Throughout this month, we'll be sharing interesting information and useful links to help us all to explore the political and cultural history of people of African Caribbean heritage and their significant, but often untold, contribution to the world we live in.
This year's theme is PROUD TO BE: The aim is to make Black History Month personal and unique to individuals, families and communities, focusing on how we’re all making history all the time in our own ways, as well as the contributions and achievements of Black people throughout history.
We've invited colleagues to respond to that theme.
I'm Proud to be . . .
. . . the son of an amazing woman who was born in Jamaica in 1939, and left behind her friends and family to come to England answering the invitation to support its post-war redevelopment drive. She worked for the NHS for 35 years ensuring our hospital wards were better places for everyone requiring their services.
She tolerated unexpected pockets of discrimination and bigotry over the years, but also learned through her time working at City Hospital, Birmingham, that people from all cultures and backgrounds can be wonderful if you simply get to know them. This is something she instilled in my brothers and me from an early age. She always says, “who knows better, does better”. I live by that saying to this day.
Paul Reece, Marketing Lead - Local
Black History Timeline
Africa before Transatlantic Enslavement -
The Transatlantic Slave trade not only distorted Africa’s economic development it also distorted views of the history and importance of the African continent itself. It is only in the last fifty years that it has been possible to redress this distortion and to begin to re-establish Africa’s rightful place in world history.
People of note
Claudia Jones was born in Trinidad in 1915, but moved to the United States as a child. A prominent feminist and communist, Jones was deported for her political activities in 1955.
She gained asylum in the UK, where she launched Britain's first major black newspaper, the West Indian Gazette.
Confronted by "No blacks, no dogs, no Irish" posters, Jones became a leader in the emerging black equal rights movement.
In 1959, she helped to found Notting Hill Carnival, with the hopes that showcasing Caribbean culture and heritage would empower her community.
Jones died aged 49, leaving quite a legacy - Notting Hill Carnival is currently Europe's biggest street festival.
Rose Hudson-Wilkin was born and raised in Jamaica.
Aged 18, she travelled to the UK to train as an evangelist at the Church Army College.
She was ordained as a deacon in 1991, after initially being discouraged by the Church because she was a wife and mother.
For almost 17 years, she served as a priest in Hackney.
10 years ago, she became the first female Chaplain to the Speaker of the House of Commons, where she leads daily prayers.
Last year, Hudson-Wilkin was hired as the new bishop of Dover.
She's the first black British woman to become a bishop, though she told The Guardian she "longs for the day when we stop having firsts".
- Film recommendations – In The Heat of The Night (1967 film In the Heat of the Night won five Academy Awards and presented an important view of both racial tensions and the potential for human respect in a 1960s Mississippi torn by conflict over civil rights) Also starred a black actor in the heroic lead role - a rare and important role model
- Get Out (Film by a black director showing the audience what racially motivated anxiety of being a black person feels like)
- TV Recommendations https://www.channel4.com/programmes/unremembered-britains-forgotten-war-heroes
Book recommendations - Why I’m no longer talking to white people about race. Award winning book by Reni Eddo-Lodge (Exploring everything from eradicated Black history to the inextricable link between class and race,)
Poetry: Maya Angelou, "Still I Rise" (This powerful and relevant poem refers to the indomitable spirit of Black people, using repetition and the categorisation of injustices against them. Despite adversity and racism, Angelou expresses her faith that one will overcome and triumph. During an interview in 1997, she stated that she used the poem to help sustain her during hard times, and that many people, both Black and white, used it in the same way..)
Art: Britain’s Black History Month 2021 Launches with Powerful Jamaican Art Exclusive Private View.
One of the world’s most prolific collectors of Jamaican Art is Theresa Roberts, a Jamaican Cultural Activist based in London. She is opening her private residence at Cadogan Square, London for Black History Month 2021 with an exclusive private viewing of 15 pieces of art from 11 Jamaican artists based in Jamaica, the USA and the UK.
Learn more HERE
Recipe of the week
Jerk Seasoning - the essential marinade for a taste of the Caribbean! Use on meat fish or vegetables.
½- medium onion coarsely chopped
4 medium scallions (Spring onions) chopped
2-3 Tablespoons Fresh Thyme
1½ tablespoons fresh ginger chopped
8 Garlic cloves chopped
1 Tablespoon cinnamon powder
1 Tablespoon Allspice coarsely ground
1 tablespoon coarsely ground white pepper
½ Tablespoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
2 Tablespoons Honey
2 Tablespoons Soy sauce
1 Tablespoon bouillon powder such as Knorr
1 cup Fresh Mango, Pineapple (optional)
1 or more Scotch Bonnet Peppers adjust to taste
In a food processor combine all the ingredients. Adjust for taste and heat level with more or less spice. Refrigerate and use when ready. Food is always tastier when marinated overnight.
How you can get involved
Support black-owned businesses
Donate to anti-racism/equality charities
Purchase/read/recommend/share books by black authors or about Black history
Research and participate in BHM events, Nationwide throughout October
Actively explore the content of this blog post
Find more about Black History Month HERE
Useful terms explained
African diaspora: The African diaspora is the worldwide collection of communities descended from native Africans or people from Africa
White Privilege: White privilege, or “historically accumulated white privilege,” as we have come to call it, refers to whites’ historical and contemporary advantages in access to quality education, decent jobs and liveable wages, home ownership, retirement benefits, wealth and so on.
How Central England Co-operative is supporting
CEC has established an Equality and Inclusion working group to support its aim to bring about equality, diversity and equity across the workplace. The group is keen to hear from you – any questions, observations or suggestions?
Email the group at firstname.lastname@example.org