise for Mr Cameron to make the speech on the same day the English Defence League staged a major protest in his constituency.
There was further criticism from Labour's Sadiq Khan whose comments made in a Daily Mirror article sparked a row.
The shadow justice secretary was reported as saying Mr Cameron was "writing propaganda material for the EDL".
Conservative Party chairman Baroness Warsi hit back, saying that "to smear the prime minister as a right wing extremist is outrageous and irresponsible". She called on Labour leader Ed Miliband to disown the remarks.
Meanwhile, the Muslim Council of Britain's assistant secretary general, Dr Faisal Hanjra, described Mr Cameron's speech as "disappointing".
4 February 1989 -Lloyd Honeyghan loses his World Welterweight title to former Don Curry victim and arch-rival Marlon Starling at Caesars Palace, Las Vegas.
There was bad blood between the two fighters and Honeyghan boxed wildly against the defensively excellent Starling. He was stopped in the ninth round after taking heavy punishment throughout the fight.
2 February 2008 - The BBC llaunches an inquiry into a job advertisement that appeared to flagrantly breach the Race Relations Act by seeking an Oriental or Asian person to front a new series. The makers of a ten-part BBC2 science programme sent a wish list of attributes they were looking for to, among others, casting directors, agents and management companies.
It said they were seeking a "young, zany Oriental or Asian person with a science background". But even the science background could be ditched, the advert implied, for the right ethnic man or woman.
A spokeswoman for the Equality and Human Rights Commission said: "If a complaint was made to us about this we would take it very seriously and look into exactly what the message said."
A spokesman for BBC Scotland said: "Messages were sent to various organisations from a member of the production team of a science programme.
"The wording of the messages was inappropriate and they should not have been sent out. It is now an internal matter.
31 January 2015 - Black Europe – The Sounds And Images Of Black People In Europe Pre 1927 is launched by Bear Records of Germany.It is a 44-CD Box Set (LP-Size) with two 300-page hardbound books, 1244 tracks. Total playing time: 56hours 26minutes 27seconds. The collection is nominated for a Grammy Award.
The concept of the project states " Black men and women – long present in Europe – have long been overlooked as pioneering personalities in modern mass media. From the early years of the recording industry, people of African descent were featured on European phonograph cylinders, gramophone discs and in movies and still images."
30 January 1978 - Opposition Leader, Magaret Thatcher makes these infamous remarks that bought back echoes of Enoch Powells comments almost 10 years earlier:
"I think it means that people are really rather afraid that this country might be rather swamped by people with a different culture and, you know, the British character has done so much for democracy, for law and done so much throughout the world that if there is any fear that it might be swamped people are going to react and be rather hostile to those coming in." A few days later Ex-Primeminister Edward Heath crticises his successor as Conservative Party Leader for causing "...an uncessary national row"
29 January 2019 - Solicitor Fiona Onasanya MP becomes the first sitting politician in nearly three decades to be jailed after she lied to police when she was issued with a speeding ticket.
Fiona Onasanya had denied being behind the wheel when her car was spotted being driven at 41mph in a 30mph zone, in July 2017.
The Peterborough MP was thrown out of the Labour Party after being convicted of perverting the course of justice.
She has been jailed for three months after a re-trial at the Old Bailey.
The court heard evidence Onasanya was texting as well as speeding, during the summer recess.
Onasanya is the first sitting MP to be jailed since Terry Fields was sentenced to 60 days for failing to pay his £373 poll tax bill in 1991.
Her brother Festus was jailed for 10 months for his involvement, after pleading guilty to the same charge.
Onasanya was elected as Labour MP for Peterborough in June 2017, six weeks before committing the offence, in Thorney, Cambridgeshire.
As he sentenced her, Mr Justice Stuart-Smith told Onasanya: "You have not simply let yourself down, you have let down those who look to you for inspiration, your party, your profession and Parliament."
The Peterborough MP intends to appeal.
With thanks to the BBC for the above information.
28 January 2005 - The Pan-Africanist leader Marcus Garvey is commemorated with a blue plaque at his final residence, 53 Talgarth Road in Hammersmith, London.
He was the founder and first President-General of the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League (UNIA-ACL, commonly known as UNIA), through which he declared himself Provisional President of Africa. Ideologically a black nationalist and Pan-Africanist, his ideas came to be known as Garveyism.
January 26, 2012 - A new learning resource, Asians in Britain,produced by the British Library, explores the contribution that South Asians have made to Britain’s cultural, social and economic life.
Focusing on the period 1858-1950, this online resource debunks prevailing myths about the Asian presence in Britain, and the tendency to associate this presence solely with post-World War II immigration.