Arriving in England as a teenager in 1961, Leighton Rhett Radford ‘Darcus’ Howe was a broadcaster, writer and racial justice activist from Trinidad. Settling in London, Howe arrived in England with the intention of studying law but left Middle Temple after two years to pursue journalism. After a return to Trinidad in 1969, Howe was inspired to combine his journalism with political activism, encouraged by his uncle and mentor C.L.R. James.
Within the following decade, Howe became a member of the British Black Panther Movement, adopting the nickname ‘Darcus’. In the summer of 1970, Howe was an active participant in the protest against police harrassment of the Mangrove restaurant in Notting Hill, of which he was an employee. The restaurant had become a meeting place for Black people, and was hailed by Howe as the ‘headquarters of radical chic.’ Indeed, Frank Crichlow’s restaurant attracted famous Black customers from around the globe including Jimi Hendrix, Nina Simone and Bob Marley. Between January 1969 and July 1970, police raided the Mangrove twelve times, resulting in protests and ultimately a 55-day trial of the ‘Mangrove Nine’ at the Old Bailey in which he represented himself. The landmark case was dramatized as part of Steve McQueen’s 2020 anthology series Small Axe.
Minard Market looks to immortalise Darcus Howe’s impact and legacy through the Howe tee for SS21, featuring artwork of Howe addressing a crowd of protesters for the Mangrove Nine in Notting Hill, 1971.