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Witness History: Witness Black History
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Witness History: Witness Black History

Author: BBC World Service

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Interviews with people who were there at key moments in black and civil rights history
58 Episodes
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The former West Indies cricketer, Learie Constantine, took the Imperial Hotel in London to court in 1943. It had refused to let him and his family stay because they were black. He won his case. Susan Hulme brings you his story from the BBC Archives.Photo: Sir Learie Constantine and his wife in the 1960s. Credit: Central Press/Hulton Archive/Getty Images.
In 1969 photo journalist Moneta Sleet became the first African American to win a Pulitzer Prize for journalism. He won for the black and white image of Coretta Scott King the widow of Martin Luther King taken at the funeral of the murdered civil rights leader. Farhana Haider has been speaking to Moneta Sleet's son Gregory Sleet about his father's remarkable career capturing many of the images that defined the struggle for racial equality in America.Photo: Moneta Sleet's Pulitzer Prize winning photo of Coretta Scott King and daughter Bernice. Credit. Getty
The First Kwanzaa

The First Kwanzaa

2017-12-2600:09:40

In December 1966, a group of Black activists in Los Angeles created the winter holiday Kwanzaa to try to reclaim their African heritage. It's now celebrated by millions across the US. Lucy Burns speaks to Terri Bandele, who attended the first Kwanzaa celebrations aged 11.Picture: Children at the first Kwanzaa celebration - courtesy of Terri Bandele (on right)
The African-American lab technician, Vivien Thomas, whose surgery helped save the lives of millions of babies but whose work went unrecognised for years. Claire Bowes has been listening to archive recordings of Vivien Thomas describing his long partnership with Dr Alfred Blalock, the man solely credited with inventing an operation in 1944 which helped manage a congenital heart defect called Tetralogy of Fallot. (Photo: Vivien Thomas, US Surgical Technician, 1940)(Audio: Courtesy of US National Library of Medicine)
Notting Hill Race Riot

Notting Hill Race Riot

2017-08-2500:10:371

In August 1958, Britain was shocked by nearly a week of race riots in the west London district of Notting Hill. The clashes between West Indian immigrants and aggressive white youths known as Teddy Boys led to the first race relations campaigns and the creation of the famous Notting Hill Carnival. Simon Watts reports.PHOTO: Police making arrests in Notting Hill in 1958 (Getty Images)
In 1954 the US Supreme Court ruled that the segregation of public schools on the basis of race was unconstitutional. The case was a turning point in the long battle for civil rights in America. Farhana Haider has been speaking to Cheryl Brown Henderson, the youngest daughter of Oliver Brown, who was the named plaintiff in the class action against the local board of education.(Photo African American student Linda Brown, Cheryl Brown Henderson's eldest sister (front, C) sitting in her segregated classroom.Credit: GettyArchive)
In 1951 cells taken from an African American woman suffering from cancer were found to be unique because they carried on reproducing endlessly in the laboratory. Henrietta Lacks died of cervical cancer in 1951. Cultures from her cells have since been used to provide medical breakthroughs but as Farhana Haider reports, Henrietta Lacks was never asked if her cells could be used in medical research. (Photo: Henrietta Lacks. Copyright: Lacks Family)
Roots - The TV Series

Roots - The TV Series

2017-01-1900:08:591

The epic mini-series about slavery in the USA hit TV screens in January 1977. Based on a novel by Alex Haley it imagined the lives of his ancestors who had been brought to the US from Africa on slave ships. It revolutionised perceptions about African-Americans and their history. Ashley Byrne has spoken to Leslie Uggams who played the character Kizzy in the series.(Photo: Actors LeVar Burton, Todd Bridges and Robert Reed in Roots. Credit: Alamy)
In December 1976 unidentified gunmen tried to kill Bob Marley at his home in Kingston, Jamaica. The legendary reggae singer miraculously survived with just light injuries. Mike Lanchin has been hearing from Nancy Burke, one of Marley's friends and neighbours, who was trapped inside the house as the gunmen stormed in, guns blazing.Photo: Bob Marley, 1970s (Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
A Black GI in China

A Black GI in China

2016-11-0100:09:043

In November 1950, Clarence Adams, an African-American soldier fighting in the Korean war, was captured by the Chinese Red Army. He was held in a prisoner of war camp until the war ended. But instead of returning home, Adams and 20 other GIs chose to settle in China. Rob Walker has been speaking to his daughter, Della Adams.(Photo: Clarence Adams and his Chinese wife, Liu Lin Feng, courtesy of the family)
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