Michael X and the British war on black power

In 1965, Michael de Freitas – a man described as an unprincipled hustler – reinvented himself as Michael X, a charismatic revolutionary. Robin Bunce and Paul Field investigate what role Michael played in the struggle for black liberation in Britain...

Michael X, (right, foreground) black power advocate, in Hyde Park. (Photo by Terence Spencer/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)

This article was first published in the October 2017 issue of BBC History Magazine.

Michael X, hailed by the media as the leader of Black Power in Britain, first came to public attention during the visit of his far more famous American counterpart, Malcolm X, to Britain in 1965. After a chance meeting, Michael became Malcolm’s guide, showing him around London’s ghetto.

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