To honour Black History Month, throughout October Fawcett will be celebrating the work of some incredible Black women in the UK. From politicians to activists to women working on the front line of Coronavirus, these women are doing amazing things in 2020. Watch the videos to learn more about the work of these women, their proudest achievements and their journeys.
Celebrated annually in October
To promote and celebrate Black history, we've created a list of quotes, blogs, videos, books, podcasts, resources, profiles, and events that we hope will get you thinking, help you learn more, and start conversations.
Almost all of the items listed below are freely available online or from Warwick’s library (where this is not the case, this has been indicated).
This year we've also created a BHM calendar which lists one item each day, as a suggestion for reading, listening, and learning for the month (this link is to a PDF, you can also find a word version of the calendar here ).
Even when it's no longer Black History Month, it’s important to remember that Black history shouldn’t just be celebrated for only one month of the year, which is why we have this information available all year round.
Please find below all of the content we have collated, so you can read/watch/listen to the materials in October and beyond:
If you want to learn more about Black History Month and can't find what you need here, contact us and let us know.
Akala (March 2015) Sometimes, Knowledge is Power 2 “Inspiration is the strangest thing, How it travels one spirit to another, transforms how we think”.
For more music, have a look at this blog 30 British Black Music Albums To Mark African History Month @ 30 and this Spotify playlist Black Britain: Windrush Generation (based on the sounds made by, influenced and inspired by the Windrush generation and their descendants). For more from Akala, have a look at Akala (2018) Natives: Race and Class in the Ruins of Empire.
Kimberlé Crenshaw (June 2017) “Intersectionality is a lens through which you can see where power comes and collides, where it interlocks and intersects. It’s not simply that there’s a race problem here, a gender problem here, and a class or LBGTQ problem there. Many times that framework erases what happens to people who are subject to all of these things”.
A civil rights activist and academic specialising in race and gender issues, Kimberlé Crenshaw is best known for coining the term ‘intersectionality’, defined in the quote above. And if you want to hear more from her on this topic, watch this TED Talk Kimberlé Crenshaw (October 2016) The Urgency of Intersectionality.
Lilla Watson, Queensland Aboriginal Activists Group “If you have come here to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together”.
Artist, academic, and activist, Lilla Watson is cited as the source for this quote, which she is reported to have said reflects the collective belief of the Queensland Aboriginal Activists Group. The quote expresses how humanity unities us, and sets a challenge to those who work for social change to focus on solidarity not charity.
Stuart Hall (1993) “The capacity to live with difference is, in my view, the coming question of the twenty-first century”.
For more on Stuart Hall, listen to this podcast Thinking Allowed (Feb 2014) Stuart Hall (1932-2014). Sociologist, cultural theorist, political activist, and former director of the Birmingham Centre for Cultural Studies Stuart Hall died in February 2014. This episode of Thinking Allowed (a BBC Radio 4 programme examining new research in the social sciences) pays tribute to this work on ’multiculturalism' and “the changing character of 'post Imperial' British society”.
Social activist, commentator, and former Labour Councillor Patrick Vernon OBE describes how October came to be Black History Month in the UK, and how it differs from the month in America (which is celebrated in February).
“Sometimes the nation’s art can seem overwhelmingly white – both in subject and artist. Here at Art UK we want to share with you some of our favourite Black and British artists from the nation’s art collection”.
As an added bonus, all but one of the books discussed in this article are available in the library.
“Olive Morris was a community activist in South London in the 1970s, who died of cancer aged 27 in 1979. Through her activities organising the Black community and feminist activism, she left behind an extraordinary legacy of local activism”. Also have a look at the 2006, Remembering Olive Collective for more information about her life and interviews with people who knew her.
A range of blogs on pre-colonial Black history.
Acknowledging and celebrating the thousands of historic contributions that Black LGBTQ individuals have made throughout history, paving the way not only for LGBTQ PoC but the LGBT community overall.
In this TedTalk, Don John talks about his life working to identify, address and confront racism, to explore why Black history matters.
These two TED Talks consider femininity and masculinity, and what it means to be a Black woman and a Black man respectively. They also both touch on physical and mental health, each speaker drawing on their own experiences to examine these topics.
Novelist Chimamanda Adichie talks about the misconceptions and misunderstandings that arise when only one version of someone’s story is told, drawing on her own experiences of hearing one version of poverty, how people viewed her when they had heard only one story of Africa, and “how she found her authentic cultural voice”. For more great TED Talks see Talks To Celebrate Black History Month.
“In this vital re-examination of a shared history, historian and broadcaster David Olusoga tells the rich and revealing story of the long relationship between the British Isles and the people of Africa and the Caribbean”. A documentary series of 'Black and British: A Forgotten History' was also created for the BBC.
"A black porter publicly whips a white Englishman in the hall of a Gloucestershire manor house. A Moroccan woman is baptised in a London church. Henry VIII dispatches a Mauritanian diver to salvage lost treasures from the Mary Rose. From long-forgotten records emerge the remarkable stories of Africans who lived free in Tudor England. They were present at some of the defining moments of the age. They were christened, married and buried by the Church. They were paid wages like any other Tudors. The untold stories of the Black Tudors, dazzlingly brought to life by Kaufmann, will transform how we see this most intriguing period of history".
“Both devastating and funny, The Lonely Londoners is an unforgettable account of immigrant experience - and one of the great twentieth-century London novels”. This edition includes an introduction by Professor of Modern Literature at the Open University, Susheila Nasta. If you want to learn more about the book, the Open University offer a free online course on The Lonely Londoners.
