Churchill and Black Africa

Roland Quinault examines the career, speeches and writings of Churchill for evidence as to whether or not he was racist and patronizing to black peoples.

The fourtieth anniversary of the death of Winston Churchill attracted much attention earlier this year. But a discordant note was sounded by the president of South Africa, Thabo Mbeke, who has alleged that Churchill's attitude towards black peoples was racist and patronizing. His view has been shared by some white critics of Churchill like Clive Ponting. Even some historians otherwise sympathetic to Churchill have concluded that he was blind to the problems of black people. But Churchill's attitude was more complex and, in some ways, more sympathetic than has generally been recognized.

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