I've put together a slideshow of related images, all with links, so do explore/ suggest what else I should add!
This will be the first in a series of workshops I'm co-organising with Michael Ohajuru, exploring the the history of peoples of African origin and descent in Britain. Future events are planned for February and May half-terms in 2015, and we aim to establish a national network of Black British History researchers and communicators.
Why do we need to have this conversation now? We're coming to the end of the 28th Black History Month held in the UK since the first one in 1987. But much of the History on offer is American, or limited to the last century. We know about the bus boycott in Montgomery, Alabama, but not the one in Bristol.
It's thirty years since Peter Fryer’s Staying Power charted the history of Black People in Britain, taking the story back to Roman times with the paradigm-shifting opening line: "There were Africans in Britain before the English came here". Yet, with UKIP gaining in popularity, immigration is still a hotly contested topic, while slavery and colonialism continue to dominate popular perceptions of Black British History.
Despite the disappointing result of attempts to date to get more Black History into the new National Curriculum, exciting new research is being carried out in the field of Black British History. In my own field, where Fryer's book only devoted a few pages to Africans in Britain pre-1700, there are now three books covering the Tudor period alone: by Imtiaz Habib (2008), Onyeka (2013), and my own (forthcoming, 2016). The fact that we had over 30 paper proposals for the nine slots available to present at the workshop shows the strength and depth of research in this field.
Popular interest in the subject can be seen from Hollywood, with the advent of Belle (2014) to the large crowds that gathered to celebrate the launch of the Black Cultural Archives when it opened in Brixton in July. Much work has been done in the field by individual researchers, archivists, curators and projects across the country. But, much more needs to be done to spread the word about Black British History across Britain’s classrooms, museums and newspapers. That's what this conversation will be about.
With a great line-up of speakers, all actively involved in researching and communicating Black British History, the event will showcase new directions in research, exciting developments in the archives, and innovative approaches to spreading the word! You can see the programme for the day here.
There are just a few places still available, so register now to come join and the conversation!
You can also join in via our Facebook and Twitter pages- #WHBBH!
Looking forward to seeing you next week...