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Minorities At Risk Project: Home    

Chronology for Afro-Caribbeans in the United Kingdom

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Date(s) Item
Jan 15, 1990 The Financial Times reports that graduates from ethnic minorities find it harder to find jobs than their white counterparts. However, companies are actively tackling the issue and boosting minority recruitment.
Jan 23, 1990 Britain's military launches a campaign to attract more non-whites to soldiering, acknowledging many possible recruits fear racism in the ranks. A survey taken in 1987 and 1988 shows that only 1.6% of Britain's military comes from ethnic minorities although blacks and Asians form 5.6% of the population.
Mar 13, 1990 Lord Mackay of Clashfern, Lord Chancellor, urges women and members of ethnic minorities to qualify themselves for appointment as judges.
Jun 14, 1990 Equal rights campaigners attempt to pressure the government to give Afro-Caribbeans and Asians the same protection against discrimination that Roman Catholics receive in Northern Ireland.
Jul 16, 1990 In a new approach to anti-racism, a Labour-controlled local council in west London launches a course on Asian and African culture for senior council officers.
Oct 1990 The Labor party sets up a black socialist society.
Nov 28, 1990 After a "malicious tip-off" police mistakenly raid the home of Britain's highest ranking black police officer for drugs.
Dec 1, 1990 Some local Conservative party members are angered at the selection of a black Conservative candidate for parliament in their district. If he wins, he would be the first ever black Conservative member of parliament.
Dec 1990 In a national poll, 39% of Conservative supporters and 29% of Labor supporters admit that they are racially prejudiced.
Dec 11, 1990 The Conservative party expels a member for calling a black Conservative candidate a "bloody nigger." He is eventually charged with inciting racial hatred.
1991 Reported racially motivated attacks rise from about 4,900 in 1988 to 7,800 this year.
Mar 28, 1991 The first black Queen's Council is named.
Apr 27, 1991 Controversial African-American preacher Al Sharpton arrives in Britain for a week-long visit and controversial tour of racial hot spots and calls on blacks to hit back at attackers. He appeals to Queen Elizabeth and Prime Minister John Major to take public stands against racism. None of his speeches attract more than a few hundred people.
May 2, 1991 Police arrest 2 after a group of white men throw an incendiary device into a London hall where Al Sharpton is due to speak.
Jun 7, 1991 Britain's first black trade union leader is elected when Britain's largest union, the Transport and General Workers Union, elects Jamaican-born Bill Morris as its general secretary.
Jul 1991 According to a poll in the Independent, 79% of British Afro-Caribbeans find Britain "very" or "fairly" racist along with 56% of Asians and 67% of whites. 75% of blacks feel that ethnic minorities are unfairly treated by police. More than 60% of blacks think that employers discriminate in favor of whites and 40% of Asians and whites agree.
Aug 12 - 13, 1991 About 100 mostly black and Asian youths riot in a suburb of Telford, central England, after police shoot dead a man of west-Indian origin.
Aug 25, 1991 400 black rights demonstrators clash with counter demonstrators from the BNP.
Oct 1, 1991 - Oct 31, 2004 According to a report, the Church of England is accused of harboring racial prejudice. The report calls for more black clergy.
Jan 1992 A documentary calls Queen Elizabeth out of touch for having virtually no black courtiers.
1992 There are 8,456 reported racist incidents this year but British officials suspect that since most incidents go unreported, the real number could be closer to 140,000.
Mar 19, 1992 Lurline Champagnie becomes the first black female Conservative candidate for parliament.
Apr 11, 1992 Police in the West Midlands are investigating the possible existence of a Ku Klux Klan group after discovering a burning cross and racist literature.
May 15, 1992 Black pressure groups complain about the prevalence of all white juries at trials of ethnic minorities.
Jun 2, 1992 The Commission for Racial Equality urges a review of school admissions after concluding that procedures used by the Hartfordshire council discriminate against Asians.
Jun 10, 1992 Home Secretary Clarke opposes a law requiring firms to take on black and Asian workers in order to mirror the local population.
Jul 19 - 23, 1992 Black and white youths riot in London's ghetto.
Oct 19, 1992 The Society of Black Lawyers accuses the council of Legal Education which trains students for the Bar of operating an examination which discriminates against blacks. Black students protest outside the law courts in London.