This book “begins to map the field of Black Studies scholarship from a British context, by collating new and established voices from scholars writing about Blackness in Britain. Split into five parts, it examines: Black studies and the challenge of the Black British intellectual; Revolution, resistance and state violence; Blackness and belonging; Exclusion and inequality in education; Experiences of Black women and the gendering of Blackness in Britain”.
“The child of a field slave on the Amity sugar plantation in Jamaica, July lives with her mother until Mrs. Caroline Mortimer, a recently transplanted English widow, decides to move her into the great house and rename her "Marguerite." Together they live through the bloody Baptist War and the violent and chaotic end of slavery. An extraordinarily powerful story”. The BBC recently announced that they will be making a three-part adaptation of the book, at present dates haven’t been announced for when the series will air so keep an eye out for it later this year/early next year. If you want to read Andrea’s other books Every Light in the House Burnin', Never far From Nowhere, Fruit of the Lemon, and Small Island are all available from the Library.
“This is the first volume in a monumental ten-volume survey of thirty thousand archival documents and original manuscripts from widely separated sources, brought together by editor Robert A. Hill to provide a compelling picture of the evolution, spread, and influence of the UNIA. Letters, pamphlets, vital records, intelligence reports, newspaper articles, speeches, legal records, and diplomatic dispatches are enhanced by Hill's descriptive source notes, explanatory footnotes, and comprehensive introduction. And if you want more on Marcus Garvey, have a look at Robert A. Hill and Barbara Bair Eds (1987) Marcus Garvey: Life and Lessons: A Centennial Companion to the Marcus Garvey and Universal Negro Movement Association Papers “A collection of autobiographical and philosophical works produced by Garvey in the period from his imprisonment in Atlanta to his death in London in 1940”.
Ask anyone moderately interested to name a Black intellectual and chances are the response will be American: Malcolm X, Audre Lourde or Cornel West. Yet Britain has its own Black intellectual traditions and its own master teachers, among them C.L.R. James, Claudia Jones, John La Rose and Una Marson. However, while in the USA Black public intellectuals are an embedded feature of national life, Black British thinkers remain marginalized. This book explores histories of race, education and social justice through the work of Black British educators, campaigners and academics, and the wider world of Black British politics, from the 18th century to the present.
“In this classic study, cultural critic bell hooks examines how Black women, from the seventeenth century to the present day, were and are oppressed by both white men and Black men and by white women… While acknowledging the conflict of loyalty to race or sex is still a dilemma, hooks challenges the view that race and gender are two separate phenomena, insisting that the struggles to end racism and sexism are inextricably intertwined”.
“Terrible, unspeakable things happened to Sethe at Sweet Home, the farm where she lived as a slave for so many years until she escaped to Ohio. Her new life is full of hope but 18 years later she is still not free. Sethe's new home is not only haunted by the memories of her past but also by the ghost of her baby, who died nameless”.
"Olaudah Equiano's 1789 narrative tells the remarkable story of his childhood in Africa, his kidnapping and subsequent years as a slave and seaman, and his eventual road to freedom in the Caribbean and in England". One of the first widely read books about slave narratives, this book is credited as playing a large role in influencing public opinion against the salve trade in Britain. This edition includes explanatory notes, reviews and essays on the narrative, and a map showing Olaudah’s travel.
“In a comprehensive account, Peter Fryer reveals how Africans, Asians and their descendants, previously hidden from history, have profoundly influenced and shaped events in Britain over the course of the last two thousand years”.
"The daughter of a Scottish soldier and a Jamaican herbalist, Mary Seacole (1805–81) gained recognition for her provision of care to British troops during the Crimean War. She had travelled widely in the Caribbean and Panama before venturing to England to volunteer as an army nurse in the Crimea. Although rebuffed by officials, an undeterred Seacole funded her own expedition, establishing the British Hotel near Balaclava to provide a refuge for wounded officers. Known affectionately as 'Mother Seacole' among the men, yet returning to England bankrupt at the end of hostilities, she had her plight highlighted in the press. First published in 1857, and reissued here in its 1858 printing, her autobiography was intended to share her story and restore to her some financial security."
"Mary Prince recalls that in the slave market in Bermuda, where she was put up for sale, the buyers' talk 'fell like cayenne pepper into the fresh wounds of our hearts'. During her life as a slave she was taken from Bermuda to Turks Island and Antigua, eventually arriving in London where, in 1828, she reported the cruelty of her master and mistress to the Anti-Slavery Society. The History of Mary Prince(1831) was the first life of a Black woman to be published in Britain. This extraordinary testament of ill-treatment and survival was a protest and a rallying-cry for emancipation that provoked two libel actions and ran into 3 editions in the year of its publication. This edition includes an introduction which discusses The History within the context of Black writing, explanatory notes, a chronology, and supplementary material on enslavement and the case of Mary Prince."
"Today Bill Richmond is largely unknown to the wider public, but he was one of the most significant sportsmen in history and one of the most prominent celebrities of Georgian times. Born into slavery in Staten Island, Richmond won his freedom as a young boy and carved a new life for himself in England as a cabinet maker and then a renowned prizefighter and trainer. His amazing life encompassed encounters and relationships with some of the most prominent men of the age, including Earl Percy, William Hazlitt, Lord Byron, the Prince Regent and Lord Camelford. His fame was such that he fulfilled an official role at the coronation celebrations of King George IV in 1821.The story of Bill Richmond is an incredible tale of personal advancement, as well as the story of a life informed and influenced by a series of turbulent historical events, including the American War of Independence, the fight for Black emancipation and Britain's long-running conflict with Napoleon Bonaparte".
