We're opening with a panel on Political Activism and transnational solidarity, which will provide some much-needed long term context for the events of this summer. In chronological order, we will start over a hundred years ago with David Killingray speaking about the events leading up to and following on from the first Pan-African Conference in London in 1900, in his paper on ‘Early pan-African endeavours in the black Atlantic world, 1890-1912’; followed by Kesewa John explaining the role of Caribbean activists in Britain in the anti-imperialist activism of the 1930s in ‘Militant Diaspora: The International African Service Bureau and the Caribbean Labour Rebellions’. Then Ellie Kramer-Taylor will take up the story as she speaks about ‘The West Indian Federation and the Caribbean diaspora in Britain’, in the 1950s and 1960s.
After a break, we will then be able to benefit from the silver lining that online events allow us to hear from speakers from around the world and welcome Shireen Mushtaq, Aiman Iqbal and Arooba Ali from Kinnaird College for Women, in Lahore, Pakistan, who will present on 'Racism as structural violence: The case of British African-Caribbean People’ during the Cold War period, before Robin Bunce ends the session with his discussion of ‘Black Sections in the Labour Party 1983-7: Apartheid, Colonialism and understandings of anti-racism in Britain’. I'm sure I'll learn a lot as the 20th century is 'not my period', and I hope the themes of this panel will help us to learn lessons from the past as we continue to fight racism today.
After lunch (of your choice!), we can tuck into our regular New Books panel. There are so many great new Black British History books out there at the moment, so much so that we won't have time to highlight all of them (but keep an eye on our Twitter @BlackBritHist). We are thrilled to be hearing about these exciting new titles:
- 100 Great Black Britons by Patrick Vernon & Angelina Osbourne
- Journeys: The Story of Migration to Britain by Dan Lyndon-Cohen
- Henry Box Brown: From Slavery to Show Business by Kathleen Chater
And although they can't be with us on the day, we will hear from Kadie Kanneh-Mason, who will be discussing House of Music: Raising the Kanneh-Masons with Shirley J. Thompson OBE and David Olusoga, who spoke to me about the new version of his book for young people Black and British: A Short, Essential History (for every copy sold, 50p will go to The Black Curriculum).
The final session will be devoted to Representing Black Women. It is fantastic that after six years of featuring Sarah Forbes Bonetta on our publicity material, we are finally having a talk about her, entitled ‘Girl/Ship: Challenging Geographic, Historical, and Formal Historical Methods in Black British Studies’, by Samantha Pinto, whose new book, Infamous Bodies: Early Black Women’s Celebrity and the Afterlives of Rights, explores her life alongside other 'celebrity' historical figures: Phillis Wheatley, Sally Hemings, Sarah Baartman, and Mary Seacole, who is the subject of Jordan Harris's paper ‘Claiming Mary Seacole’. Harris will compare how Seacole is seen in Jamaica, the country of her birth, with her status in Britain, asking 'what exactly makes Seacole British, and who has the right to claim her as a national symbol?' Finally, Jeff Bowersox will introduce us to 'Josephine Morcashani: A Briton Performing Black Femininity on Stages across Europe’, an entertainer who was something of a celebrity in her day (1870-1929), but is now largely unknown. This will allow for a fascinating conversation on who we remember and why, and how women specifically have been represented, or represented themselves.
Really hope you can join us for what looks to be a really thought provoking and invigorating day. You can find the booking form and full agenda here.
If you can't make it, we'll be live-tweeting @BlackBritHist #WHBBH_TN throughout the day, and the recordings will be made available after the event.