Darcus Howe was a towering figure both in Britain and internationally. Possessed of a sonorous voice and sharp intellect, he edited the journal Race Today and remained deeply committed to race equality and social justice right up until his death in 2018. The Mangrove Nine Case that he was centrally involved in features in the forthcoming BBC series Small Axe, directed by Oscar winner Steve McQueen. Socialist Review spoke to Leila Hassan, who succeeded Darcus as Race Today’s editor in 1985, and writer and broadcaster Farrukh Dhondy, about the work of the Race Today Collective and what the Darcus Howe Legacy initiative can offer the movements of today.
SR: What are the origins of Race Today?
Race Today began as the house journal of the Institute of Race Relations (IRR) and had been edited Peter Watson. The IRR was originally funded by companies such as Booker Brother and Lonrho, which had investments in former colonial territories. After a “palace revolution” its council was replaced by more liberal and radical people. The Rev Kirby became editor under the organisation of Towards Racial Justice and funded by the World Council of Churches.