"Teacher and writer Jeffrey Boakye has encountered endless labels – all of which have informed his experience of being Black and British today. Here, he unpicks their meanings".
"For the teeming populace of Old Mack's cacophonous yard in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, it's a cheek by jowl existence lived out on a sweltering public stage. Snatches of calypso compete with hymn tunes, drums and street cries as neighbours drink, brawl, pass judgment, make love, look out for each other and crave a better life. But Ephraim is no dreamer and nothing, not even the seductive Rosa, is going to stop him escaping his dead-end job for a fresh start in England. Set as returning troops from the Second World War fill the town with their raucous celebrations, Erroll John's 'Moon on a Rainbow Shawl' depicts a vibrant, cosmopolitan world that is as harsh as it is filled with colour and warmth".
"A collection of early, emerging works from some of today's most celebrated African American female writers. When it was first published in 1970, 'The Black Woman' introduced readers to an astonishing new wave of voices that demanded to be heard. In this groundbreaking volume of original essays, poems, and stories, a chorus of outspoken women -- many who would become leaders in their fields: bestselling novelist Alice Walker, poets Audre Lorde and Nikki Giovanni, writer Paule Marshall, activist Grace Lee Boggs, and musician Abbey Lincoln among them -- tackled issues surrounding race and sex, body image, the economy, politics, labor, and much more. Their words still resonate with truth, relevance, and insight today."
"This is the story of a young woman born in Chicago who came to New York, won fame with her play, 'A Raisin in the Sun', and went on to new heights of artistry before her tragic death. In turns angry, loving, bitter, laughing, and defiantly proud, the story, voice, and message are all Lorraine Hansberry's own, coming together in one of the major works of the Black experience in mid-century America".
The following books are well worth a read, but unfortunately aren’t available in our library:
“In Left of Karl Marx, Carole Boyce Davies assesses the activism, writing, and legacy of Claudia Jones (1915–1964), a pioneering Afro-Caribbean radical intellectual, dedicated communist, and feminist. Jones is buried in London’s Highgate Cemetery, to the left of Karl Marx—a location that Boyce Davies finds fitting given how Jones expanded Marxism-Leninism to incorporate gender and race in her political critique and activism”. If you’d like to read more about Claudia Jones there are two books about her available in the library – Claudia Jones: Beyond Containment: Autobiographical Reflections, Essays, And Poems, and I Think Of My Mother: Notes On The Life And Times Of Claudia Jones.
“You’re British. Your parents are British. Your partner, your children and most of your friends are British. So why do people keep asking where you’re from? We are a nation in denial about our imperial past and the racism that plagues our present. Brit(ish) is Afua Hirsch’s personal and provocative exploration of how this came to be – and an urgent call for change”.
The story of Liverpool's first Black football player, Howard Gayle, will be available from October 2019.
"Joint winner of the Booker Prize 2019, 'Girl, Woman, Other' is teeming with life and crackling with energy. Told through many distinctive voices, this novel follows the lives of twelve very different characters. Mostly women, Black and British, they tell the stories of their families, friends and lovers, across the country and through the years. Joyfully polyphonic and sparklingly contemporary, Girl, Woman, Other is a gloriously new kind of history, a novel of our times: celebratory, ever-dynamic and utterly irresistible".
"Greg Jenner is joined by Dr Meleisa Ono-George and comedian Nathan Caton to learn all about the roots of Notting Hill Carnival, the largest street festival in Europe. We follow the history from 18th century Trinidad to 21st century London, looking not just at how carnival traditions have changed and developed into a world famous annual celebration but how they helped empower a generation to stand together against the racial injustice they faced in the UK".
“Lenny Henry presents a series of programmes tracing a century of Black British theatre and screen”.
One From the Vaults is a podcast covering the trans history of North America and Europe. This episode focuses on the life of Sir Lady Java, a trans rights activist and performer who “fought back against anti-cross dressing laws which curtailed the life’s of so many trans people across the United States in the twentieth century”. For more on Sir Lady Java see Monica Roberts, TransGriot (December 2010) Sir Lady Java- Trans Civil Rights Warrior.
“Featuring key voices from the last few decades of anti-racist activism, About Race with Reni Eddo-Lodge looks at the recent history that lead to the politics of today” – to get a flavour of the podcast listen to a trailer on the podcast’s website here. The podcast covers topics including race in the 1990s, political Blackness and ‘the big question’ (what white people can do to support race equality). The series is based on the bestselling book – Reni Eddo-Lodge (2017) Why I'm No Longer Talking To White People About Race “a timely and essential new framework for how to see, acknowledge and counter racism”, including an excellent opening chapter on the history of race and racism in the UK.
“Blacticulate (Black + Action + Articulate) is a podcast and online community where we aim to upskill young Black individuals with the essential knowledge and practical skills needed for professional success”. This playlist features all of the Bl[act]iculate podcast interviews with Black women.
Sociologist, cultural theorist, political activist, and former director of the Birmingham Centre for Cultural Studies, Stuart Hall, appears on this episode of Thinking Allowed (a BBC Radio 4 programme examining new research in the social sciences) talking about multiculturalism.
