On This Day

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

Ellington Starts Gooning Around on the BBC

28 May 1951  - The Goon Show began broadcasting. This was a British radio comedy programme, originally produced and broadcast by the BBC Home Service from 1951 to 1960, The show featured regular appearances by Singer and Big Band Leader Ray Ellington.


More On This Day Entries

Riots in Oldham

26-27 May 2001 -  The 2001 Oldham riots were a short but intense period of violent rioting which occurred in Oldham, a town in Greater Manchester, England, in May 2001. They were the worst ethnically-motivated riots in the United Kingdom since 1985, briefly eclipsing the sectarian violence seen in Northern Ireland.The Oldham Riots were the first of a series of major riots during summer 2001, which saw similar ethnic conflicts follow in Bradford, Leeds and Burnley.

The riots followed a long period of ethnic tensions and attacks in Oldham, occurring particularly between groups of the local communities and South Asian-Muslim communities.

The most violent rioting occurred in the Glodwick area of the town which is a multi-ethnic district of Oldham and home to a large community of Pakistani people.

The racial riots took place throughout Oldham and a small part of neighbouring Chadderton, peaking on Saturday, 26 May 2001, and continuing on Sunday 27, and Monday, 28 May 2001. They were particularly intensive in Glodwick, an area to the south-east of Oldham town centre. They were highly violent and led to the use of petrol bombs, bricks, bottles and other such projectiles by up to five-hundred Asian youths as they battled against lines of riot police. At least 20 people were injured in the riots, including fifteen officers, and 37 people were arrested. Other parts of Oldham such as Coppice and Westwood were also involved.

Asians - including those of Pakistani, Bangladeshi and Indian heritage - make up 11% of Oldham's population, but constitute around 2% of the workforce at the local council, the town's biggest employer. The rate of mixed race marriage in the town is less than 1%. Most Oldham primary schools are single race, and many secondaries are 99% white or 99% Asian.

On Saturday 26 May, the Live and Let Live pub, which was occupied at the time, was pelted with bricks, stones and petrol bombs. Several cars were set ablaze including an occupied police van. Lines of riot police were drafted in to combat the spiralling violence. Several officers were injured, and 32 police vehicles were damaged,but despite the level of violence and arson, there were no fatalities.

On 28 May 2001, the headquarters of the local newspaper, the Oldham Evening Chronicle, was attacked. A large group of Asian rioters threw a petrol bomb into the premises and smashed three plate-glass windows.


Birth of A Future Champion

25 May 1920 - Birth of Arthur Wint Arthur Stanley Wint OD MBE (25 May 1920 – 19 October 1992)who  was the first Jamaican Olympic gold medalist, winning the 400 metres at the 1948 Summer Olympics in London.


With thanks to "Black 365" by Christina O Connor for the above information.

Empire Day Is Born.

24 May 1902  -After the death of Queen Victoria in January 1901, the first ‘Empire Day’ takes place on  the Queen’s birthday. Although not officially recognised as an annual event until 1916. The very idea of a day that would …“remind children that they formed part of the British Empire, and that they might think with others in lands across the sea, what it meant to be sons and daughters of such a glorious Empire.”, and that “The strength of the Empire depended upon them, and they must never forget it.”

Wiley Wins Novello Award

23 May 2019 - Wiley is among the winners of the prestigious Ivor Novello Awards for 2019. 

At a ceremony taking place at London’s Grosvenor House, Wiley, known as the “Godfather of Grime”, was awarded with The Ivors Inspiration Award. 

The Ivors were created to celebrate British and Irish songwriting and composing across all music genres, including film, TV, and video game scores. They also recognise music creators for their wider contribution to UK music. 

With thanks to The Independent for the above information.

Lee Rigby Murdered

22 May 2013 - Fusilier Lee Rigby is killed in the street  in Woolwich,. Two men carrying knives and a meat cleaver are subsequently shot and apprehended by police. The government treats the killing as a terrorist incident. Islamist fanatics Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale later found guilty of murdering Lee Rigby


Commonwealth Graves Commissioned

21 May 1917 -The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC)  is commisioned by Royal Charter to honour the  hundreds of thousands of men and women of the Commonwealth forces who died in the First World Wars to ensure they will never be forgotten. At the end of the Second World War in 1945, it was honouring 1.7 million Men and Women. 

