Darcus Howe, writer, broadcaster and activist, dies at 74

Darcus Howe

Trinidad-born writer, broadcaster, and civil rights campaigner  Darcus Howe died in England on Saturday. He was 74.

Howe who lived in Brixton, south London, for more than 30 years, started his journalism career with the magazine Race Today, where he was editor for 11 years. He wrote for a wide range of newspapers and had a regular column in the left-wing New Statesman magazine.

He began his broadcasting career in the 1980s, presenting shows for the BBC, LWT and Channel 4 and was well known for his television series Black on Black and late-night current affairs programme The Devil’s Advocate. His television work also included the multicultural current affairs documentary The Bandung File, which he co-edited with Tariq Ali, and more recently White Tribe, a look at modern Britain.

Howe who served as chairman of the Notting Hill carnival, was a member of the British Black Panther movement and one of the “Mangrove Nine”, who were arrested and charged after protesting against repeated police raids on the Caribbean restaurant Mangrove in Notting Hill, west London, in 1970. At his trial, he successfully defended himself against charges of riot and affray.

In 1981, he organised a 20,000-strong “Black People’s March” in protest over the police handling of the investigation into the New Cross fire in which 13 black teenagers died.

The son of an Anglican priest, Howe first came to the United Kingdom when he was 18 years of age. He had  planned to become a lawyer but instead found his calling as a journalist and activist.