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Blacks Britannica

British racism is discussed in the context of the class struggle in this powerful American documentary.

Campaigning film 1978 57 mins Not rated

Director: David Koff


This film, made for American television, has been described as "a harsh, relentless and passionate indictment of the British ruling class." It discusses the history of Black people in Britain since the era of colonialism, which led to mass migration to the UK, through to the 1970s, a time in which the film describes the Black community as being "the new underclass" of the British working class.

Blacks Britannica was commissioned by US public broadcaster WGBH (Boston), as part of its World series. The intention of the weekly series was "to help Americans take off their special American glasses and look at the world through the eyes of others." However, Blacks Britannica generated controversy among WGBH's executives and its transmission was postponed until a re-edited version had been produced. The programme's executive producer, David Fanning, later told Newsweek: "I was concerned with the film's endorsement of a Marxist viewpoint." This is the re-edited version held in the BFI National Archive.