This summer (2019), staff in the Law School offered suggestions of books that influenced their thinking on race, especially with regard to the law. To make it a bit trickier, they were asked not to suggest academic books. Their selections were a much more eclectic mix of books, podcasts and even music than expected, and you can find the full list on the School of Law's webpages, including a short paragraph alongside each recommendation about why they chose it. During October 2019, you will be able to browse or borrow any of these books from the Law Student Hub.
The pivotal role of Black LGBT people in Western LGBT history is documented but often forgotten. From Marsha P. Johnson and Stormé DeLarverie who were major figures in the Stonewall uprisings of 1969, to modern day LGBT leaders like Munroe Bergdorf and Lady Phyll, Black people have always paved the way for LGBT liberation. But Black LGBT people have also always existed outside of the Western context. Africa's rich history of diverse sexual orientations and gender identities is rarely taught or discussed in schools. This webpage provides some resources that discuss the experiences of Black LGBT people as well as other LGBT people of colour.
As part of Black History Month the Centre for Ageing Better have collated stories from a number of Black Britons to give them a platform to share their stories about race, inequality, age, and gender.
This website presents the often untold stories of the generations of migrants who came to and shaped the British Isles.
See also specific pages on Sporting Heroes blackhistorymonth.org.uk/section/sporting-heroes and The Black Heroes of Science blackhistorymonth.org.uk/article/section/science-and-medicine/black-heroes-science.
In 2003, the ‘100 Great Black Britons’ campaign was launched, with nurse and entrepreneur Mary Seacole being voted number one. You can read biographies of Mary Seacole and the other 99 Great Black Britons on the 100 Great Black Britons website. In 2017, to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Black History Month, 100 Great Black Britons was relaunched by Patrick Vernon, who said “We hope that once more, 100 Great Black Britons will provide role models to Black communities, and also emphasise that the history and achievements of Black Britons are an integral part of our shared heritage in this country” (results will be announced today, 1 October 2018).
This webpage hosts a range of blogs on historic ‘firsts’, like Bishop Wilfred Wood, the Church of England’s first Black Bishop; Diane Abbott, the first Black woman to be elected to the House of Commons; Sislin Fay Allen, Britain’s First Black Policewoman, and Frank Bailey, London’s First Black Firefighter.
“Black Cultural Archives is the only national heritage centre dedicated to collecting, preserving and celebrating the histories of African and Caribbean people in Britain”.
The V&A holds a variety of material relating to black heritage and culture, including fashion, photography and performance.
The Young Historians Project hopes to encourage the development of young historians of African and Caribbean Heritage and enable people to engage with Black British history, through the creation of digital learning resources and workshops aimed at young people. Have a look at this video about how and why the Young Historians Project was created.
This timeline is the first of a series produced by UCU in close collaboration with the Black Members’ Standing Committee.
Smaller portraits of important individuals in black history will be made available in the next 12 months, thereby helping to shift from Black History Month to Black History 365.
Black people have played a pivotal role in human history. A history that especially in the last four centuries has been repressed and marginalised, but now can no longer be ignored.
The University recognises the power of staff networks. The BAME network aims to provide a space for discussion of issues relevant to its members and to contribute to University initiatives on Equality, Diversity & Inclusion.
There are a number of modules at Warwick which may be of interest – you could consider using your Warwick Learning Vouchers to study these modules, or request to audit them (meaning attending classes, but not taking part in assessments). If you’re interested in studying any of these modules in either of the ways described above, please contact the department and module leader first.
- Race and the Making of the Modern World (SO122).
- Race, Ethnicity, and Migration in Modern Britain (HI2D4) (please note it is not possible to audit History modules, but you could still consider using your WLVs to study this module next year).
- Racism and Xenophobia (SO337).
Below you can read profiles of the people votes in the top five of the 100 Great Black Britons list.
Mary Seacole was born in Kingston, Jamaica in 1805. Her father was a Scottish soldier, and her mother was a practitioner of traditional Jamaican medicine and had a boarding house where she cared for invalid soldiers and their wives. Mary learned about medicine from her mother, soon gaining her own reputation as a 'skilful nurse and doctress'.
She travelled to London, where she heard about the Crimean war and how the nursing system there had collapsed. She made applications to the War Office, the army medical department, and the secretary of war to be allowed to go to the Crimea and tend to the sick and wounded. She pointed out that she had extensive experience, excellent references, and knew many of the soldiers and regiments, having nursed them while they were stationed in Jamaica. But she was turned away by everybody, including one of Florence Nightingale's assistants.
At the age of 50, with her large stock of medicines, Mary went to the battle zone as a sutler - a person who follows the army and sells provisions to the troops. The moment she arrived in Balaclava there were sick and wounded to attend to. She opened her British Hotel in the summer of 1855, near the besieged city of Sevastopol. Soon the entire British army knew of "Mother Seacole's".
In 1857, Mary published her autobiography, an outstandingly vivid piece of writing called 'The Wonderful Adventures of Mrs Seacole in Many Lands' which was prefaced by WH Russell:
"I trust that England will not forget one who nursed her sick, who sought out her wounded to aid and succour them, and who performed the last offices for some of her illustrious dead".
She was awarded a Crimean medal, and a bust was made of her by Prince Victor of Hohenlohe-Langenburg, sculptor and nephew of Queen Victoria. The last 25 years of her life, however, were spent in obscurity. When she died on 14th May 1881.
In 2016, a statue of Mary Seacole was unveiled in London - the UK's first statue in honour of a named Black woman - following a 12 year campaign which raised £500,000 to honour her.
