Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Request to view at the Prints & Drawings Study Room, level F , Case SP, Shelf 4

Free Darcus Howe Protest

Photograph
08/1977 (photographed)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Photographer Charlie Phillips moved to London from Jamaica in 1956 and began to document life in his local community. His photographs of people and places associated with Notting Hill depict both significant and everyday moments in the area’s history, particularly in relation to its growing black population.

Born in Trinidad in 1943, Darcus Howe became a key figure in black British activism during the 1970s, especially within the Notting Hill community. In 1977 Howe was tried and controversially imprisoned on charges of assault following an altercation at Notting Hill Gate tube station. There was strong support for Howe’s release, including a picket line outside the Royal Courts of Justice. Dub poet Linton Kwesi Johnson, who was involved in the British Black Panther movement with Howe, created the campaign song ‘Man Free (For Darcus Howe)’. The lyrics describe the demonstration: ‘so we step it up the Strand to make our stand, we step it up the Strand to the Courts of Justice.’ Howe’s supporters were successful and he was released after a week in jail.

The V&A acquired ten photographs by Charlie Phillips as part of the Staying Power project. Staying Power is a five year partnership between the V&A and Black Cultural Archives. The project aims to explore black British experience from the 1950s to the 1990s through photographs acquired by the V&A and oral histories conducted by Black Cultural Archives. A photograph by Syd Shelton, which depicts Darcus Howe rallying opposition to a National Front march in Lewisham, was also acquired as part of Staying Power. A photograph of Linton Kwesi Johnson taken by Dennis Morris was acquired as well.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Gelatin silver print
Brief Description
Photograph by Charlie Phillips, 'Free Darcus Howe Protest', gelatin silver print, London, 1977
Physical Description
A black and white photograph of a group of five protestors holding placards standing in a line in front of the Royal Courts of Justice in London. The protestors range in ages, race and gender, including two young children. There is a policeman standing to the right of the protestors with his arms folded. A photographer can also be seen on the right-hand side of the image taking a photograph of the scene. The placards read ‘SELF DEFENCE IS NO OFFENCE FREE DARCUS HOWE’, ‘RENEGADES TRINIDAD SAY “LET IM GO OR ELSE”’ and 'you can't keep a GOOD MAN DOWN' among others.
Dimensions
  • Image size width: 255mm
  • Image size height: 203mm
  • Paper size width: 399mm
  • Paper size height: 302mm
Style
Credit line
Supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.
Object history
The V&A acquired this photograph as part of the Staying Power project. Staying Power is a five year partnership between the V&A and Black Cultural Archives. The project aims to explore black British experience from the 1950s to the 1990s through photographs acquired by the V&A and oral histories conducted by Black Cultural Archives.
Subjects depicted
Place Depicted
Associations
Summary
Photographer Charlie Phillips moved to London from Jamaica in 1956 and began to document life in his local community. His photographs of people and places associated with Notting Hill depict both significant and everyday moments in the area’s history, particularly in relation to its growing black population.



Born in Trinidad in 1943, Darcus Howe became a key figure in black British activism during the 1970s, especially within the Notting Hill community. In 1977 Howe was tried and controversially imprisoned on charges of assault following an altercation at Notting Hill Gate tube station. There was strong support for Howe’s release, including a picket line outside the Royal Courts of Justice. Dub poet Linton Kwesi Johnson, who was involved in the British Black Panther movement with Howe, created the campaign song ‘Man Free (For Darcus Howe)’. The lyrics describe the demonstration: ‘so we step it up the Strand to make our stand, we step it up the Strand to the Courts of Justice.’ Howe’s supporters were successful and he was released after a week in jail.



The V&A acquired ten photographs by Charlie Phillips as part of the Staying Power project. Staying Power is a five year partnership between the V&A and Black Cultural Archives. The project aims to explore black British experience from the 1950s to the 1990s through photographs acquired by the V&A and oral histories conducted by Black Cultural Archives. A photograph by Syd Shelton, which depicts Darcus Howe rallying opposition to a National Front march in Lewisham, was also acquired as part of Staying Power. A photograph of Linton Kwesi Johnson taken by Dennis Morris was acquired as well.
Associated Objects
Bibliographic Reference
Collection
Accession Number
E.265-2011

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record createdJuly 12, 2011
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