Updated: Mar 28, 2022
One of Britain's most influential Black Power trial - The Mangrove Nine
The London police and the British Home Office orchestrated the arrest and trial of nine Black leaders in 1970 to discredit London’s growing Black Power movement. Trinidad-born community activist, Frank Crichlow owned the Mangrove restaurant which was subjected to an onslaught of police harassment. The heart of the Caribbean community, the Mangrove was also popular with celebrities.
The police raided the restaurant 12 times between Jan 1969 and July 1970, looking for drugs, of which they never found. In response to this intense police harassment, Frank Crichlow filed a complaint to the Race Relations Board accusing the police of racial discrimination. Darcus Howe an employee and a Trinidad-born Black Power activist, encouraged Crichlow to work with the British Black Panthers (BBP) in London to organise a demonstration against the police harassment.
On August 9, 1970, 150 protesters marched to local police stations and were met by 200 police. Nine protest leaders were arrested and charged with incitement to riot: Crichlow; Howe, Althea Jones-Lecointe; Barbara Beese; Rupert Boyce; Rhodan Gordon; Anthony Innis; Rothwell Kentish; and Godfrey Millett.
The 55 day trail described police persecution of Notting Hill's Black community. Darkus Howe and Jones-LeCointe defended themselves, and there was a demand for the trial to be heard by an all-Black jury - which was rejected.
All were cleared of the main charge of inciting a riot. The Mangrove Nine gathered broad public support for the fight against police racism in Britain and showed that the fight for racial justice could be won.