On This Day

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

Humane Award For Three Schoolboys

29 March 2018 - Three Schoolboys  who saved a man by holding on to him as he tried to jump off a bridge are to given awards.

Devonte Cafferkey, 13, and Sammy Farah, 14, and Shawn Young, who was 12-years-old at the time, all helped to stop the man from jumping to his death.

They will each be presented with awards from the Royal Humane Society, a charity that grants awards for acts of bravery in the saving of human life and restoring human life.


With thanks to The Voice Online for the above and photograph. 


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A Briggs Too For Shannon

28 March 1998 -  Lennox Lewis and Shannon Briggs fight to unify the lineal and WBC heavyweight titles at the Covention Center in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The Title(s) on the line were the WBC/Lineal Heavyweight Championships. 

Lewis was able to control most of the first round by effectively using his strong left jab to keep Briggs off balance while occasionally landing some power punches as well. However, with only 30 seconds left in the round, Briggs was able to land a short left hand that staggered Lewis. Briggs then began a furious 20-second rally that saw him land several power punches in an attempt to gain the knockout victory. Briggs concluded his assault with a right hook that sent Lewis stumbling into the corner with 15 seconds left, Briggs quickly attempted to continue his attack with Lewis in the corner, but Lewis was able to get a hold of Briggs and clinched him until the round ended. Lewis rebounded in round two and much like in the previous round, used his left jab to keep Briggs at bay. However, as the second minute of the round came to a close, Briggs landed a powerful left hook that staggered Lewis, but Lewis was able to withstand Briggs' follow-up combination and ended the round strongly by landing two combinations within the round's last 10 seconds.

Lewis began the fourth round aggressively and landed a combination that sent Briggs into the ropes. Briggs attempted to backpedal away, but Lewis landed a right hand that stunned Briggs. After continuing his assault on Briggs, Lewis was finally to gain a knockdown after a right hook dropped Briggs to the canvas 43 seconds into the round. Briggs was able to answer the referee's count, but Lewis was able to quickly get Briggs up against the ropes and proceeded to land several more punches before Briggs was finally able to punch his way out. After being dominated by Lewis for the entire round, Briggs was able to land some offense and hit Lewis with a strong left hand with 42 seconds left in the round. Lewis avoided Briggs' follow-up punches and countered with a left hook and a three-punch combination that again sent Briggs down to mat. Briggs was able to answer the referee's count at eight and survived the remainder of the round.

Lewis continued to punish Briggs with power punches in the fifth round and knocked Briggs down for the third time with a powerful right hook at 1:09 into the round. Briggs laid flat on his back for five second but got back up at the count of eight and continued with the fight. Lewis continued to pummel Briggs and after Briggs collapsed to the mat following a missed left hook, referee Frank Cappuccino stopped the fight and awarded Lewis the victory by technical knockout.

Queen Asked To Apologise

27 March 2007 -  Community Activist Toyin Agbetu makes the headlines  when he interrupts the Westminster Abbey service to mark the bicentenary of the abolition of the slave trade and demanded that the Queen make a public apology.

When Toyin Agbetu challenged the Queen, the incident was widely reported as the act of a madman, a security threat in the heart of the establishment. There is a degree of irony to this, since Agbetu is the founder of African human rights organisation Ligali, which works to challenge  the misrepresentation of African people in the mainstream media.

Death of Sylvester Williams

26 March 1911 -Henry Sylvester Williams , Trinidadian lawyer, councillor and writer, most noted for his involvement in the Pan-African Movement dies. See Hall of Fame for full Biography

Walter Tull Killed At War

25 March 1918 -  Second Lieutenant Walter Daniel John Tull  dies in France aged just 29. By the spring of 1918 the war was in its final stages and Second Lieutenant Tull(pictured far left)  was back on the Somme. The Germans had launched a final desperate attack and on March 25 Walter again led his men into ­action. It was his last advance. He vanished into a hail of gunfire and exploding shells in No Man’s Land.

