Writer, broadcaster and activist Darcus Howe has died at the age of 74.
Darcus was born on 26 February 1943 in Trinidad, where his father was a vicar and his mother a teacher. In 1961 he came to the United Kingdom where he campaigned for black rights for more than 50 years. He made his name in the British Black Panthers, and as editor of Race Today constantly challenged racism in politics and the police. In print and on screen, he gained a reputation as an eloquent and frequently provocative speaker, presenting hard-hitting current affairs programmes such as The Devil’s Advocate.
A participant in Notting Hill Carnival from its earliest days on the road, Darcus became its chair. He was one of the ‘Mangrove Nine’ arrested on 9 August 1970 when a huge force of police stormed a peaceful protest march against harassment. At the subsequent trial at the Old Bailey, Darcus defended himself and was acquitted of the charge of riot. Howe and his fellow defendants effectively turned the tables, putting the Met’s unethical tactics in the dock.
His death was confirmed by his biographer Robin Bruce, who said Mr Howe “died peacefully in his sleep” at his Streatham home on Saturday 1 April. His wife Leila Hassan confirmed the news. More details on the Mangrove Nine trial can be found here: socanews.com/news/remembering-the-mangrove-nine. A film telling the story of the Mangrove Nine is reported to be in preparation.