Charles The First

20 May 1962 - John Charles of West Ham becomes the first black player to represent England football team at any level. It was not Viv Anderson or latterly discovered England Schoolboy Benjamin Odeje in 1971 (or indeed the unrecognised Cliff Marshall who debuted in the same Schoolboys Match vs Northen Ireland at Wembley). And even going further back Paul Reaney of Leeds who made his full debut for England in 1968 but was never recognised as Black. John Charles played in back to back England Youth Team Friendly Matches vs Israel in Tel Aviv on 20 May and 22 May 1962. See Hall of Fame for biography

Photograph: Media Storehouse.

Pyatt Wins World Boxing Crown

19 May 1993 -Chris Pyatt wins the WBO Middlewight title in the last fight of Sumbu Kalambay's illustrious career in front of a home crowd at Granby Halls, Leicester.

World Record For Daley

18 May 1980 - Decathlete, Daley Thompson opens the 1980 Olympic season with a world decathlon record of 8,648 points at Götzis, Austria. He followed this with a comfortable win at the Moscow Olympics. See Hall of Fame for biography.

Kelsco Cochrane Gets A Blue Plaque

17 May  2009 -The 50th anniversary of the tragic murder of Kelso Cochrane on Southam Street, just off Golborne Road, is  marked by the unveiling of a commemorative Blue Plaque .

Scott Makes Football Focus History

16 May 2021 -  Alex Scott is  named as the new host of the BBC's Football Focus, becoming the show's first permanent female host in its 47-year history.

The 36-year-old made more than 200 club appearances during her playing career, earned 140 caps for her country and represented Great Britain at the 2012 London Olympics.

Announcing the appointment in a column for BBC Sport, she wrote: “When I was a kid, I would never have watched television and thought someone like me could be presenting a programme like Football Focus. For the BBC to trust me with this role and allow me to be my true, authentic self means a lot.”

Scott said she had received “amazing messages” from friends, fans and the Arsenal goalkeeper and Focus presenter Bob Wilson. Walker’s last show will be at end of the season, on 22 May, with Scott taking over in August.

With thanks also to The Guardian for the above information 

Samuel Dies In Tragic Car Crash

15 May 2018 - Former Aston Villa and Bolton defender Jlloyd Samuel dies in a car crash in Cheshire. The 37-year-old, was most recently player-manager of non-league side Egerton.

Samuel made 199 appearances for Villa after signing with the club in 1998, and played 83 times for Bolton between 2007 and 2011.

The Trinidad and Tobago Football Association said he had "collided with an oncoming vehicle".

With thanks to the BBC for the above information. 

New Wave of Black Fiction Books Launched

14 May 1992- A wave of new black fiction in the UK is kick-started by Victor Headley's Yardie. This novel, a raw and gritty tale about a drug baron, helped to launch The X Press, a black-owned publishers

FA Pledge To Tackle Lack Of Asian Footballers.

13 May 2015 - The Football Association act after Report condemns lack of Asian players and coaches in the professional game. 

The chronic shortage of Asian players in the English game has forced the Football Association to launch a major drive to increase participation with a radical plan that could lead to thousands more playing or becoming involved as coaches and officials within the next four years.

English football’s governing body is embarrassed by figures showing that only nine out of 3,000 professional footballers in the top four divisions are of south Asian – countries such as Pakistan, India and Bangladesh – origin.

With thanks to the Independent for the above information

Amos In Historic First

12 May 2003 - Valerie Amos wins a place in history when she became the first black woman to be appointed to the cabinet. She will serve as Minister for Overseas Development in the Government led by Tony Blair and the Labour Party. 

Chopra The Real First

11 May 2003 - Michael  Chopra makes  his Premier League debut for Newcastle  as the season ended with a 1–1 draw at West Bromwich Albion, he again replaced LuaLua with eight minutes remaining. He thus became the first player of Indian descent to play in the Premier League. Zesh Rehman of Fulham who made his debut in 2004, is wrongly attributed as the first British Asian Player in the Premier League.   