Sikh Children Make Legal History

24 March 1983 - Historic decision by House of Lords in Nandla et al vs Lee. Lords rule that School who denied two Sikh children a place at school because they wore Turbans, had discriminated against them on grounds of race. The case was bought under the Race Relations Act 1976. It was held that Sikhs were a race for the purposes of the Act and thus were racially discriminated against.  

Caribbean Voices Hits The Airwaves

23 March 1952 - Pauline Enriques and Sam Sevlon Broadcasting from the BBC on the programme "Caribbean Voices".  Caribbean Voices was a radio programme broadcast by the BBC World Service from Bush House in London, England, between 1943 and 1958. It is considered "the programme in which West Indian literary talents first found their voice, in the early 1950s. See Hall of Fame for full biography

Terror On The Bridge

22 March 2017 -Four people die and at least forty others are injured in what is treated as a terrorist attack in London, when a male car driver, later identified as Khalid Masood, ploughs through pedestrians on Westminster Bridge before stabbing PC Keith Palmer to death at the Palace of Westminster. Police later shoot Masood dead. In response, the Houses of Parliament are placed in lockdown for four hours, as is the London Eye and Whitehall, and the devolved Scottish Parliament suspends a debate on a second Scottish independence referendum.

The number of fatalities in the Westminster attack increased to six on 6th April 2017 as a Romanian woman, rescued after falling into the Thames but with serious injuries, dies in hospital.

Zahid Mubarek Murdered

21 March 2000 - Zahid Mubarek  a British Asian teenager is  murdered by his cellmate on 21 March 2000 at the Feltham Young Offenders' Institution in southwest London. He was already inside Feltham when his killer, 20-year-old Robert Stewart, was transferred to his cell.


Mubarek was a first-time prisoner and was five hours from the end of a 90-day sentence for stealing razor blades worth £6.


Mubarek, who was trying to sleep ahead of his release the following morning, complained the light in the cell was too bright; Stewart responded to this by throwing a pair of underpants over the cell lamp. At 3.35am on the morning of 21 March, Stewart took a table leg that he had already separated from the table and began battering his cellmate over the head. Mubarek was hit between seven and eleven times before Stewart pressed the alarm and waited for the prison officers to arrive. Once they did, he was immediately moved to a nearby cell where he washed his blood-stained hands and clothes before a forensic team could isolate any evidence. All the while, Mubarek was on his way to Charing Cross Hospital in west London, where he died.

Back at Feltham, Stewart took the heel of his rubber shoe and scrawled a swastika on the wall before scratching the following message: Manchester just killed me padmate. RIP OV M1CR


The unprecedented decision by the Law Lords to order Home Secretary David Blunkett to hold a public inquiry into the murder was heralded a huge victory for the dead teenager's family. Despite the family's four-year wait for the inquiry, some evidence is already in the public domain after the Commission for Racial Equality conducted its own investigation.

Evidence presented at the later murder trial revealed Stewart to be a seriously disturbed individual. The inquiry stated that Zahid Mubarek died because of a combination of his cellmate's racism and failures of the Prison Service.

On 8 February 2000, Stewart was allocated a double cell with the soon-to-be-released Mubarek as Feltham faced crowding problems. Six weeks later Mubarek was murdered in a racially motivated attack by Stewart.

Honeyghan Takes It Back

20 March 1988 - Lloyd Honeyghan becomes only the second British boxer in history to regain a world title when he knocked Vaca out in a return fight in the third round to regain his WBC World Welterweight title.

Africa Centre Opens in London

19 March 1964 -Africa Centre opens its doors to the public in  becoming a vibrant home-away-from-home and cultural hub for the African diaspora in London.

