Brixton activist features in Black Power movement documentary

A new BBC Two documentary Black Power: A British Story of Resistance takes a look at the British Black Power movement of the 60s and 70s. Lizzie Ward reports

woman makes clenched fist salute
Black Panther member Sonia Reid at a memorial event for Darcus Howe at the Black Cultural Archives in Brixton in 2017

A 90-minute documentary, airing tonight (25 March), explores the movement through the eyes of the young Black people who refused to be silenced by the racial discrimination they faced in the UK.

Among the activists featured in the documentary is Brixton resident Olive Morris, who co-founded the Brixton Black Women’s Group, a pioneering feminist movement for women of colour.

Morris, a Black Panther member, was one of the leaders of the Black community’s fightback against poor housing conditions through her involvement with the squatting movement, which saw her squat 121 Railton Road in Brixton.

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Neil Kenlock, the photographer of the Black Power Movement in the UK at the Black Cultural Archives

The documentary focuses on police treatment of Black people during this time. It features interviews with former Metropolitan police officers, who detail their experiences of policing in Brixton, such as the raids of black house parties that took place in Brixton.

It details the different groups that constituted the movement, such as the British Black Panthers and The Fasimbas, illustrating how the activism of these groups, combined with community and culture, helped fuel hope and resilience for a more inclusive and diverse society.

The documentary involves a series of interviews from activists, many of whom are speaking for the first time about what it was like to be involved in the British Black Power movement.

It also features rare archive footage of Martin Luther King, Malcolm X and Stokely Carmichael’s activities in Britain.

The documentary is a companion film to Small Axe, in which one of the short plays features the Brixton Bard, Alex Wheatle.

Black Power: A British Story of Resistance airs tonight Thursday 25 March, at 9pm on BBC Two and will be available to watch later on BBC iPlayer