1993 The British Crime Survey reports that around 140,000 racially motivated incidents including harassment, abuse, threats, intimidation and violence occurred in 1993 but only 9,700 were reported. Of those aged 16-24 in Britain, 17% of whites are unemployed but 39% of blacks are unemployed. For all age groups the average unemployment rate is 8% but for blacks it is 14%.
Jan 12, 1993 Several hundred people, mainly black and Asian, lobby parliament in protest against the Asylum Bill which they believe to be "anti-black family." The protest focuses on a provision which would end the right to appeal a refusal by an immigration official to grant entry to the UK as a visitor or prospective student.
Mar 2, 1993 Reuters reports that racist attacks are on the increase in Britain.
Mar 11, 1993 A survey finds that 10% of non-white households in Britain have suffered from some form of racial harassment. 64% of the victims claim a member of their household was verbally abused and 24% claim physical assault.
Apr 22, 1993 A black schoolboy, Stephen Lawrence is killed while waiting at a London bus stop in a suspected racial incident. Although two white youths are eventually charged with the murder, the charges are dropped due to insufficient evidence.
May 1993 Police clash with marchers protesting the killing of a black student.
May 8, 1993 An anti-racist protest turns violent when about 1,000 protesters march by a book shop used by the far-right BNP.
May 20, 1993 2 days of demonstrations against the "racist" expulsion of a 10-year-old black pupil forces a Birmingham junior school to close down. According to government sources, a disproportionate number of black students are expelled from British schools.
Jul 6, 1993 A black groom turned away from his honeymoon hotel because he is black is awarded damages by a British court.
Jul 19, 1993 British politician Winston Churchill, grandson of the war-time leader of the same name, says that he has overwhelming public support for his calls for an end to the "relentless" influx of black immigrants.
Jul 23, 1993 The British army pays compensation to a black soldier who says that his comrades called him racist names and scrubbed his skin with bleach.
Aug 7, 1993 1,500 protesters demonstrate against police brutality toward blacks.
Aug 30, 1993 The Independent reports that black activists are setting up an underground network of "safe houses" for families seeking to avoid deportation.
Sep 1993 According to a BBC survey, 4 out of 5 Afro-Caribbeans believe that the lower ranks of the police are prejudiced against them. Half of the interviewees say that they have no or very little trust in the police.
Sep 1993 Blacks and Asians are incensed when a BNP candidate wins a seat on a local council in a racially mixed area.
Sep 21, 1993 A study done by the University of Bristol Departments of Sociology and Epidemiology finds that blacks and Asians living in Britain's inner cities suffer from loneliness, fear of racial attacks and poor health.
Oct 1993 A black soldier is awarded compensation for racial discrimination in the army.
Oct 3, 1993 Over 1,000 anti-racist demonstrators march through the East End of London as part of continuing protests against the BNP.
Oct 6, 1993 Bernie Grant, a black Labor member of parliament, declares that blacks fed up with racism and unemployment should be given state help to return to their countries of origin.
Oct 16, 1993 20,000 people demonstrate against racism in London near a BNP office. The protest turns violent and some of the demonstrators clash with police.
Oct 17, 1993 A black policeman is injured by anti-racist protesters who call him "traitor" and "scum." The demonstrators are predominantly white.
Nov 10, 1993 200 protest the first BNP candidate to win public office when he takes his seat.
Nov 15, 1993 The Independent reports that anti-racist organizations are being infiltrated by hard-left groups, some of whom are dedicated to violence. One result is that peaceful protests against racism degenerate into confrontations with police.
Dec 1993 British police investigate claims that members of the centrist Liberal Democrat party incited hatred with election leaflets biased against black immigrants.
Mar 3, 1994 The BBC reports that the Ku Klux Klan is operating in Britain with over 400 activists.
Mar 18, 1994 According to the Trade Union Congress, Black and Asian workers are losing their jobs at a rate seven times as high as white workers.
Mar 19, 1994 25,000 people march through ethnically mixed areas of east London to protest growing incidents of racism.
Mar 24, 1994 According to a report, black and Asian doctors are 6 times more likely to face discipline by the conduct committee of the General Medical Council.
Apr 1994 According to current Home Office estimates, there are approximately 130,000 racial attacks in Britain each year.