Read more about Mary Seacole in her autobiography Mary Seacole, Preface by William Howard Russell (1857) The Wonderful Adventures of Mrs Seacole in Many Lands or watch this clip about her life David Olusoga, One Show (June 2016) Mary Seacole.
Bishop Wilfred Wood
Born in Barbados in 1936, Wilfred Wood was ordained Deacon after completion of studies in 1962. He was sent to the Diocese of London, first serving in a parish called St. Stephen’s Shepherd’s Bush, where he served as a curate, then honorary curate, of St Thomas With St Stephen, Shepherd’s Bush, until 1974.
Being struck by the harsh conditions that Black immigrants had to undergo and by the problems of the inner city, he soon came to wider attention in Britain for speaking out on racial injustice. It was for this work that he was appointed the Bishop of London Officer in race relations, also serving on a number of other important boards, from 1978 to 1981. He recalled:
“I was a member of a Royal Commission called the Royal Commission on Criminal Procedures and in our report, we recommended an establishment of an independent prosecuting service, which has now been established, called the ‘Crown Prosecuting Service’. Up to that point, police would investigate and prosecute, but we recommended an independent prosecuting service.”
Serving on the Archbishop Commission on urban priority areas – where for three years he and his team visited all the cities and towns in England, such as the large housing estates and areas in need of assistance – Bishop Wood noted that a report on the findings were published and also recalled the setting up of the urban church fund.
Bishop Wood also served as a Lay Magistrate from 1971 to 1982. He was the moderator of the World Council of Churches Programme to Combat Racism, known for its work on South African apartheid, acknowledging the importance of the work of commission as they supported the liberation movements against the racist apartheid regime in South Africa.
Serving as Archdeacon of Southwark from 1982 until his consecration as Bishop of Croydon in 1985, where he oversaw the Croydon Episcopal Area, Bishop Wood said that the honour was very humbling. He said:
“When I become Bishop of Croydon in 1985, it was a big occasion because I was then becoming the first ever Black Bishop in the Church of England. At the service at St. Paul’s Cathedral, which holds 2 900 [people], there was not enough room, as people had come from all over the world – mostly Black [people] were in attendance – and there are 49 bishops who took part in the service. Actually, when my appointment was announced, I received 703 letters of congratulations and well wishes. It was a great day.”
In 2000, another great honour was placed upon the Bishop, as Queen Elizabeth II appointed him Knight of St. Andrew (Order of Barbados), for his contribution to race relations in the United Kingdom and general contribution to the welfare of Barbadians living here.
In his last years as Bishop of Croydon, he protested at the honours given to Enoch Powell upon his death, and about the government and opposition’s attitudes to asylum seekers.
Read more from Bishop Wilfred Wood in his foreword to Selwyn E Arnold (1992) From Scepticism to Hope: One Black-Led Church's Response to Social Responsibility.
Mary Prince, the daughter of slaves, was born at Brackish Pond, Bermuda, in about 1788.
Around 1818, Mary Prince began attending meetings held at the Moravian Church. She later wrote: "The Moravian ladies (Mrs. Richter, Mrs. Olufsen, and Mrs. Sauter) taught me to read in the class; and I got on very fast. In this class there were all sorts of people, old and young, grey headed folks and children; but most of them were free people. After we had done spelling, we tried to read in the Bible. After the reading was over, the missionary gave out a hymn for us to sing."
Soon after arriving in England (as a servant to John Wood) in 1828, she ran away and went to live at the Moravian Mission House in Hatton Gardens. A few weeks later she went to work for Thomas Pringle, a member of the Anti-Slavery Society. In 1831 Pringle arranged for her to publish her book, The History of Mary Prince, A West Indian Slave. Mary's book was the first life of a Black woman to be published in Britain. This extraordinary testament of ill-treatment and survival was a protest and a rallying-cry for emancipation that provoked two libel actions and ran into three editions in the year of its publication.
After the publication of the book John Wood sued the publishers of The History of Mary Prince, A West Indian Slave claiming that Mary Prince work had "endeavoured to injure the character of my family by the most vile and infamous falsehoods". Wood lost his case.
Two prominent supporters of slavery in Britain, James MacQueen and James Curtin, took up Wood's case and in an article in Blackwood's Magazine, claimed that Prince's book contained a large number of lies. Prince and her publisher sued MacQueen and Curtin for libel and won their case.
It is thought that Prince remained in England after 1833, perhaps continuing to work as a servant. Her History is an important contribution to early Black writing, and it offers a glimpse into the lives of enslaved men and women whose life stories cannot be traced.
Source: 100 Great Black Britons, Mary Prince.
Read more about Mary Prince in her autobiography Mary Prince (1831) The History of Mary Prince: A West Indian Slave.
Olaudah Equiano was born in Essaka, an Igbo village in the kingdom of Benin, in 1745. When he was about eleven, Equiano was kidnapped along with his sister, and after six months of captivity he was brought to the coast where he was sold to slave-traders.
Equiano saved whatever money he could, and in 1766 purchased his freedom. In 1767 he went back to London, and worked closely with Granville Sharpe and Thomas Clarkson in the Society for the Abolition of the Slave Trade. Equiano spoke at a large number of public meetings where he described the cruelty of the slave trade.
Equiano was also a close friend of Thomas Hardy, secretary of the London Corresponding Society. Equiano became an active member of this political society that campaigned in favour of universal suffrage.
