Blue plaque for Darcus Howe on Brixton’s Railton Road

Portrait of man
Darcus Howe

One of Brixton’s biggest and most significant characters, Darcus Howe, will be honoured by the unveiling of a blue plaque on Railton Road next Tuesday (4 January).

It will join an existing plaque marking the time that the great revolutionary, writer and historian CLR James spent in Brixton.

Both are on the building at 167 Railton Road that currently houses the Brixton Advice Centre and was previously home to the groundbreaking Race Today Collective.

The advice centre announced recently that it plans to leave the building.

CLR James’ birthday also falls on 4 January.

CLR James and Darcus Howe working in the Railton Road building

Darcus Howe, who died in 2017, was a Black British civil rights leader, writer, history maker, and co-founder of the Race Today Collective.

The plaque that honours him is one of a number created by the Nubian Jak Foundation, which works with English Heritage.

It is sponsored by Black History Walks.

Darcus Howe was a key figure in many major movements, including the Black Panthers, the Mangrove 9, Bangladeshi housing, the Black Peoples Day of Action, and the Brixton Uprisings.

He changed the face of British TV with the Bandung File and Devil’s Advocate, and the course of British publishing with the Race Today Collective.

Between 1973 and 1988, Race Today was at the centre of the struggle for racial justice in Britain, highlighting the impact campaigning journalism can have.

Crowd at open air meeting
The crowd at a memorial event for Darcus Howe at the Black Cultural Archives spilled into Windrush Square

“With the struggle against police racism and brutality currently happening across the world, it is vital that young activists learn about the recent history of Black radicalism in Britain, including the Black radical press, in order to harness the revolutionary potential of the media in the fight for racial justice,” Black History Walks said in a statement.

Race Today and its collective of writers fought police brutality, challenged racist institutions and, by linking the experiences of Black communities in Britain with other struggles revealed the interconnectedness of exploitation on the basis of race, sex and class, the statement said,

Race Today, edited Darcus Howe and, from 1985, his wife Leila Hassan, was a central voice for the anti-racist Black community in London.

An article by Bryan Knight in Novara Media details the importance and influence of Race Today.

The unveiling of the plaque will be both a public and online event, with exact timings and contributions dependent on the regulations in force at the time. It is planned to take place between midday and 1.30pm.

Flowers outside a shopfront
Flowers for Darcus Howe at Brixton Advice Centre on Railton Road

It is expected that a DJ will play some of Darcus’ favourite music and that the will be short addresses from Leila Hassan-Howe, Tamara Howe, Nubian Jak, Patrick Tornsey from the advice centre and others. 

Black History Walks has a collection of lectures on Darcus Howe.

Register for information and updates on Eventbrite.

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