Jun 10, 1994 The British government launches a new crackdown on racial harassment, proposing a prison sentence of up to 6 months and fines of 5,000 pounds ($7,500).
Jun 21, 1994 3 London police officers are charged with manslaughter over the death of a black woman immigrant in 1993.
Jun 22, 1994 A government report states that racism is on the rise in Britain.
Aug 12, 1994 Black and Asian officers of the metropolitan police force form a staff association to represent their interests to the force.
Aug 14, 1994 The Times reports that police stop a disproportionate number of black drivers in their supposed hunt for Irish terrorists.
Sep 23, 1994 A black man is beaten and set on fire in an apparent racial attack triggered by his relationship with a white girl.
Oct 14, 1994 Britain's top legal official calls for ethnic awareness training for all judges, police, court and probation staff. His speech follows several cases involving black or Asian defendants in which judges were criticized for the sentences they imposed or the comments that they made.
Oct 28, 1994 According to a leading medical journal, ethnic minorities in Britain are more likely to suffer from serious psychotic illnesses than whites because of the stress they endure. In a separate article, researchers find that blacks and Asians in southeastern England are more likely to need treatment for kidney failure or diabetes.
Nov 21, 1994 3 police officers in Manchester are accused of racism and face disciplinary hearings.
Jan 12, 1995 A survey by Centrepoint, an organization which runs several homeless shelters, estimates that 44% of those in its youth hostels are Afro-Caribbean or Asian. In London, the percentage is 62%, and the London Research Centre estimates that "blacks" make up 51% of the total homeless population. A variety of factors are blamed, including discrimination, lower average incomes for non-white families, a lack of housing stock overall, and a need for larger houses to accommodate large black families and multi-generational Asian families. (Inter Press Service, 1/12/95)
Mar 20, 1995 According to a poll, 79% of whites think that there is prejudice toward black people. 42% of black people think that the police treat whites better than them.
Mar 25, 1995 The National Black Alliance (NBA) is formed as an umbrella organization of all racial minorities. It advocates affirmative action-type programs, which are currently illegal in Britain because they discriminate on the basis of race. (The Times 3/26/95)
Apr 23, 1995 Britain's Race Relations Act, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race or ethnic origin, is being extended to include Northern Ireland. According to the Royal Ulster Constabulary, racist incidents there are on the rise. (Times 4/23/95)
Jun 18, 1995 The Commission on Racial Equality reveals that the Household Cavalry - three divisions of elite army personnel which also serve as the Royal bodyguards - have been screening out applicants of racial minorities. Despite efforts to increase participation in the armed forces by minorities, rampant discrimination and persecution still exists. (The Times, 6/18/95)
Jan 17, 1996 A newspaper column notes that racist attacks average almost 200,000 per year, and that a dozen of these attacks have been murders. (Times) A group of former cricket players demand an inquiry into racism in Illingworth county cricket teams, noting both the violence and taunts from fans when nonwhite players are playing, and the lack of nonwhite players on its own team. (The Mirror 1/17/96)
Apr 13, 1996 A government census reveals that 25% of Afro-Caribbeans live in single-parent families, while only one in twenty owns his or her own business. (Mirror 4/13/96)
Aug 21, 1996 John Taylor is appointed peer for life in the House of Lords. He is the only Afro-Caribbean peer; the only other Afro-Caribbean peer died in 1994. (Times 8/21/96)
Oct 1996 Welsh Guardsman and Falklands war hero Simon Weston publishes a novel, "Phoenix" describing the neo-Nazi infiltration of the British army. He claims the novel is based on his own experiences in the army.(Times 10/20/96)
Nov 18, 1996 Rupert Murdock's black son-in-law, Richard Adeshiyan, launches "New Nation," in the hopes that it will present a non-stereotypical view of blacks in the tabloids. (Times, 11/10/96) A poll announces that forty percent of black people aged 18 to 35 in Britain consider themselves British, rather than Afro-Caribbean or African. Fifty-two percent thought race relations had gotten better over the last five years. (Times 11/18/96)
Apr 1997 An organization called Operation Black Vote tries to mobilize Afro-Caribbean voters and remind politicians of their numbers and power. As few as four in ten blacks vote, and politicians have not previously made much effort to woo them. (Agence France Presse 4/25/97)
