This Fire Ignited Resistance To Police Brutality

1981 Brixton Riots
Leslie Taylor-Grover
October 28, 2020

Everyone was excited about the birthday party. As the partygoers filled the house for a night of fun, they had no idea the terror that was awaiting them that fateful night in 1981.

As a group of 14 innocent Black teens celebrated, something evil lurked in the shadows, waiting to steal their lives. Quietly, an unidentified racist set fire to the house, seeking to murder the partygoers!

Did the teens survive?

Tragically, every single teen was scorched alive. The police, aware of the incident, did not take the incident seriously.

They ignored eye witness accounts of a white assailant. As a final insult to Black parents, they blamed the teens for setting the fire themselves!

After entreating the police to treat the deaths of their children more seriously, bereaved parents organized a protest. Over 20,000 protesters marched for hours, demanding justice. Of course, the police retaliated, arresting Black community members, and harassing Black teens. How did it all end?

It hasn’t. The murderer was NEVER FOUND. But the protests inspired Black communities to rise up against police brutality and racism. The legacy of that fire continues to inspire activism today. 

Our people deserve justice and equal treatment, and it will only happen if we continue our fight for it.

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