On This Day

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

May 2008

24 May 2008 - The 50th Anniversary of the formation of the West Indian Standing Conference (WISC) - an organisation that campaigns  and champions  the principles of Race Equality in the United Kingdom. 

The organisation claim that the concept of race equality was designed by its originator, Joseph Alexander Hunte, as a panacea to halt the spread of racial riots of 1958 in Notting Hill, London and Nottingham. 

The Prime Minister The. Rt Hon. Gordon Brown, the Leader of the  Opposition Rt Hon. David Cameron and the Leader of the LibDems, the Rt Hon Nick Clegg all write  acknowledging WISC’s contribution to the advent of Race Relations in the United Kingdom.  

See Hall of Fame for Biography


More On This Day Entries

23rd May 1968-Anti Discrimination Report Hits The Street

 The Street Report on Anti-Discrimination Legislation commissioned in 1967, is published. The report noted that in the United States opened up jobs to minority groups and recommended that in the UK, the  ( Labour)  Government did the same via legislation. One of Authors, Geoffrey Howe went onto become a Foreign Secretary and Chancellor in the Conversative Governments between 1979-1992.  

22nd May 1985- Mohammed Ajeeb Becomes The First Asian Lord Mayor in Britain

Mohammed Ajeeb became the UK's first Asian Lord Mayor. He was installed as Lord Mayor of Bradford. 

21st May 1917- The Commonwealth Fallen In Battle Are Permanently Honoured

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.  

20th May 1962-The Real First Black Man to Play For England

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.  

May 1993

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

18th May 1959 -Salkey's novel Novel is published

Andrew Salkey's first novel, A Quality of Violence – set around 1900 in a remote area of Jamaica, and narrated in a Jamaican patois is published. 

17th May 1959 -The Murder of Kelsco Cochrane Shook The Nation & The Carribean.

At around midnight, a white gang ambushed 32-year- old Antiguan carpenter Kelso Cochrane on a Notting Hill slum street. The news of an innocent Black man stabbed in West London reverberated from Whitehall to the Caribbean. And when the police failed to catch the killer, many black people believed it would have been different if the victim had been white. Protests in Whitehall bought the deep feelings of resentment to a national audience . See Hall of Fame for biography. 

16th May 1903 -Pioneering Black Theatre Comes To London

In Dahomey opened at the Shaftesbury Theatre, London on 16 May 1903. . The show set a standard for black dance/song/acting that lasted into the 1920s when the jazz-influenced shows from New York were brought to London. Many black entertainers claimed to have been in the 1903 show, for a truncated version had been presented to the king at Buckingham Palace on 27 June, a mark of honour absent from the U.S.A. 

15 May 2001 -Booker Poetic Hall Celebrations

 Malika Booker co-produces a poetry film to commemorate the Royal Festival Hall's 50th Birthday Celebrations.

14th May 1966 -Trebilcock's Double Trouble in FA Cup Final Win.

Everton winger Mike Trebilcock becomes famous for scoring twice in the 1966 FA Cup Final for Everton, but also  becoming the second black player to score in an FA Cup Final (Bill Perry of Blackpool being the first in 1953) 

13th May 1981 - Open Verdict For Deptford 13

Inquest Jury announces an Open Verdict on the death of 13 people who died in the Deptford Fire in January 1981. 

INQUEST Launched

12 May 1981 - the organisation INQUEST is formed and later becomes a Registered Charity in 1995. Inquest, sometimes styled INQUEST, is a charity concerned with deaths in custody or detention in England and Wales, It offers specialist advice and support to bereaved families and others.Was inspired as a result of the Deptford Fire of 1981 where 13 Black Teenagers lost their lives  

Adams Dramatic Debut On The BBC

11th May 1938 -The BBC's version of the play The Emperor Jones is  transmitted live from Alexandra Palace  and Robert Adams became the first black actor to play a leading dramatic role on British television.See Hall of Fame for Biography. 

