Colin Grant, a writer, historian, and BBC radio producer, is the author of several books, including Negro with a Hat: The Rise and Fall of Marcus Garvey and His Dream of Mother Africa (2008) and the novel Bageye at the Wheel (2012). (April 2018)

Follow Colin Grant on Twitter: @colincraiggrant.

NYR DAILY

1968: Enoch, Bageye, and Me

Graffiti expressing support for Enoch Powell after his inflammatory anti-immigration speech of April 20, 1968

My father felt that the British, with their faux politeness—polite to the point of rudeness—were hypocrites. “Give the American what him due,” Bageye would say approvingly, “not like the Englishman, he will tell you to your face how much he hate you.” But then, on April 20, 1968, just before my seventh birthday, a stern politician from the upper echelons of British society named Enoch Powell delivered with extraordinary intensity an anti-immigration speech that shocked the nation by articulating what the black population had suspected all along: we were feared and despised.