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Who were the Mangrove Nine and what did they do? True story of Letitia Wright and Steve McQueen film

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Steve McQueen’s new movie Mangrove, starring Letitia Wright, is bound to be a poignant watch, even more so after the Black Lives Matter protests earlier this year.

Inspired by the Mangrove Nine, the BBC film, which is part of anthology directed by McQueen, opened the London Film Festival this year, and follows the protests and the momentous trial that happened afterwards.

Letitia stars alongside the likes of Shaun Parker, Malachi Kirby, Rochenda Sandall, and Gershwyn Eustache Jnr as the activists who have gone down in history.

Who were the Mangrove Nine?

Mangrove Nine

The Mangrove Nine organised protests in 1970 (Picture: National Archive)

The Mangrove Nine were a group of Black British activists – Barbara Beese, Rupert Boyce, Frank Chichlow, Rhodan Gordon, Darcus Howe, Anthony Innis, Altheia Jones-LeCointe, Rothwell Kentish, and Godfrey Millett.

They got their name from the Mangrove Restaurant in London’s Notting Hill, which was being unfairly targeted by the Metropolitan Police.

The protests and the trials that followed have gone down in history and inspired other civil rights activists seeking to take on the legal establishment.

What happened?

Mangrove Nine

The protests and trial have gone down in history (Picture: Getty Images)

In 1970, the Mangrove Nine began protests after the London Police targeted the Mangrove Restaurant, which was a meeting place for the Black community.

It was continually raided, on grounds of drug possession, although no drugs were found.

A protest was organised, which saw 150 people march to the police station, before a series of arrests were made.

The case was thrown out, before the charges were reinstated, and the Mangrove Nine were re-arrested.

After a trial that lasted 55 days, the Nine were acquitted of the most serious charges, and the trial became the first judicial acknowledgement of behaviour motivated by racial hatred within the Metropolitan Police.

What is the film set to show?

Letitia Wright

The film stars Letitia Wright (Picture: BBC)

McQueen’s film is the second big film based on the protests and trial, following The Mangrove Nine in 1973.

According to IMDB, ‘Mangrove centers on Frank Crichlow (Shaun Parkes), the owner of Notting Hill’s Caribbean restaurant, Mangrove, a lively community base for locals, intellectuals and activists. In a reign of racist terror, the local police raid Mangrove time after time, making Frank and the local community take to the streets in peaceful protest in 1970.

‘When nine men and women, including Frank and leader of the British Black Panther Movement Altheia Jones-LeCointe (Letitia Wright), and activist Darcus Howe (Malachi Kirby), are wrongly arrested and charged with incitement to riot, a highly publicized trial ensues, leading to hard-fought win for those fighting against discrimination.’

What have the cast and director said about it?

Director Steve previously opened up to The Guardian about the film, explaining: ‘You know what’s interesting is that this is important British history, not just black history or West Indian history – this is important English-British history.’

Line of Duty star Rochenda added: ‘It should be part of the curriculum. The only way forward is getting a 360-degree view of everyone’s history in this country. It has been whitewashed for too long.’

Mangrove will be available to stream on BBC iPlayer on November 15.

Got a story?

If you’ve got a celebrity story, video or pictures get in touch with the entertainment team by emailing us, calling 020 3615 2145 or by visiting our Submit Stuff page – we’d love to hear from you.

MORE: Letitia Wright serves looks as she joins Steve McQueen at socially distant Mangrove premiere

MORE: What to look forward to at London Film Festival 2020 – Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan’s Ammonite to Letitia Wright’s Mangrove

Credit: Original article published here.

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