Charlie Sloth

On Air Now 16:00 – 17:45

What happened in 1967

  • Biafra breaks away from Nigeria. Previously the Eastern Region of Nigeria, it's made up of mainly Igbo, or Ibo, people. They had previously lived in the Northern region but were subjected to a massacre by the Hausa and left for the east. After two years of fighting with Nigeria, Biafra becomes the subject for international concern in '69 as millions face starvation.
  • Another year of race riots in the US - Boston, Newark and Detroit.
  • In the UK a porter dies during a student protest against Walter Adams, the new head of the London School of Economics because of his links with Ian Smith's racist regime in Rhodesia.
  • Tony O'Connor becomes Britain's first black headmaster.
  • BBC1 TV: Rainbow City, six-part drama series starring Errol John as John Steele, a Jamaican lawyer living and working in a multi-racial community in Birmingham. This was the first drama series to give a leading role to a black actor.
  • E.R. Braithwaite's novel To Sir, With Love about his experiences as a teacher in the East End of London gets made into a film with Sidney Poitier. A renowned writer, lecturer and a representative for the UN, Braithwaite was born in Guyana. It was his London teaching and social work (finding foster homes for non-white kids) that provided him with the material for his eloquent and moving stories about race and class in Britain.
  • In the Heat of the Night was another film starring Sidney Poitier, this time as a detective asked to investigate a murder in a racist southern town. The film's subject matter and the fact it starred a non-white actor was so controversial that it couldn't be filmed in the Deep South. It won several Oscars.
  • Naomi Sims appears on the cover of the New York Times fashion supplement. With her dark skin and black features she was one of the models that heralded the era of 'black is beautiful'. By '69 she was on the cover of Life magazine for the article, 'Black models take centre stage'.
  • The lawyers, Walter E. Washington and Thurgood Marshall became the first Black mayor of a major American city, Washington, D.C. and the first black associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court respectively.

In the music

  • One of the most beloved and significant jazz musicians dies, aged 40 from liver cancer. John Coltrane's profoundly innovative and spiritual saxophone-playing not only won him generations of fans and two posthumous Grammys, but also inspired Bishop Franzo King to build the Saint John Coltrane African Orthodox Church in San Francisco.
  • Tamla Motown stalwarts the Four Tops had top ten hits with Standing in the Shadows of Love, Bernadette, Seven Rooms of Gloom and Walk Away Renee.
  • Aretha Franklin makes it into the UK charts with Baby I Love You, Chain of Fools, a version of the Stones' (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction and Respect which gets to no. 10.
  • Otis Redding brings the house down with Try A Little Tenderness at the Monterey Pop Festival in June. Tragically, Redding dies aged just 26 in a plane crash six months later.
  • The Monterey Pop Festival (California) is considered the first major music festival and a blueprint for Woodstock (see '69). Redding, Lou Rawls and Hugh Masekela play alongside artists like Janis Joplin and The Who.
  • It heralds the 'Summer of Love' - a fruition of the hippie philosophy which believed in peace, love, equality and respect, was devoid of racism and did impact on some of the black youth. An infamous and incredibly talented icon of hippie culture who made his American debut at the festival was Jimi Hendrix. The film of the gig captures Hendrix's iconic burning and smashing of his guitar.
  • Back in the UK the rocksteady beat of 007 (Shanty Town) was taken on by the British mod movement as an anthem. When the Jamaican rude boy star, Desmond Dekker, visited England after the song's success he was surprised by his following. By '69 he'd be the first Jamaican to have a no.1 in Britain.

Key Releases


Grammy awards

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