DR ALTHEIA JONES-LECOINTE & THE MANGROVE NINE
Montegos Black History Lesson:
Dr Jones-LeCointe (born 9 January 1945) is a Trinidadian physician and research scientist also known for her role as a leader of the British Black Panther Movement of the 1960s and 1970s.
She describes her arrival in the UK as more than just a complete shock. The woman who would be labelled by Special Branch as “the brains behind the Black Panther Movement”, and go on to win a groundbreaking legal case against the government, says her move to Britain at the age of 20 was “mind-shattering”.
Swapping Trinidad for 1960s Britain was, she recounts, being transplanted from a “safe, warm place [where] your presence is normal” to a country where racism was so widespread she felt her very humanity was consistently under scrutiny. It was, she remembers, “a mind-boggling experience to recognise that you [aren’t] the person that you thought you were”.
Jones-LeCointe came to public attention in 1970 as one of the nine protestors, known as the Mangrove Nine, arrested and tried on charges that included conspiracy to incite a riot, following a protest against repeated police raids of The Mangrove restaurant in Notting Hill, London.
Their names were Darcus Howe, Frank Crichlow, Rhodan Gordan, Althea Jones-Lacointe, Barbara Beese, Godfrey Miller, Rupert Glasgow Boyce, Anthony Carlisle Innis and Rothwell Kentish. These men and women became known nationally as the 'Mangrove Nine.
They were all acquitted of the most serious charges and the trial became the first judicial acknowledgement of behaviour (the repeated raids) motivated by racial hatred, rather than legitimate crime control, within the Metropolitan Police.
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