Equiano published his autobiography 'The Life of Olaudah Equiano the African' in 1789, 'a detailed account of an African's movement out of slavery', and the most important single literary contribution to the campaign for abolition. It was highly effective in arousing public opinion. He travelled throughout England promoting the book. It became a bestseller and was also published in Germany (1790), America (1791) and Holland (1791). He also spent over eight months in Ireland where he made several speeches on the evils of the slave trade. While he was there he sold over 1,900 copies of his book. In Equiano's lifetime, his narrative went through eight British editions; six more followed in the 22 years following his death. He had won widespread recognition as principal spokesman of Britain's Black community.
Olaudah Equiano was appointed to the expedition to settle former Black slaves in Sierra Leone, on the west coast of Africa. However, he died on 31st March, 1797 before he could complete the task.
Read more about Olaudah Equiano in his autobiography Olaudah Equiano (2001) The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, Or Gustavus Vassa, the African.
Philippa was the daughter of William of Hainault, a lord in part of what is now Belgium. When she was nine the King of England, Edward II, decided that he would marry his son, the future Edward III, to her, and sent one of his bishops, a Bishop Stapeldon, to look at her. He described her thus:
"The lady whom we saw has not uncomely hair, betwixt blue-black and brown... Her eyes are blackish brown and deep. Her nose is fairly smooth and even, save that is somewhat broad at the tip and flattened, yet it is no snub nose. Her nostrils are also broad, her mouth fairly wide. Her lips somewhat full and especially the lower lip… Moreover, she is brown of skin all over, and much like her father, and in all things she is pleasant enough, as it seems to us."
Four years later Prince Edward went to visit his bride-to-be and her family, and fell in love with her. She was betrothed to him and in 1327, when she was only 14, she arrived in England. The next year, when she was 15, they married and were crowned King and Queen in 1330 when she was heavily pregnant with her first child and aged only 17.
This first child was called Edward, like his father, but is better known as the Black Prince. Many say that he was called this because of the colour of his armour, but there are records that show that he was called 'Black' when he was very small. The French called him 'Le Noir'.
Philippa was a remarkable woman. She was very wise and was known and loved by the English for her kindliness and restraint. She would travel with her husband on his campaigns and take her children as well. When the King was abroad she ruled in his absence. Queen's College in Oxford University was founded under her direction by her chaplain, Robert de Eglesfield in 1341 when she was aged 28. She brought many artists and scholars from Hainault who contributed to English culture.
When she died, Edward never really recovered, and she was much mourned by him and the country. King Edward had a beautiful sculpture made for her tomb which you can see today at Westminster Abbey.
30 September, 6.30 - 7.30pm
Join Lambeth Libraries for the launch of the brand-new novel from Guardian Award-winning author Alex Wheatle. Cane Warriors is a deeply compelling story of courage, brotherhood and hope, it follows the true-life slave rebellion known as Tacky’s War in 18th century Jamaica through the eyes of one boy.
Throughout October and November
For Black History Month The Feminist Library are putting together an exhibition of highlights from Black women’s history in the Feminist Library’s collections that covers many campaigns, groups and organisations. This rich collection of materials includes posters, badges, flyers, archives, periodicals spanning some five decades of the feminist movement’s history.
Alongside the onsite exhibition a virtual version of the project will be available for those who are unable to visit the Library.
1 - 30 October
Zari Gallery is proud to present an exhibition featuring British and International Black Artists in celebration of Black History Month.
African and Caribbean Community Association - Black History Matters to Everyone.
3 October, 6 - 7.30pm
The special guest speaker at this event will be Linford Sweeney, Author, Historian who specialises in African/Black History, undertaking research and delivering classes throughout the UK. He is also a Genealogist who is expert in tracing Caribbean family roots, with a focus on Jamaica. Linford has undertaken detailed ancestry research and delivered Caribbean genealogy workshops and black history classes for the past ten years at Manchester, and elsewhere in the UK. Linford Sweeney will be delivering a talk on ‘The Importance of Black History Month and Black British Contributions to the UK.’
The main event performance will be famous solo R&B, Soul, Motown, Reggae artist called ‘Coffee’.
There will also be presentation from Fika Welie Caribbean and African Specialist Mental Health Unit and Research Centre on issues around mental health and reason for a cultural appropriate unit.
To join the event email acca_stockport at yahoo dot co dot uk or call 07901 848504 for the Zoom ID and passcode.
Legacy Centre of Excellence - The Black Past.
5 October - 30 November
"In this 9-part series, we explore the stories of Black people throughout time across the globe, placing Africa at the centre of human life". Details of all events in the series can be found at the links below:
- 5 October Gods & Pharaohs: The Nile Valley Kingdoms.
- 12 October Cities, Militants & Moors: North Africa & Black Europe.
- 19 October Marvels & Empires: West Africa.
- 26 October The Towering East: East Africa.
- 2 November Iron Giants & Celestial Structures: Central & South Africa.
- 9 November Black Resistance: Uprisings Against the Slave Trade.
- 16 November Black Avengers: The Haitian Revolution.
- 23 November Africa’s White Age: An Introduction to Colonialism.
- 30 November Black Avengers II: Revolutionaries Through History.
6 October, 6 - 7pm
This student-led panel explores the intersectional experience of being queer and black.
8 October, 5.30 - 7pm
This workshop will investigate what the Rainbow Flag means to each person and why the flag could be seen as an exclusion to many people of colour. What could be done differently. The workshop will consist of individual and group discussions.