May 1997 A report by the Policy Studies Institute finds that half the Afro-Caribbean children born in the 1990s have a white parent, that job prospects for Afro-Caribbean women are on the rise, and those with degrees are likely to get jobs matching their qualifications. At the same time, it found that in some areas, unemployment among Afro-Caribbean men reached 50%, and that one in four mothers do not live with their partners. About one in eight suffers from some type of racial abuse each year. (Mirror 5/27/97) Member of Parliament Mohammad Sarwar receives death threats at home and Labour Party headquarters. The threats are believed to come from the British National Party. (Mirror 5/29/97)
May 3, 1997 Four blacks and five Asians are sworn in as part of the new Parliament. (Times 5/3/97)
Oct 7, 1997 Tory politician Lord Tebbit publicly decries multiculturalism, saying it will lead to the breakup of Britain. (Times 11/8/97)
Oct 13, 1997 A special multi-racial recruiting team is set up in Britain with the goal of making seven percent of the armed forces representatives of ethnic minorities, and with the hopes that discrimination will go away if more minorities are enlisted. In addition, a confidential helpline will be set up to advise victims of racial harassment, and people will be able to take such complaints directly to a new equal opportunities inquiry team. At present, only 1.04% of the military is Asian or black. (Agence France Presse 10/13/97 and The Mirror 10/14/97)
Nov 1997 BBC World Service debuts its first soap opera, featuring a multiracial cast including Nigerian, Jamaican, and Indian characters. (Times 10/18/97)
Dec 9, 1997 The British Home Office releases a report showing that racial attitudes among police were becoming entrenched, and spreading to Asians as well. Statistics showed that for every one stop-and-search procedure done for a white person, 4.4 blacks were stopped, and 1.2 Asians. (Times 12/10/97)
Jan 1998 According to the British Crime Survey, the number of racist crimes and threats in England and Wales was 13,878 in 1997-8, but officials believe the actual number may be ten times what is reported. (Times 6/21/99)
Jan 5, 1998 The Chairman of the Commission for Racial Equality, Sir Herman Ousley, stated during the North of England Educational Conference that the country risked "educational apartheid" by ignoring the needs of Afro-Caribbean boys. Not only do Afro-Caribbeans have a lower acceptance rate at universities, and an expulsion rate six times higher than other boys, but they do not thrive in an environment where schools do not recognize racism and assume a homogenous population. (Times 1/6/98)
Mar 6, 1998 Major-General Evelyn Webb-Carter, General Commanding of the Household Division of the British Armed Forces, has given the Household Cavalry and the five Guards divisions under his command 2 years to recruit 200 members of ethnic minorities. The goal is to have the divisions be more representative of Britain's ethnic makeup. (Times 3/6/98)
Mar 25, 1998 The head of the British prison system claims that the reason six of the seven deaths in detentions since 1992 were of Afro-Caribbeans is that their anatomy makes them more susceptible to "positional asphyxia." At the time, 18% of male inmates, and 24% of females, were of ethnic minorities (including Afro-Caribbeans, Asians, and others), while they constitute only 6 percent of the English and Welsh population. (Times 3/25/98)
Mar 30, 1998 The British government's football taskforce publishes a 40-point plan to eliminate racism in the game. Items include fining any spectator found making racist taunts 1000 pounds, and removing any player using such taunts from the game. (Times 3/29/98)
Apr 13, 1998 A British government report entitled "Ethnicity and Victimization," finds that 30% of blacks, 27% of Indians and 22% of Pakistanis avoid certain events, like football games, because they are afraid they will become the victims of crime. This reflects the high rate of harassment these groups perceive in society, which in turn is related to the fact that they tend to be young, live in inner cities, and work for low pay, according to the study. Only about 15% of the crimes committed against members of minority groups are believed by the victims to be racially motivated. (Times 4/13/98)
May 15, 1998 According to the organizer of the Ethnic Minority Media Awards, only one in one hundred media employees in Britain comes from an ethnic minority. (Times 5/15/98)
Oct 17, 1998 The British wing of the Nation of Islam, as well as the Society of Black Lawyers, Operation Black Vote and Christian churches, hold a Million Man March in Trafalgar Square. While some view it as a chance to build ties among Black men, others are concerned because of its reputation for anti-Semitism and anti-Christianity. The Nation of Islam also holds a "Family Day" with an audience of 700 men, women and children. The Nation of Islam also operates three unlicensed schools for its children.(Times 10/17/98)
