Wales' Forgotten Race Riots

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2019061320190614 (RW)
20190616 (RW)

Exactly a century ago Butetown in Cardiff was the focus of a vicious outbreak of racial violence on a scale never before seen in Britain. Thousands of rioters took to the streets and there were gun battles and knife attacks. Men and women were dragged from their homes and beaten. Hundreds were injured in Newport, Barry and Cardiff and four people were killed.

Mo Jannah lives in Butetown in Cardiff, the focus of the 1919 riots, and is a descendent of African immigrants. He investigates how in the wake of the First World War, an economic crisis unleashed prejudice, discrimination and conflict in ports across Britain. As demobilised soldiers returned from the War, they faced unemployment and a severe housing shortage and rioters turned on the immigrants in ports across Britain. "We went to France," one rioter told the South Wales Echo, "and came back to find these foreigners have got our jobs and houses. We've got to get rid of them."

For two weeks in June 1919 the men of Butetown defended the community whilst the women and children barricaded themselves in their homes. Leslie Clark tells how in June 1919 her mother, grandmother and grandfather were attacked and their home was ransacked. And Gaynor Legall, whose family have lived in Butetown for 4 generations recalls how she grew up listening to stories of the riots from her grandmother.

Mo Jannah explores the racism and discrimination of 1919 and ask if there are any parallels with a rise in racism today.

Mo Jannah discovers how racial violence shook Cardiff a century ago

Mo Jannah is immersed in the community of Butetown in Cardiff, the focus of the 1919 riots, and is a descendent of African immigrants. He investigates how in the wake of the First World War, an economic crisis unleashed prejudice, discrimination and conflict in ports across Britain. As demobilised soldiers returned from the War, they faced unemployment and a severe housing shortage and rioters turned on the immigrants in ports across Britain. "We went to France," one rioter told the South Wales Echo, "and came back to find these foreigners have got our jobs and houses. We've got to get rid of them."

For two weeks in June 1919 the men of Butetown defended the community whilst the women and children barricaded themselves in their homes. Leslie Clarke tells how in June 1919 her mother, grandmother and grandfather were attacked and their home was ransacked. And Gaynor Legall, whose family have lived in Butetown for 4 generations recalls how she grew up listening to stories of the riots from her grandmother.

Mo Jannah explores the racism and discrimination of 1919 and ask if there are any parallels with a rise in racism today.