9 October, 2 - 3pm
Periodicals have been produced by and for Black people in Britain for more than two hundred years. In this talk, S.I. Martin will introduce a handful of the more prominent titles and demonstrate how they attempted to reflect the needs of the communities they served.
10 October, 6.30 - 7.30pm
Significant changes in the Commonwealth Act and key shifts in global politics during the late fifties, sixties, and seventies, impacted hugely on migrants already resident in the UK, as well as those wanting to move to the UK. Many African Asians sought new homes in Britain, compelled to relocate after political events in Africa. This documentary recounts personal stories of those who made new lives in Birmingham and the Black Country. These personal accounts reflect on themes of loss, discovery, courage, and often success, broadly highlighting the contribution of the South Asian community on the economic and cultural diversity of the region.
13 October, 4 - 6pm
This will be a virtual event conducted on Microsoft Teams. There will be 2 hours of 10 - 15 mins talks followed by a brief discussion session.
13 October, 6 - 7pm
This student-led panel explores the intersectional experience of being a black woman in today’s society.
14 October, 1 - 2pm
Join the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences plus special guests for an important session which aims to raise awareness about sickle cell disease (SCD). Guest speakers will include:
- Dame Elizabeth Anionwu, the first sickle cell disease (SCD) and Thalassaemia specialist nurse in Britain, talking about her experience of being the first SCD specialist in Britian and seting up the UK’s first SCD counselling centre.
- Nkechi Ayanwu, a SCD specialist nurse, delivering a 20 minute educational session on SCD.
- Daniel Nwosu, Surrey alumnus and founder of Sickle Cell and Young Stroke Survivors charity, talking about his perspective as a patient.
- Hayley King, founder of Cianna’s Smile charity, sharing her experience as the mother of a child with SCD.
There will be a Q&A session following the talks.
14 October, 5.30 - 7.30pm
14 October, 1 - 4pm
A free one-day, online conference advocating for positive changes in equality and inclusion within the Higher Education sector.
14 October, 6 - 7.30pm
14 October, 4 - 6.30pm
This webinar will identify what is meant by ‘systemic racism’. UCU will be joined by colleagues from sister education unions including Michelle Codrington-Rogers, the first Black National President of the NASUWT alongside UCU contributors from FE, HE, and Prison Education.
15 October, 5.30pm
Inspired by some of the poetry and speeches of Amilcar Cabral, Patrice Lumumba and Thomas Sankara, inter-disciplinary performance artist Tania Camara asks what it means to speak, and speak out, about racism and neo-colonialism.
15 October, 7.30 - 8.15pm
The online film screening, Voices for Freedom, will include unique performances of original and existing work presented by family members of the Manchester-based Pan African Congress 1945 delegates.
15 October, 12 - 1pm
Professor Femi Oyebode will talk about the contributions to psychiatry of Thomas Adeoye Lambo, a Birmingham medical graduate who later became Deputy Director of WHO & Franz Fanon who was born in Martinique and studied medicine in Lyon, a city twinned to Birmingham. He is regarded as one of the leading political theorists of the colonial period.
16 October, 10 - 11.30am
16 October, 2-3.30pm
While decolonising the curriculum can mean different things, it includes a fundamental reconsideration of what the subjects are being taught, how its taught and who teaches it. But the campaign for decolonising the curriculum still faces scepticism and resistance. Professor Fiona Kumari Campbell and Dr Fernando Lannes Fernandes will examine why oppressed indigenous voices and experiences need to be a central aspect of the curriculum and why this is important to today’s learners.
16 October, 7.30 - 9pm
W. E. B. Du Bois, co-founder of the Pan-African Congress Movement, declared, at the First Pan-African Congress in London in 1900, that the problem of the twentieth century would be ‘the problem of the color line.’ He believed that combatting White Supremacy would be a major challenge of the politics of the century to come. And he understood that involved a battle on two fronts: challenging racism in Europe and the Americas, on the one hand, and defeating the racism of colonial empires, on the other. Du Bois, born an American, died as a citizen of Ghana - invited there, after independence, by Kwame Nkrumah. The Manchester Congress, which brought him together with a new generation of Black leaders from Africa and the Caribbean, was a key turning point in the history of the Pan-African Movement: as the focus shifted, for a period, to the fight for independence in Africa. In this new century, in a world after European empire, the struggle for Black equality in Europe and the Americas, has been reinvigorated by the Black Lives Matter movement. How has three-quarters of a century of post-Manchester struggle for respect and equality for Black people—inside and outside the North Atlantic world—been shaped by the Pan-Africanist legacy?
17 October, 2 - 3pm
17 October, 2-3pm
Manchester School of Architecture Students will be presenting their editable open source map of Manchester, showing a number of key locations and buildings that highlight Pan-African associations within Manchester. With each of the identified locations there will also be an explanation of the relevance (political/historical/musical etc.) of the site or location.
18 October, 3 - 4.15pm
Part of the Pan African Congress series of events. Join student representatives from the Manchester Metropolitan University and the Universities of Manchester, Salford, and Bolton in conversation with Manchester Chancellor, writer, international poet, performer playwright, artist, and broadcaster Lemn Sissay (MBE). Lemn will give a brief talk about his perspective on Pan Africanism and what it means to him. Following Lemn’s keynote, attendees and the student panellists will join him in discussion on Pan Africanism and the current Black Lives Matter Movement.
Join Tunde Adekoya, Yusra Warsama, Tolu Ajayi and Christian Asare, supported by STUN Theatre, as they share performances, objects, and senses in response to the historic transcripts from the 1945 Pan African Congress.
