Source Eight

Extract from an article entitled ‘Why I’ll fight the heavy mob’, the ‘Post Mercury’, 17 December, 1971. Catalogue ref: MEPO 31/21 


Frank Pulley had ‘infested the minds of his police superiors,’ Radford [Darcus] Howe told the Old Bailey jury this week. And his lies had plunged them into an abyss from which there was no return.


In the second ‘blockbuster’ defence closing speech, Howe, a writer and lecturer, of Portobello Road, Notting Hill, said that the Trial of the Mangrove Nine had captured “a small area of a historical moment.” 


Conducting his own defence from the outset of the trial, Howe told the jury on DAY FORTY-SEVEN: I believe this case has opened issues, has seared the consciences of black people, to such an extent that history could not be written without it. Standing, he said, ‘black and proud’ in the dock, dressed all in black and punctuating his three-hour speech with emphatic gestures, Howe told the jury he made no apology for keeping them for ten weeks. ‘You are fortunate in taking part in a historical moment,’ he said. 


Howe said like Rhodan Gordon, who had spoken earlier, he did not care if he was sent to prison. 


‘I don’t care because history is on my side. If they put me in prison, they do not take away my liberty but reduce the little liberty I have.’ 


« Return to Mangrove Nine protest


  • Can you find the quote that suggests Howe believes Officer Frank Pulley lied about what had happened at the protest? 
  • How does the newspaper article portrays Howe at the trial?  
  • Why does Howe think that the Mangrove protest and trial is a ‘historical moment.’? 
  • Does Howe think that the police have given an honest account of the protest? 
  • What does Howe mean when he says: ‘If they put me in prison, they do not take away my liberty but reduce the little liberty I have.’?