Hamza Holds Up Hand Of Apology

10 May 2019 - Leicester midfielder Hamza Choudhury is fined £5,000 and ordered to attend an education course for historical comments made on social media.

The 21-year-old has admitted an "aggravated breach" of Football Association rules after comments posted between 20 June 2013 and 10 May 2014.

In one post he included a racial reference, and in another he said he did not "feel sorry" for anyone who took their own life.

He apologised for the posts last month.

In a statement on Friday, the FA said that "the posts, which included reference to ethnic origin and/or race and/or sexual orientation, were found to be abusive and/or insulting and/or improper and/or brought the game into disrepute".

The England Under-21 international has also been warned about his future conduct.

With thanks to The BBC for the above information

Stormzy Storms The Rich List

9 May 2019 - Chart-topping grime artist Stormzy debuts on Sunday Times Rich List as the  17th richest musician in the UK and Ireland  with £16m.


Sadiq Khan secures second term as London mayor

8 May 2021- Sadiq Khan wins  a second term as London mayor tonight after securing an ultimately decisive victory over Shaun Bailey. Labour incumbent Mr Khan polled 1,206,034 votes compared with 977,601 for his Tory challenger.

This gave Mr Khan a majority of 228,433, well down on the record mayoral 315,529 majority he achieved in first gaining election to City Hall five years ago.

His total vote haul – after first and second preferences were combined – was more than 100,000 fewer than his 1,310,143 haul in 2016.

Mr Khan will serve a further three years, the normal four year term shortened due to the election having been delayed by a year due to the covid pandemic.


With thanks to the Evening Standard for the above information.

Sadiq Khan Elected As New London Mayor

7 May 2016 – the Labour MP Sadiq Khan is sworn in as Mayor of London, succeeding Boris Johnson and becoming London's first Muslim mayor.

Mandela Meets The Lawrences

6 May 1993 -The ANC leader Nelson Mandela spent part of the last day of his visit to Britain meeting the family of stabbed teenager, Stephen Lawrence. His interest in the murder helped bring the Case to national attention and soon after the first arrests were made. The Lawrence's credited Nelson Mandela with the arrests because the Police did not make any arrests previously armed with the same information. The Police maintained the involvement of Nelson Mandela did not impact on their investigation or arrests in the case. 

Bellow Beats Haye....Again

5 May 2018 - Tony Bellew repeats his victory over David Haye in their heavyweight rematch as he stopped his British rival in the fifth round.

The Merseysider floored Haye twice in the third round and the fight was waved off in the fifth after the 37-year-old toppled to the canvas again, with Bellew producing a second successive stoppage victory at The O2.

Haye appeared to injure his troublesome right leg, just as he did in their first fight, and will be forced to consider retirement, but Bellew can look ahead to more major fights either at heavyweight or cruiserweight.


With thanks to Sky Sports for the above information and photograph.

Sol Saves The Day

4 May 2019 -Sol Campbell, in his first job as a Manager pulls off a miraculous escape as his team Macclesfield Town secured their football league survival on the last day of the League 2 Season. He stated:

“I’m not saying it’s like Pele in Escape to Victory, but not many teams around the world have got out of a scenario like that,” he said.

Campbell must have wondered what he had taken on when accepting the Macclesfield manager’s job last November, with the club seven points from a position of safety and in a state of financial chaos. The players have received their wages late four times this season, including each of the past three months, and it is only six weeks since they avoided a winding-up order at the High Court over unpaid bills.

Amid all those problems, Macclesfield found a way to secure survival.

Repatriation Demand From Conservative Party Grouping

3 May 1981 -The Monday Club, a grouping within the Conservative Party, called for the repatriation of 50,000 immigrants each year, the abolition of the Commission for Racial Equality and the repeal of all race relations legislation. 

A pamphlet published by the Club and written by Harvey Proctor MP and John Pinniger with a foreword by Sir Ronald Bell MP, proposed that the repatriation be based on financial incentives of £4,000 or £6,000 or 'whatever the market will bear'. Proctor said that the 'indigenous population' would only be reassured 'that they are not, in the words of the Prime Minister, going to be swamped' if the size of the 'ethnic population' was reduced to zero.

With thanks to The Runnymede Trust for the above information.