20 October, 2 - 3.30pm
Africa’s history goes far beyond the history of the trans-Atlantic slave trade and its colonial history. There is evidence that many contributions to language, technological invention, modern inventions and the resistance to slavery and colonialism have been wrote out of the history books. But now, there is a growing call and a need to write and tell Africa’s story in full. The question though is who qualifies to tell Africa’s Histories? Join Gameli Tordzro as he hosts a conversation between Prof Kofi Anyidoho and Kojo Yankah, two of Ghana’s prominent academics, whose work has a particular focus on Africa and its heritage.
20 October, 5 - 6pm
Presentation One: Donna Lewis RGN DipHE (Nursing) BSc (Hons) MSc PGCE FHEA - “It’s literally like I’m sat right there in the room with you!" Student nurses experiences of formative audio feedback - A Generic Qualitative study.
Presentation Two: Tanya Mpofu, MSc BA (Hons).: Intersectional perspective on black women on boards.
21 October, 5.30 - 7pm
The Department of History, University of York is delighted to be hosting a public talk by Dr Traci Parker (University of Massachusetts, Amherst), which will be held on Wednesday 21 October 2020, 5:30-7:00pm GMT on Zoom. In this talk, titled ‘Revolutionary Love, Revolutionary Weddings: Marriage in the Black Panther Party,’ we will hear from Dr Parker about her exciting new book project, Beyond Loving: Love, Sex, and Marriage in the Black Freedom Movement. It will be followed by a Q&A and discussion.
21 October, 2 - 3.30pm
Join Naa Densua Tordzro and Chandra Brooks in a fun discussion and shared stories on textiles and quilting. We will learn about fabrics, patterns, migration, connections and the importance to Africans through migration in the global south, and its significance to Black American and Africans in the Diaspora in the global north. Come and be part of oral stories of migration and decolonisation of textiles and quilts, as told by their ancestors.
22 October, 2 - 3pm
This lecture prepared to commemorate Black History Month at the University of Aberdeen in October 2020 will use examples of Scottish merchant adventurers and explorers in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries to show that race has always been at the center not only of colonial and imperial relations, but of present day international law. Written from the perspective of Third World Approaches to International Law, (TWAIL), the lecture makes the case for more scholarly inquiries to uncover the continuities and discontinuities of the role of race in international law and international relations.
22 October, 5 - 6.30pm
An afternoon of discussion around UNESCO World Heritage Site Great Zimbabwe near Masvingo, discussing the relevance of the UNESCO designation for the local community and the ways in which UNESCO’s work and research helps to correct colonial assumptions about important sites and civilizations.
23 October, 7 - 8pm
Dr Onyeka Nubia is a pioneering and internationally recognised historian, writer and presenter, working on reinventing our perceptions of the Renaissance, British history, Black Studies and intersectionalism. Dr Nubia is the leading historian on the status and origins of Africans in pre-colonial England from antiquity to 1603. He has developed entirely new strands of British history including Africans in Ancient and Medieval England. For this talk he will share the untold story of people of African descent who lived and worked throughout England in the Tudor period.
Collaboration with disability forum, sociology and disability advisors with staff discussing intersectional issues.
27 October, 1 - 2pm
This paper (Dr Jenny Douglas) explores reproductive politics and black women’s health in the UK. It examines the ways in which black women and black families have been portrayed pathologically in social policy literature, and how this representation is embedded in an imperialist and colonial history. Representations of black women as fierce, fecund and feckless have led to inequities in the reproductive choices of black women. This paper examines contraception, abortion and maternal mortality among Black British women. It then explores the contribution of black women as activists for change and as organisers of change… for example Birmingham Black Health Workers, Brixton Black Women’s Collective and the Organisation of African and Asian Descent (OWAAD). However, the activism of these black women has remained ignored and unacknowledged. This paper aims to redress this and to make recommendations for future research and policy that incorporates an intersectional approach.
28 October, 3 - 5pm
Critically acclaimed Zimbabwean author, Tendai Huchu will lead a discussion giving a glimpse into Zimbabwean identity to texturise the celebration of diverse Black identities and his evolutionary journey as an author, sharing his transition from Zimbabwean literature to Scottish fantasy.
29 October, 4.30 - 5.30pm
Centred against a backdrop of racial tensions, systematic discriminations and global activism, The Exchange will host a panel-led discussion to explore issues of race and black masculinity within the media. The panel will identify constructions of negative black typologies and the impact such characterisations have on the black male psyche. The session will explore the impact and legacies of Blackness on screen and celebrate the pioneers who continue to place race at the forefront of this generation.
29 October, 6 - 7.30pm
Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (1875-1912) was among the best-known composers of his day. This forum, featuring author and music educator Nate Holder, will introduce some of Coleridge-Taylor's most celebrated compositions and explore his political activism.
30 October, 2 - 3pm
This event will explore differing approaches to collecting and researching the history of race in Britain, highlighting the differences between the collections of The National Archives and the Black Cultural Archives, and how they can be used together to build a broader picture.
A collaboration project with CineClub and the University’s Film and Visual Culture department showcasing Black Horror films.
You may also be interested in:
Staff Networks - including BAME Staff Network
Taskforces and SIC - including Race Equality Taskforce
Charters - including Race at Work Charter and Race Equality Charter
Attending an event in a building you're not familiar with? Find the location of gender-neutral toilets on campus here.