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Black was the colour of our fight. Black power in Britain, 1955-1976

Wild, Rosalind Eleanor (2008) Black was the colour of our fight. Black power in Britain, 1955-1976. PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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This thesis examines in detail the rise and fall of the British Black Power movement. It is the first book-length study of Black Power in Britain and the only one of any size written by a historian. It traces the roots of British Black Power in (1) the anti-colonialist traditions of immigrants from Africa, the Caribbean, India and Pakistarý the last three categories of which came to Britain in unprecedented numbers after 1955; (2) the influence of the contemporaneous black freedom struggle in the United States; and (3) most importantly the encounter with white racism in the United Kingdom. It argues that, although politically it was short-lived, the movement had a long- term cultural impact on black protest. It created a unifying black political identity and shifted the debate about domestic race relations onto a consideration of white racism as well as black immigration. The exaggerated violence of the Black Power movement's rhetoric, however, gave the state the opportunity to harass activists on the streets and in the courts. Police infiltrated, spied on and frequently raided Black Power groups. Internally, cultural nationalism and increasingly dogmatic Marxist-Leninist agendas created political divisions that fragmented the movement. Most Black Power activists came from the Caribbean: the movement failed to directly engage large numbers of Asians, who made up the majority of Britain's post-war immigrants. Nonetheless, Black Power's legacy was borne unintentionally in the 11 industrial militancy of Asian immigrants in the 1970s, and deliberately by the founders of numerous social welfare and educational projects in black communities. The young black men who took direct action against police harassment and intimidation on the streets of Notting Hill and Southall in 1976 reflected both Black Power's militant spirit and its failure to achieve its goal of a society built on respect and equality.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Arts and Humanities (Sheffield) > History (Sheffield)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.489059
Depositing User: EThOS Import Sheffield
Date Deposited: 13 May 2013 15:03
Last Modified: 08 Aug 2013 08:52
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/3640

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