Jan 11, 1999 Eight police officers take a black man, originally from Grenada, into custody at a psychiatric institution. While being examined, the man falls on the ground limp, and dies seven days later. Police believe the man had been taking cocaine, and died of related heart ailments. The man's family believes he was beaten, possibly in revenge for threatening a female police officer years earlier. (Times 1/12/99)
Feb 8, 1999 The Metropolitan police produce a rap video to attract more minorities to the force. (Times 2/8/99) Yasmin Alibhai-Brown of the Institute for Public Policy Research, issues a report entitled True Colors, which calls on the government to take more steps in combating racism. Among the suggestions: appoint blacks and Asians as special advisors to various government ministries, to appoint them to senior positions in the information service, and to use terms like African-Briton or Asian-Briton to link ethnic groups to their heritage, and to make greater recognition of the sacrifices made by members of ethnic groups during World War II. (Times 2/8/99)
Feb 10, 1999 The BBC airs "Black and White," a documentary showing that racism still exists in Britain. One part of the series shows both a black man and a white man applying for the same jobs, lodging, or service, but with different results. Another episode ends with bitter descriptions of racist violence encountered by various people in Britain. (Mirror 2/6/99)
Feb 25, 1999 The MacPherson Inquiry Report, commissioned to investigate the events surrounding the death of Stephen Lawrence (see 22 April 1993) is released. Parliament greets the release with plans to inspect all unresolved racial murders; to create a new police disciplinary regime; to create targets for the employment of different minorities in the police force; and to create new standards to fully investigate all race crimes. Insufficient police work - often blamed on structural racism - had been blamed for the acquittal of the youths accused in Lawrence's murder. (Mirror 2/25/99)
Apr 1999 Two separate bomb attacks on the 17th and 24th destroy Asian and black neighborhoods of London, killing two and injuring dozens more. A neo-Nazi group called Combat 18 claims responsibility. The National Assembly Against Racism plans a march of 2,000 people to the Prime Minister's residence to hand deliver a request to outlaw the group, and strip the British National Party of its status as an authorized political party. Combat 18 is a splinter group of the BNP. (Agence France Presse 4/26/99 and 5/1/99)
May 4, 1999 The British government enacts legislation requiring that political parties receive a minimum of five percent of the vote before being allowed to join the Greater London Assembly. The legislation is designed to prevent extremist groups from gaining a political forum. (Agence France Presse 5/4/99)
Sep 1999 British judges receive a "race awareness guide," designed to help them understand cultures which may appear before them. (Agence France Presse 9/29/99)
Sep 16, 1999 An official report finds racism and sexism in the fire brigades of Britain, including racist taunts and discrimination. Despite orders to hire more minorities, only 345 of the 38,119 full-time firefighters are non-white. (Mirror 9/16/99)
Oct 5, 1999 Union workers completely stopped production during a one-day wildcat strike to protest the Ford company's "institutionalized racism." (Agence France Presse 10/6/99)
Oct 22 - 23, 2005 An alleged rape of an Afro-Caribbean sparks riots between Asians and Afro-Caribbeans in Birmingham. Four stabbings took place during the riots, leading to the death of Isaiah Young-Sam, in addition to 12 recorded incidents involving gunshots. (Muir, Hugh and Riazat Butt, 10/24/2005, "Birmingham riot: A rumour, outrage and then a riot. How racial tension erupted in a city suburb: 23-year-old man stabbed to death amid violence: Police appeal for rape victim to come forward," The Guardian)
Oct 26 - 26, 2005 Seventy women and children participated in a peaceful demonstration following the Lozell riots. The demonstration was aimed at showing unity between the Asian and Afro-Caribbean communities. (BBC News, 10/26/2005, "Women march after city violence")
May 23 - 23, 2006 Three Asian men were given life sentences for the death of an Afro-Caribbean who was stabbed as he walked home during the Birmingham riots. (Roberts, Genvieve, 05/23/2006, "Three guilty of racist murder during riots," The Independent)


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Information current as of July 16, 2010