Over a year has passed since reports of George Floyd’s death resurfaced outrage, erupting in a new wave of the Black Lives Matter movement sending ripples throughout the United States and further. 40 years ago, London’s Brixton riots fought a similar battle against police brutality and direct segregation.
Featured and written for the IMAGO Zine #2 | ICONS. Get your copy and subscribe to our upcoming issues.
By 1980’s London, the Afro-Caribbean population was facing extreme discrimination as Margaret Thatcher’s government loosened the police search and seizure laws, making it within the law to harrass and search people with little reasonable cause. The predominantly Afro-Caribbean Brixton neighbourhood in London was heavily affected by this police practice and saw massive bouts of violence and confrontations with law enforcement amounting to the Brixton riots of 1981. Riots, not movement. With over 300 injuries and about £7.5 million in damage.
In what was an iconic event in London history, the Black Lives Matter protests today have had an even bigger turnout. Protesting, arguably, the same cause.
It was this same discrimination in policing, decades later, which brought officer Derek Chauvin in Minneapolis, Minnesota to kneel on George Floyd’s neck for nine minutes and 29 seconds, killing him and drawing people once again to the streets in protest. Different countries, decades and governments, yet the fight still continues.
Looking back into the IMAGO archives, both 40 years and 1 year back, we spoke to a photographer documenting the iconic moments which have branded the year of 2020. Impacting the future of this movement and presenting a testament to the power of photography within social change.
This article is featured and written for the IMAGO Zine #2 | ICONS. Get your copy and subscribe to future issues.