Special Restrictions Ordered for 'Coloured' Seamen

18 March 1925 -The Special Restriction (Coloured Alien Seamen's) Order is described by Laura Tabili as 'the first instance of state-sanctioned race discrimination inside Britain to come to widespread notice' (p. 56). The work of the Home Office Aliens Department, the Order was issued under Article II of the Aliens Order of 1920 and stated that 'coloured' seamen who did not possess documentary proof of their status as British must register as 'aliens' in Britain 'whether or not they have been in the United Kingdom for more than two months'. Police were to apprehend 'coloured' men disembarking from ships and report them to the police if they failed to show their documentation. In practice, it was not easy for 'coloured' seamen to prove that they were British subjects because sailors were not required to carry passports and, unlike those of their white counterparts, 'coloured' seamen's discharge certificates were not considered proof of their nationality because of allegations of trafficking in these papers.

Reasons for the issue of the Order are various and debated. In a letter dated 14 August 1926, the Under-Secretary of State cites the demands made at the end of the First World War by the National Sailor and Fireman's Union that 'steps should be taken to restrict the admission to this country of coloured seamen who could not establish that they were British subjects, since they competed in the overstocked labour market for seamen and were a source of grave discontent among British sailors', and claims that the accumulation of 'coloured seamen' in certain ports 'was a continual source of irritation and...likely to lead to a breach of the peace' (HO 45/12314). However, by the mid-1920s, employment in the shipping industry was beginning to pick up, which calls these reasons into question. Further, historians have recently questioned the role of the Union in pushing forward this piece of legislation, arguing that it was the state that played a more significant role.

State officials, determined to deport 'coloured' seamen, interpreted and enforced the rules rigidly, depriving these men of their citizenship. The India Office and Colonial Office received numerous protests from seamen who claimed that police were using the order to target men who were obviously British subjects. Further, officials erroneously applied the rules to non-seamen, for example registering 63 Glasgow-based Indians, most of whom worked as peddlers and labourers, as 'aliens'. Indians in Liverpool protested in the form of a public rally and through founding the Indian Seamen's Union, led by N. J. Upadhyaya. The India Office, fearful of the public outcry triggered by the Order in India, reprimanded the Home Office, even suggesting that all Indians should be issued with passports - a suggestion that was not received favourably by the Home Office. Finally, it was agreed that Indian seamen registered as 'aliens' could apply to the Home Office to have their British nationality verified. They would then be issued with a Special Certificate of Identity and Nationality which would enable their registration to be cancelled. The Order was finally revoked in 1942.

With thanks to the Open University for the above information

Peters in Historic Rugby Cap

17 March 1906 - James "Darkie", Peters wins  his début  Rugby Union cap  for England against Scotland. However, The Yorkshire Post pointed out, "his selection is by no means popular on racial grounds". On his performance The Sportsman commented that the "dusky Plymouth man did many good things, especially in passing." He was to play a further game, against France, in which he scored a try. See Hall of Fame for Biography.

Bruno Loses Crown To Tyson

16 March 1996 Frank Bruno meets Mike Tyson again , billed as "The Championship: Part I", with this time Frank Bruno as the first time defending  WBC Heavyweight Champion at the  MGM Grand Garden Arena in Paradise, Nevada.

Mike Tyson was the aggressor for the entire fight. In round 1, Tyson continuously attacked Bruno with right overhand punches, forcing Bruno to grapple with Tyson several times in the round in order to weather the storm. In the final 30 seconds of the round, the two men would go toe-to-toe with Tyson connecting with a power right hand that staggered Bruno. Bruno would regain his composure and exchange punches with Tyson until the bell sounded. During their first round exchange, Bruno would receive a cut over his left eye. Tyson would continue to attack Bruno in round 2, with Bruno again grappling with Tyson at a frequent basis in an effort to slow Tyson down. Less than a minute into the third round, Tyson dodged a Bruno jab and proceeded to unleash a 13-punch combination that caused referee Mills Lane to stop the fight and award Tyson the victory via technical knockout.


James Play Takes Centre Stage

15-16 March 1936 -  Toussaint Louverture, a play by the Trinidadian historian C L R James, is given a single performance in London starring Paul Robeson as Toussaint.

Toussaint Louverture was staged on March 15th and 16th 1936 at London’s Westminster Theatre; another black communist, the incredible Paul Robeson, starring in the title role, one of the world’s most famous actors and singers– making it an event of international interest. The League of Coloured Peoples ,of which James was an active member, helped sponsor the performance. 

