Born OTD in 1939, Jamaican singer and record producer, Derrick Harriott. “..Prince Buster in his Cincinnati Reds baseball cap appears next singing ‘Wash Wash’ surrounded by other singers including Derrick Harriott & Carlos Malcolm who steps off his trombone for a few vocals on the mic. The Maytals perform next with ‘Treat Me Bad’..

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

Born OTD in 1945, Jamaican singer-songwriter who became an international musical & cultural icon, Robert Nesta Marley. Blending mostly reggae, ska, & rocksteady in his compositions. Marley started in 1963 with the group The Wailers & forged a distinctive songwriting & vocal style that became popular with audiences worldwide. The Wailers released some of the earliest reggae records with producer Lee “Scratch” Perry.

Diagnosed with a type of malignant melanoma in 1977, Marley died on the 11 May 1981 in Miami at the … More

Born OTD in 1936, Lester Sterling, AKA Lester “Ska” Sterling. Like many Jamaican musicians of his generation, Sterling attended the Alpha Boys School. Originally a trumpeter, he is predominantly known as a player of alto saxophone. Sterling is a founding member of The Skatalites. After The Skatalites originally disbanded in 1965, Sterling played with Byron Lee & the Dragonaires and recorded several solo singles for the London-based producer “Sir” Clancy Collins.

Behind Jamaica’s musical reverberation lies the unlikely story of a boarding school run by Roman Catholic nuns and a brass … More

Born OTD in 1932, Jamaican record producer who was influential in the development of ska and reggae in the 1950s, 60s & beyond. Clement Seymour “Sir Coxsone” Dodd. In 1959 he founded a record company called World Disc. In 1962 he produced the Jazz record “I cover the waterfront” on the Port-O-Jam label, two of the musicians who played on the album, Roland Alphonso & Don Drummond became founding members of the Skatalites one year later. In 1963 he opened Studio One on Brentford Road, Kingston. It was the first black-owned recording studio in Jamaica. He held regular Sunday evening auditions in search of new talent, and it was here that Dodd auditioned Bob Marley, singing as a part of The Wailers.

“The rivalries between the sound systems, especially Prince Buster and Coxsone Dodd, was to produce many records, quite apart from … More

Born OTD in 1944, American political activist, academic, author & a prominent counterculture activist in the 1960s, Angela Y. Davis. The trial of Angela Davis is remembered as one of America’s most historic political trials, & no one can tell the story better than Davis herself. Opening with a letter from James Baldwin to Angela, including contributions from numerous radicals & commentators such as Black Panthers George Jackson, Huey P. Newton, Bobby Seale & Erica Huggins, this book is not only an account of Davis’s incarceration & the struggles surrounding it, but also perhaps the most comprehensive & thorough analysis of the prison system of the United States & the figure embodied in Davis’s arrest and imprisonment-the political prisoner.

Since the book was written, the carceral system in the US has grown from strength to strength, with more of … More

Born OTD in 1929, Martin Luther King Jr. MLK was an American Baptist minister and activist who became the most visible spokesperson and leader in the civil rights movement. MLK was arrested and jailed early in the campaign – his 13th arrest out of 29. From his cell, he composed the now-famous Letter from Birmingham Jail that responds to calls on the movement to pursue legal channels for social change.

“I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not … More

Born OTD in 1931, saxophonist and founding member of The Skatalites, Roland Alphonso. “..Coxsone maintains that his first-ever commercially minded session, with a band led by saxophone colossus Roland Alphonso, disappeared somewhere between the mastering rooms in New York and Kingston harbour”.

The first major account of the history of reggae, black music journalist Lloyd Bradley describes its origins and development in … More

Otis Redding remains a living presence in the canon of American popular music on the strength of such classic hits… As a singer, songwriter, bandleader, and arranger, Redding was the chief architect of the distinctly southern, gospel-inflected style of rhythm & blues associated with Stax Records in Memphis…

Yet, while Redding’s music has long served as the gold standard of 1960s soul, an aura of myth and mystery … More

Born OTD in 1901, Cyril Lionel Robert James, was a Trinidadian historian, journalist, socialist & widely known as a writer on cricket. His works are influential in various theoretical, social, and historiographical contexts. His work is a staple of subaltern studies, and he figures as a pioneering and influential voice in postcolonial literature.

C.L.R. James is one of the twentieth century’s most remarkable individuals. As the author of the influential book The Black … More

OTD in 1853, after having been kidnapped and sold into slavery in the American South, Solomon Northup regains his freedom; his memoir Twelve Years a Slave later becomes a national bestseller. The shocking first-hand account of one man’s remarkable fight for freedom. `Why had I not died in my young years – before God had given me children to love & live for? What unhappiness & suffering & sorrow it would have prevented. I sighed for liberty; but the bondsman’s chain was round me, & could not be shaken off.’ 1841: Solomon Northup is a successful violinist when he is kidnapped & sold into slavery.

Taken from his family in New York State – with no hope of ever seeing them again – and forced … More