London, 1958: As violent race riots ravage the country, Claudia Jones, a Trinidad-born communist, and deportee from the US, comes up with an ingenious plan to unite Black and white: a fancy dress party that will become the largest street festival in the world.
In 1955 Claudia Jones, a high-ranking operative of the Communist Party, is jailed and deported to England for “attempting to overthrow the US government.” She arrives in London ill, penniless and alone. Rejected by the Communist Party of Great Britain, she finds a home in the fledgling West Indian community under siege. Gradually, Claudia turns her formidable community organizing skills to helping them combat rising post-war racism. As race riots erupt across the country, she steps easily into a leadership role, and organizes a West Indian fancy dress Carnival, — the precursor to today’s Notting Hill Carnival – to bring together revellers across racial lines in peaceful celebration of Black culture. When Kelso Cochrane, a young carpenter, is murdered by a racist mob, Claudia calls on the community she has ignited. More than 1,200 mourners take to the streets to march in his funeral procession — a defining moment in British history.