First African Woman Called To The Bar

10 May 1933 - Stella  Jane Thomas becomes the first African woman called to the bar in Great Britain.

The Black E Is Launced

9 May 1993 - Britain's first Black Community Arts & Dance Project, The Black E,  celebrates its 25th Anniversary.


The Black-E (formerly The Blackie) began with the commitment to combine a contemporary arts centre with a community centre. When - having taken over the former Great George Street Congregational Church, Liverpool, in October 1967 and held its public launch in May 1968.  The choice of a home and base in one of the finest 19th Century buildings in the city, together with a commitment to both preservation and renovation, provided a re-affirmation of the natural links between the past, the present, and the future. The proximity of the building to Britain's oldest established African-Caribbean community - and to Europe's oldest Chinatown - meant that cultural diversity would be celebrated as a natural phenomenon.


West African Band Swing Crowd on VE Day

8th May  1945- Ambrose Campbell and his West African Brothers Band enthuse the Crowd celebrating Victory in Europe VE Day at Piccadilly Circus -the day World War 2 virtually ended. Ambrose Campbell claimed: "People didn't know what was going on but they joined in. I suppose it was curiosity. Everybody had been waiting for that day so everybody was happy and jumping around and dancing and kissing each other, so we thought we'd join the celebration. We had a huge crowd following us around Piccadilly Circus." 

Riots Begin In St. Pauls

7th May 1987 - Beginning of three days of clashes with the cops in St Pauls, Bristol. On the 9 May, 2 cops are injured when their patrol car is attacked by stones and other missiles in the third day of disturbances. 

BBC Black Broadcaster Pioneer Dies

6th May 1965 -Death of Una Marson (1905-1965). Una  was the first Black female broadcaster at the BBC from 1939 to 1946. Una Marson, born in Jamaica , was a poet, publisher and activist for racial and sexual equality. She was a secretary to the League of Coloured Peoples as well as many other organisations including the Women's International League for Peace. 

First Muslim Maan Elected In Scotland

5 May 1970 - Bashir Maan becomes the first Muslim to be elected to a representative office in the United Kingdom, serving as a Labour Party Councillor for the Kingston ward of the City of Glasgow Corporation. 

4th May 1978- Altab Ali Murdered in Racist Attack.

 Altab Ali, a 25-year-old Bangladeshi a clothing worker, is brutally murdered. In Adler Street by three teenage boys as he walked home from work. A local park was renamed Altab Ali Park in 1998.]At the entrance to the park is an arch created by David Peterson, developed as a memorial to Altab Ali and other victims of racist attacks. The arch incorporates a complex Bengali-style pattern, meant to show the merging of different cultures in East London. A month later, Ishaque Ali is brutually murdered in Hackney. 

3rd May 2015 - Sheku Bayoh Dies In Police Arrest

Sheku Bayoh, 31, dies from suspected asphyxiation on a street in Kirkcaldy, Fife leaving behind Scottish partner and young child. He had been detained, handcuffed and put in leg restraints following an altercation with a female police officer and a colleague, and had been allegedly wielding a knife. See www.ourheritage.tv/timeline for more details 

2nd May 1953 - Perry Wins FA Cup For Blackpool

Blackpool Forward, Bill Perry becomes the first Black player to score in the FA Cup Final when he scores the winner in the "Matthews Final" which capped an incredible fightback by Blackpool from 3-1 down to emerge 4-3 Cup Winners   

1st May 1922 - May Day Drugs Bust Means Hard Labour For A Villian

The Times reported that Eddie Manning “a coloured man, described by a Scotland Yard officer as an important drug trafficker in the West-End, [was] sentenced at Marylebone on Saturday to six months’ imprisonment with hard labour”. On 22 July 1922 the News of the World said he was “a drug vice chief”. In 1954 ex-superintendent Robert Fabian in his London After Dark memoirs said “The first drug trafficker I ever met was Eddie the Villain” 

April 1963

30 April 1963 - The Bristol Bus Boycott of 1963 arose from the refusal of the Bristol Omnibus Company to employ black or Asian bus crews in the city of Bristol, England. In common with other British cities, there was widespread racial discrimination in housing and employment at that time against "coloureds". Led by youth worker Paul Stephenson and the West Indian Development Council, the boycott of the company's buses by Bristolians lasted for four months until the company backed down and overturned the colour bar.