What is Black History Month?
1st October marks the beginning of Black History Month here in the UK.
It’s a time to celebrate the incredible contributions and achievements of black people throughout history.
The event was launched in the 1980’s as a tool to challenge racism in local communities and educate people on such an important area of British History.
To celebrate at X1, we’ll be shining a spotlight each week historical figures from cities that are close to our hearts ?
Len Johnson 1902 – 1974
Who was he?
Len Johnson was born in Manchester in 1902, and started a professional boxing career at the age of 20. He proved to be extremely talented at his sport and defeated some of the very best ?
Obstacles along the way.
At this time, the British Board of Boxing Control banned black boxers. Len Johnson was never allowed to compete for British titles because of the colour of his skin.
Len retired and once World War II started, he worked in the Civil Defence and later as a bus driver and a lorry driver.
What did he do next?
Len began a political career and joined the Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB). He stood for the Moss Side ward seat 6 times between 1947 and 1962.
In 1945 he attended the Pan-African Congress, a meeting which created the foundation for anti-colonial movements in the British Empire.
He then helped set up the New International Society, which was a significant organisation who campaigned against racial discrimination in the US, South Africa and British colonies.
Len Johnson passed away in 1974 due to ongoing ill-health.