63 episodes

Interviews with people who were there at key moments in black and civil rights history

Witness History: Witness Black History BBC World Service

    • History
    • 4.6 • 84 Ratings

Interviews with people who were there at key moments in black and civil rights history

    'I just wanted to be white'

    'I just wanted to be white'

    In the immediate aftermath of World War Two, thousands of children were born to white German women and black American soldiers who were stationed in Allied-occupied Germany. The mixed-race infants were viewed with contempt by many Germans and endured constant abuse and racism. Black activist and author Ika Hügel-Marshall was one of the so-called "occupation babies". She tells Mike Lanchin about the painful struggle to discover her own identity as a result of the racism she experienced growing up black in post-war Germany.

    Photo: Ika as a young girl (Courtesy of Ika Hügel-Marshall)

    • 10 min
    Nasa's pioneering black women

    Nasa's pioneering black women

    Usually it is the names of astronauts that people remember about the space race. But less celebrated are the teams of people working on how to put a rocket into orbit. Only in recent years have stories come to light of the contributions of the black women involved.

    Many were recruited as 'computers', meaning that they carried out complex mathematical calculations by hand, before machines were invented that could do the job. Christine Darden started her career in the computer pool, helping the engineers work out the trajectories needed to bring the Apollo Capsule back to Earth. Finally, she broke through the hidden barriers facing women at the time, gaining a promotion to engineer.

    (Photo: Dr Christine Darden at a desk in Nasa's Langley Research Center, 1973. Credit: Bob Nye/Nasa/Getty Images)

    • 8 min
    Viv Anderson - first black England footballer

    Viv Anderson - first black England footballer

    In November 1978, Viv Anderson became the first black footballer to play a full England international. The son of Jamaican immigrants, Anderson had to endure racial abuse from opposing fans to achieve his dream of reaching the very top of the professional game. He went on to win the European Cup twice with Nottingham Forest and to become Sir Alex Ferguson’s first signing at Manchester United. Viv Anderson talks to Rebecca Kesby.

    PHOTO: Viv Anderson on his England debut (Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

    • 12 min
    The Battle of Lewisham

    The Battle of Lewisham

    In August 1977, the racist National Front organisation planned to stage a march into Lewisham in South London at a time of high racial tension in the area. The National Front activists were met by a huge counter-demonstration organised by anti-racist campaigners – in the clashes that followed, hundreds of people were arrested and injured before the National Front were forced to withdraw. The so-called Battle of Lewisham is now seen as having halted the rise of the far-right in British politics. Nacheal Catnott talks to Lez Henry, who grew up in Lewisham and witnessed the unrest. Produced by Eleanor Biggs.

    PHOTO: A police officer attempts to restore order in Lewisham in 1977 (Getty Images)

    • 10 min
    When Nelson Mandela went to Detroit

    When Nelson Mandela went to Detroit

    Just months after his release from prison in 1990 the South African freedom fighter Nelson Mandela toured the USA. One of the eight cities he went to visit was Detroit. Benita Barden has been speaking to Reverend Wendell Anthony who was one of the people who welcomed him to the city.

    Photo: Nelson Mandela and Rev Wendell Anthony in 1990. Courtesy of Rev Wendell Anthony.

    • 8 min
    The unlawful death of Christopher Alder

    The unlawful death of Christopher Alder

    The black former soldier choked to death in handcuffs on the floor of a British police station in 1998. CCTV footage taken from the police station showed the 37 year-old father of two gasping for air as officers chatted and joked around him. It took 11 minutes for him to stop breathing. An inquest found he was unlawfully killed but no-one has been held accountable for his death. Farhana Haider speaks to Janet Alder about her long fight to get justice for her brother.

    Photo:Christopher Alder an ex paratrooper who died in a police station in Hull on 1 April 1998. Credit Alder family hand out.

    • 13 min

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5
84 Ratings

84 Ratings

Apalindromea ,

Excellent

A wonderful introduction into important events. Always with an eyewitness account.

Contraryan ,

Excellent coverage

Excellent coverage of events that deserve more attention than they get. At 10 minutes or so, a good length.

JAZZZ LOVER ,

Wow!!!

Please keep them coming! Absolutely love the content and delivery.

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