Tipton Three Return

14 March 2004 - Three friends who become known as "The Tipton Three" return to their homes in Birmingham, UK.   The Tipton Three is the collective name given to three British citizens from Tipton, England, who were held in extrajudicial detention by the United States government for two years in Guantanamo Bay detainment camp in Cuba.

Ruhal Ahmed was born on March 11, 1981; Asif Iqbal was born on April 24, 1981; the United States Department of Defense estimated that Shafiq Rasul was born in 1977. Other reports state he was only a couple of years older than his friends. The three men in their early 20s were captured in Afghanistan in 2001, transferred to United States Army custody and transported to Guantanamo, where they were detained as enemy combatants. Their families were not told of their whereabouts until the British Foreign Office informed them in January 2002. They were three of nine Britons detained at Guantanamo.

After negotiations between the governments and British assessment of their interrogations, the men were repatriated to the United Kingdom in March 2004. They were released without charge the next day.

With many others, Shafiq Rasul filed a habeas corpus suit in 2004 against the United States government for his detention, in a case that ultimately went to the US Supreme Court. In the landmark, Rasul v. Bush (2004), the court held that Guantanamo detainees have the right to challenge whether their detention is constitutional in the US courts. The three men were represented in the UK by the lawyer Gareth Peirce.

In addition, the Tipton Three and Jamal Udeen Al-Harith filed a suit in 2004 against the US government in Rasul v. Rumsfeld, challenging its use of torture and religious abuses of detainees. This case was dismissed in April 2009 by the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, based on "limited immunity" of government officials; the court ruled that such treatment had not been legally defined at the time as prohibited. In December 2009 the US Supreme Court declined to accept the case for hearing, so the lower court ruling stands.

The three men were featured as the subjects of The Road to Guantánamo (2006), a docu-drama about the events directed by the British filmmaker, Michael Winterbottom.

Former Lieutenant General of the Punjab Assassinated in London

13 March 1940 -, Michael O'Dwyer, Former Lieutenant General of the Punjab in India is shot and killed by Indian Revolutionary, Udham  Signh in Caxton Hall London. See Hall of Fame on Udham  Singh for more details.

 Singh (second from the left in photo) being taken from 10 Caxton Hall after the assassination of Michael O'Dwyer . O'Dwyer was the Lieutenant General at the time of   The Jallianwala Bagh massacre, also known as the Amritsar massacre, which took took place on 13 April 1919 when troops of the British Indian Army under the command of Colonel Reginald Dyer fired rifles into a crowd of Indians, who had gathered in Jallianwala Bagh, Amritsar, Punjab. The civilians had assembled for a peaceful protest to condemn the arrest and deportation of two national leaders, Satya Pal and Saifuddin Kitchlew. Raja Ram has argued however, that the Proclamation was ineffective, the crowd formed in deliberate defiance and the event signals a beginning of Indian nationalism. Over 400 men, women and children lost their lives.

Britain's First Black Newspaper Launched

12 March 1958 -From above a Barbers shop at 250 Brixton Road,exiled communist and now UK based Claudia Jones, launches Britain’s first black newspaper 'The West Indian Gazette

Sentamu Appointed to Head Church of England

11 March 2002 -The UK's first senior black Anglican bishop is  appointed to head the Church of England in Birmingham. The Right Reverend John Sentamu was made the new Bishop of Birmingham following an announcement made by Downing Street on Tuesday.


