Black History Month round-up

Although Black History Month lasts for the whole of October (and beyond, fortunately – Camden’s ‘season’ runs until December) it really kicks off in London this week, with several boroughs holding their launch events (check out Southwark for example).

I thought this would be a good opportunity to present a few (very subjective) highlights from the programme. For the most part I’ve focused on events that have an archive theme, although I’ve also included events that use archive material. There are quite a few genealogy workshops running too. (For more general highlights check out the suggestions on the24hourmuseum). And some are just things I wanted to make sure I wouldn’t forget.

Have I missed a great archive-based event? Click on the title of the post and leave a response in the comment box to let me know.



Thu 2 Oct, Wed 8 Oct, Wed 15 Oct
Premiere performances of two new plays performed by Ajoda (African Elders Group) and COFA (Caribbean Over-50s Association) based on their life experience in Africa, the Caribbean and Britain. The plays have been developed through improvisation and rehearsal with the European Reminiscence Network (ERN). Plus a participatory reminiscence theatre workshop and lunch, for all those attending.
European Reminiscence Network, 11am – 4pm,
price unknown (and location!),
tel: ERN 020 8852 9293,

Sun 5 Oct
Camden B68 – Official launch
This joint event with the British Museum and Camden’s Black History Forum will highlight the scope of this year’s Black History season with key note speakers reflecting on major events that lead up to and shaped 1968 and the legacy of this momentous year.
There will also be a special screening of the Angela Davis film – Angela Davis: Portrait of a revolutionary at 3.30pm.
British Museum, from 2pm, free but reserve ticket,

Thu 9 Oct
BFI Film showing and Q&A –
Song of Freedom
The title of this early Paul Robeson film holds an enduring interest. Aside from a charming depiction of London’s dockland community and the chemistry between Paul Robeson and costar Elizabeth Welch, the quest for a lost heritage, however sensational, is hugely resonant today.
BFI Southbank, 2pm, price unknown,

Tue 14 Oct
Windrush Pioneers: How they changed Britain forever
Interactive seminar with historian Arthur Torrington OBE, secretary of the Equiano Society, and the Windrush Foundation. The first of two sessions with Patrick Vernon which aim to introduce people of African/Caribbean origin to family history tracing using print and online sources. Patrick Vernon is the founder of Every Generation – winner of the 2003 CRE Race in the Media Award for best website.
He received a double Windrush Award in 2003.
Wood Green Central Library, 7pm –
9pm, free, tel: 020 8489 2780.

Wed 15 Oct
Black Performers in London
Stage performers from the black community have given the world joy and pleasure through their exceptional talent. In many instances they have also used their public position to promote the rights of all black people. Discover more about Ira Aldridge, Samuel Coleridge Taylor, Paul Robeson and others using sources from the LMA collections.
London Metropolitan Archives,
2pm – 330pm, free,
tel: 020 7332 3851.

Tue 21 October
Lambeth’s Black Queer Pulse
Speakers include Linda Bellos OBE and Dennis Carney. Brixton has always had a rich and diverse Black and queer contemporary social history from the early 19th Century to the present day.
This event through informal discussions with artists, activists and cultural producers will shed light on the unique place Brixton holds within the Black LGBT experience in the UK. Come along and share your stories, memories and experiences.
Minet Library, 7pm, free,
tel: 020 7926 6076.

Wed 22 October
Kept in the Cupboard
Amateur Film Night at the Imperial War Museum
Featuring highlights from the Museum’s rich collection of amateur films, this event will look at the special value of amateur cinema in recording the private, personal and sometimes secret moments in history not covered by official cameramen. Screened with a live piano accompaniment.
For more information visit Imperial War Museum, 7pm, £5.50/£4.50
Concessions for members, tel: 020 7416 5439,

Sat 25 October
Black History Film Day: 1968
British Museum
London WC1B 3DG
Admission free, booking required 020 7323 8181.

Sat 25 October
Hackney Archives Community History Day
Are you part of Hackney’s history?
Come along to find out more about Hackney’s past, and how you can contribute to the history recorded in Hackney’s archives.
If you think you have photographs or documents which we might be interested in, please bring them along and talk to staff at the Archives. If you don’t want
to part with your photos and personal papers, we can always scan them. We are particularly interested in the memories of those from the Windrush generation.
Hackney Archives, 11am – 4pm,
free, tel 020 7241 2886,

Tue 28 Oct
BFM International Film Festival: ‘Identity’ shorts
A night hosted by the BFM International Film Festival featuring an inspiring and thought-provoking selection of short films exploring British identity followed by Q&A with directors Stephen Bourne and Menelik Shabazz:
Aunt Esther’s Story (Stephen Bourne/Andrew Warrington, 15min) Stephen Bourne tells the story of his aunt, Esther Bruce, a working-class Black Londoner born before the First World War living in Kensington High Street.
Step Forward Youth (Menelik Shabazz, 25 min) Q&A It’s 1976 and first generation young people of West Indian descent give their views on growing up in England. Shot both in Ladbroke Grove and Brixton.
Two other films follow
The Tabernacle (W11 2AY), 7pm – 9pm, free but booking required, tel: 020 7361 3204,

Sat 8 Nov
Celebrating Our Century, Lambeth Archives Open Day
In the centenary year of Lambeth Town Hall we are exploring some of the many different personal antabd public Lambeth histories of the last 100 years.
There are activities for all the family including Punch and Judy, story telling and the Lambeth Centenary mosaic.
Black Cultural Archives will be running Caribbean Family History workshops at 12.45pm and again at 4.15pm explaining how to get started on tracing your own roots. There will be a screening of films made by Clovis Salmon, better known as ‘Sam the Wheel’ at 11.30am. Sam’s footage from the 1960s to the 1980s captures the recent heritage of the Black community in Brixton and he will be there to talk about his films. You can also bring along your own family papers and photographs and get advice on how to store and preserve these for the future.
Minet Library, 10am – 5pm, free,
tel: 020 7926 6076.

Beyond London

Until Sun 2 Nov
Handsworth Revelations
A local community exhibition created by young people funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. See the results of their work with Vanley Burke, Milton Godfrey and Birmingham City Archives.
Soho House Museum, Tuesday to Sunday 1130am – 4pm, free,
tel: 0121 554 9122,

[I don’t know why the links have come out looking funny – sorry about that]



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