Born OTD in 1928, Lennie Hibbert. A Jamaican musician who was bandmaster at the Alpha Boy’s School. Lennie worked as a live musician in jazz groups in the 1960s, and frequently worked with the Sound Dimension band, recording some of the best-known riddims for Clement “Coxsone” Dodd.

In 1976 Lennie was awarded the Order of Distinction (O.D.) for his contribution to music on the island and for … More

When Jamaica became independent on August 6, 1962, ska music was playing in yards, dancehalls, and in recording studios as this new nation celebrated. It was a spirited music, full of promise, optimism, and energy and it was the perfect sound to showcase to the world. Now that Jamaica was independent, what better way to demonstrate the culture, beauty, and art of Jamaica than through ska, both as a music and as a dance. The Jamaican government, tourist and business industry, and newly developing music industry made it their mission to bring Jamaican music to the world, through events they termed Operation Jump Up. This is the story of that effort and how, for a brief time, ska rivaled the Beatles and the Twist.

Operation Jump Up is the culmination of four years of research. The detailed historical narrative features dozens of interviews with … More

A leading new exploration of the Windrush generation featuring David Lammy, Lenny Henry, Corinne Bailey Rae, Sharmaine Lovegrove, Hannah Lowe, Jamz Supernova, Natasha Gordon and Rikki Beadle-Blair. For the pioneers of the Windrush generation, Britain was ‘the Mother Country’. They made the long journey across the sea, expecting to find a place where they would be be welcomed with open arms; a land in which you were free to build a new life, eight thousand miles away from home.

This remarkable book explores the reality of their experiences, and those of their children and grandchildren, through 22 unique real-life … More

Formed OTD in 1966, The Black Panther Party for Self Defence, by Bobby Seale & Huey Newton. The Black Panther Party instituted a variety of community social programs, most extensively the Free Breakfast for Children Programs, and community health clinics to address issues like food injustice.

The late 1960s, when the Panthers captured the imagination of the nation’s youth, was a time of regulation. While their … More

Born OTD in 1952, American author, feminist & social activist, bell hooks. In this classic study, cultural critic bell hooks examines how black women, from the seventeenth century to the present day, were and are oppressed by both white men and black men and by white women. Illustrating her analysis with moving personal accounts, Ain’t I a Woman is deeply critical of the racism inherent in the thought of many middle-class white feminists who have failed to address issues of race and class.

While acknowledging the conflict of loyalty to race or sex is still a dilemma, hooks challenges the view that race … More

Born #OTD in 1952, the Jamaican dub poet, Linton Kwesi Johnson. A cultural icon for black British artists since the 1970s, Linton Kwesi Johnson is known as a performer and recording artist as much as a writer, for poetry that blends the bass and rhythm of reggae music with his deep spoken voice.

  A selection of Linton Kwesi Johnson’s best poems over three decades. Ranging from protests against police brutality to eulogies … More

Born OTD, Jamaican activist Marcus Garvey, organized the Universal Negro Improvement Association in Harlem in 1917. By the early 1920s, his program of African liberation and racial uplift had attracted millions of supporters, both in the United States and abroad. The Age of Garvey presents an expansive global history of the movement that came to be known as Garveyism.

Offering a groundbreaking new interpretation of global black politics between the First and Second World Wars, Adam Ewing charts Garveyism’s … More

Born in Birmingham in 1958, Zephaniah grew up in Jamaica and in Handsworth, where he was sent to an approved school for uncontrollable, rebellious and ‘a born failure’, ending up in jail for burglary. After prison, he turned from crime to music and poetry: ‘I started writing poetry because I didn’t like poetry.’

As a reggae DJ in Handsworth, he refused to mimic other toasters with their chants about Jamaican life, instead turning … More

The story of Stax Records unfolds like a Greek tragedy. A white brother & sister build a record company that becomes a monument to racial harmony in 1960’s segregated south Memphis. Their success is startling, & Stax soon defines an international sound. Then, after losses both business & personal, the siblings part, & the brother allies with a visionary African-American partner.

Under integrated leadership, Stax explodes as a national player until, Icarus-like, they fall from great heights to a tragic demise. … More