UK Asian Music Awards Held

10 March 2011 -The UK Asian Music Awards  event was held  at The Roundhouse, London and was sponsored by Lebara Mobile. The award winners were

Lifetime Achievement Award: Apache Indian

Commitment to Scene: Cornershop

Best Video: Jay Sean ft. Nicki Minaj – "2012 (It Ain't the End)"

Best Radio Show: Bobby Friction – BBC Asian Network

Best Urban Act: Mumzy Stranger

Best Desi Act: Jaz Dhami

Bestselling British Single: Punjabi By Nature ft. The Dhol Foundation - "Kaun Nee Jaandah"

Best International Album: DJ Sanj – American Desi

Best International Act: Miss Pooja

Best Music Producer: Sukshinder Shinda - Jadoo

Best Newcomer: Jernade Miah

Best Club DJ: DJ Kayper

Best Alternative Act: Rumer

Best Male Act: Jay Sean

Best Female Act: Preeya Kalidas

Best Album: Punjabi By Nature – CCutrowd Pleaser

Daily Mirror Launches Walter Tull Campaign

9 March 2013 -  the Daily Mirrror features the campaign of  Phil Vasili and Northampton South MP Brian Binley, first launced in December 2006, for Walter Tull(left in picture)  to be posthumously awarded the Military Cross. 95 Years after he was killed in action.



London Free School Opens

8 March 1966 -The London Free School (LFS) is  founded  principally by John "Hoppy" Hopkins and Rhaune Laslett.

The London Free School was a community action adult education project inspired by American free universities (and the Victorian Jewish Free School in Spitalfields). The organisers have been described as an "anarchic temporary coalition" of the old guard New Leftand CND housing activists from the Rachman days and the new beatnik/hippy generation. The former included George Clark of the Notting Hill Community Workshop, Richard Hauser (who ran a community scheme after the 1958 riots), Rhaune and Jim Laslett-O’Brien, Bill Richardson of the Powis and Colville Residents Association, Andre and Barbara Shervington.

To varying degrees of involvement, the hippy contingent numbered John Hopkins, Michael X, Courtney Tulloch Lloyd Hunter, Peter Jenner (who was just starting to manage Pink Floyd), Joe Boyd of Elektra Records and UFO, Andrew King, Michael Horovitz,John Michell, Julie Felix, Jeff Nuttall, Mike McInnerney (Tommy artist), Graham Keen (IT), Neil Oram (The Warp), Dave Tomlin (IT), Felix de Mendelssohn (Children of Albion), Nigel Waymouth of Granny Takes a Trip, John Essam, Alexander Trocchi, the jazz writer Ron Atkins, the Warhol star Kate Heliczer, Harvey Matusow (the McCarthy witchtrials saboteur), R. D. Laing and "the Belsize Park shrinks", Emily Young, Anjelica Huston and Pink Floyd.

According to Jeff Nuttall, "Ultimately the Free School did nothing but put out a local underground newsletter and organise the 2 Notting Hill Gate Festivals, which were, admittedly, models of exactly how the arts should operate – festive, friendly, audacious, a little mad and all taking place on demolition sites, in the streets, and in a magnificently institutional church hall." Despite this opinion, the formation of "The Notting Hill Neighbourhood Service" (one of the first centres to offer drugs and legal advice in London),the Notting Hill Carnival, the International Times and the UFO Club all emerged from the brief life of the LFS.

Also significant was the early development of Pink Floyd, who played at All Saints Church Hall, initially as part of The Notting Hill Fayre (Carnival), and then a series of fund-raising concerts for the LFS. These were among the earliest gigs by the band, coming between their Spontaneous Underground period at The Marquee and the start of the UFO club.

Lord Ouseley Report Released

7 March 2005 -The Ouseley Report released recommended a "people's programme" to bring harmony to the city of Bradford -scence of fierce race rioting in July 2001. . The government subsequently commissioned the Cantle report which made 67 recommendations. 

Stephen Lawrence Spy Inquiry Launched

6 March 2014 -Home Secretary Theresa May announces a public inquiry into undercover policing after revelations that officers spied on members of Stephen Lawrence's family

Gangster Chronicle Released.

5 March 1990 -The London Posse release their critically acclaimed album, Gangster Chronicle.Gangster Chronicle was their  debut album  Sparkii (Jus Badd Cru) produced six of the tracks (as well as remixing and re-recording Money Mad), Twilight Firm (DJ Devastate and Brian B) produced two tracks and the London Posse produced "Tell Me Something". It was originally released as an LP on Mango Records