Charlie Sloth

On Air Now 16:00 – 17:45

What happened in 1962

  • ANC leader Nelson Mandela is jailed for 5 years.
  • Martin Luther King is jailed for leading a march in Albany, Georgia.
  • James Meredith becomes the first black student at the University of Mississippi after opposing a ban by the Governor Ross Barnett. The US government has to send in federal troops to protect Meredith but there is still violence ending with two dead, 200 arrested and nearly 80 soldiers and police injured. His determination to make sure his rights were upheld by the law ushered in a new phase for the civil rights movement. He graduates a year later and in 1968 receives a law degree from Columbia University. Read more
  • The Pulitzer Prize winning book, To Kill A Mocking Bird by Harper Lee is made into a film. Set in the Deep South of the 1930s it tells the story of a white lawyer defending a black man accused of raping a white girl. The film won several Oscars and brought attention to the inherent racial problems and social injustice that existed in the South.
  • Negroes With Guns by Robert F. Williams is published while he's in exile in Cuba with his activist wife, Mabel. Their lack of fear and advocacy of using arms for self-defence was ground-breaking. The book recounted their struggles against the Ku Klux Klan and other racists and was hugely influential. Williams is the first to coin the term 'black power' in its political context - although it was popularised by others such as Willie Ricks, an activist with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) who would call it out to crowds when he addressed them.
  • Jamaica attains full independence.
  • Trinidad declares independence.
  • Sir Learie Constantine is knighted (becoming a life peer in '69). Born in Trinidad, Learie was one of the original players of the Calypso cricket style that was such a crowd-pleaser. As well as being an accomplished sportsperson, he was an activist for racial equality after moving to Britain. He sued a hotel for refusing to serve him in 1943 and later helped West Indians find work whilst serving in the Labour government. He co-wrote the book 'Colour Bar' with C.L.R. James, on the subject of race relations and was also a popular broadcaster, eventually appointed to the BBC Board of Governors.

In the music

  • Ray Charles followed up his chart topping I Can't Stop Loving You with top ten hits in the UK You Don't Know Me and Your Cheating Heart. He maintained a presence in the UK charts throughout the 60s with lesser hits such as his cover of the Beatles' tunes Yesterday and Eleanor Rigby.
  • Chubby Checker's version of The Twist reached it's highest UK chart position. But before the novelty of the track wore off a huge dance craze had started. National competitions were held in British dancehalls helped by the follow up Let's Twist Again.
  • Little Richard tours the UK to enthusiastic crowds. Among the groups that supported him were the Rolling Stones and the Beatles. Little Richard played a crucial part in twisting the strong sound of 50's R&B into the electrifying style of rock & roll. Although he was only a hitmaker for a couple of years in the 50s, his influence on the 'British Invasion' stars of the '60s was enormous.
  • Nat King Cole still had a strong presence in the early 60s with nine songs in the top 40 and Ramblin' Rose reaching no. 5 in '62.

Key Releases


Grammy awards

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