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Black History Month, James Clarke 1886-1946

21 October 2013 by Kay

October is Black History Month – which is a great opportunity to highlight local heroes like James Clarke.

James Clarke

James Clarke

James was born in British Guiana (now Guyana). When he was 14, he stowed away on a ship bound for Liverpool and was adopted by an Irish family living in the Scotland Road area.

James worked on the docks and joined Wavertree Swimming Club. He started teaching children to swim after rescuing many of them from the Leeds and Liverpool Canal.

James saved many locals from drowning in the Mersey and the docks, and taught countless others to swim. He was the first Black man to have a street named after him. Read more…

Black History Month is about the incredible impact of the Black diaspora on the world

11 October 2013 by Mitty

Elroy Josephz dancing

The story of influential dancer Elroy Josephz is explored in the exhibition ‘British dance: Black routes’. Image © Elroy Josephz archive, courtesy of Sue Lancaster and Steve Mulrooney

Black History Month, which we celebrate every October, is always a particularly busy time at the International Slavery Museum, and in the education team we are even busier! My untidy desk is proof of this.

Black History Month is great as it brings people to the museum who may not have had a chance to learn much about Black history before. Black history isn’t just about Transatlantic slavery but also the incredible impact people of the Black diaspora have had on the world.

Black heritage plays such an integral part in shaping Britain as we know it and I think that’s why it’s such an important month.

A part of me wishes that there wasn’t the need for Black History Month, that it could just be seen as part of British history. But with proposed plans recently (though these have now been revised) to take key Black historical figures from the national curriculum I think it’s ever more pressing that we celebrate October. Read more…

New exhibition celebrating Black British dancers

6 September 2013 by Lucy Johnson

A dancer from the Jiving Lindy Hoppers performing at the Merseyside Maritime Museum

This week we have been taking down Oil Boom, Delta burns: photographs by George Osodi at the International Slavery Museum. It’s always sad to see a display close, but also a chance to put up an exciting, new exhibition! Read more…

Elroy Josephs, a tribute

9 October 2012 by Andrew

Performer Elroy Josephs

Tributes to be paid to the life and work of Liverpool based performer Elroy Josephs (1939-1997).

As part of our Black History Month 2012 programme, the International Slavery Museum presents a tribute to actor and dancer, Elroy Josephs in an evening of movement and memories that celebrates the work and artistic achievements of the Liverpool-based artist.

Elroy, who arrived in the UK from Jamaica in 1956 developed a ground breaking fusion of African-Caribbean and European dance styles that changed the way dancers and choreographers thought about movement. Central to this was his understanding of plantation slavery in the Caribbean and its colonial legacy. How he felt this history lived within him and informed his work and gave it the power and emotion he felt was essential for dance to have. Despite Elroy’s influence on British dance heritage, (he was the first Black dance tutor at a British University), his story is largely absent from the history of British Dance. Read more…

Black History Month highlights at National Museums Liverpool

8 October 2012 by Laura

National Museums Liverpool have a bumper programme of events for Black History Month. Our volunteer, Louise Beard, has picked out some highlights:


Poet with book

Poet Levi Tafari is holding workshops at Museum of Liverpool

Since 1987 October has been dedicated to highlighting Black history. For America, Black History Month began 61 years earlier in 1926. It might seem more relevant for a country whose history is steeped with well-known and influential Black figures. However, BHM in the UK also aims to emphasise the significance of Black people in British history; such as Jamaican nurse Mary Seacole who independently founded the British Hotel to nurse soldiers back to health during the Crimean war. Read more…

UK Black History Month: 25 years old and counting

5 October 2012 by Andrew

National Museums Liverpool's Black History Month 2012 poster

National Museums Liverpool’s Black History Month 2012 poster

Hello,

Welcome to Black History Month (BHM).  First of all you can find a list of the varied events we have planned by clicking here. Over the past few years BHM has had a number of detractors, mainly by those who point out that every month should be a BHM and that Black history should be embedded in all history taught as part of the curriculum.  I could not agree more, however, I still believe it is a very worthwhile event as it often the first time some people, of all ages, engage with Black history.  This might not be ideal but it is a fact.  We have similar experiences here at the Museum.  For many people we are an introduction not only to transatlantic slavery and contemporary forms of slavery but African achievement, African culture, African civilization and indeed African resistance.  All these subjects should be obligatory aspects of world and British history, but alas, we are not there quite yet, so in the meantime, let’s get behind BHM events nationwide.
Read more…

Unity Youth Theatre Toxteth project and performance

7 October 2011 by Sam

people talking by park railings and a 'Selborne Street' sign

Courtesy of Clapperboard

Here’s a report from Eilish Clarke from the Unity Youth Theatre, on a project she has been involved in connected to the current Toxteth 1981 exhibition, which is building towards a new perfomance on 28 October, as part of the Black History Month events.


“For the past few months the International Slavery Museum has been working with the Unity Youth Theatre and Clapperboard film project, to help give us a better understanding of the 1981 Toxteth Uprising. As a member of the Unity Youth Theatre, I think it is fair to say we all had very little knowledge of the topic when we first started. However, as the project has progressed we have all become very interested in learning about how the Uprising came about and how it affected the people of Toxteth and Liverpool.

During this project we have been given the opportunity to meet a wide range of fascinating people who have told us their real life stories from the events that took place in July 1981. The first person we met with was Leroy Cooper who used music, dance and photography to show us his interpretation from the Toxteth Uprising. It was brilliant to hear what Leroy Cooper had to say as he was present when the Uprisings started. The next person we met with was John, who was a fire fighter from Toxteth in 1981. He told us what it felt like to be there at the time, especially as he could understand why people were so angry, yet it was important that he was doing his job correctly. This was a really interesting account to listen to. Read more…

Do you remember Olive Morris?

30 September 2011 by Sam

This year we’ve got our busiest ever programme for Black History Month, with lots of free events taking place across several venues. Here’s some information about the subject of one of the first talks, activist Olive Morris, from education manager Vikky Evans-Hubbard:


photo of a woman with a megaphone

Copyright Lambeth Archives

“Do you remember Olive Morris? was a community art project seeking to bring to wider public attention the history of Brixton-based activist Olive Morris (1952-1979).

In her short life, Olive Morris co-founded the Brixton Black Women’s Group and the Organisation of Women of Asian and African Descent (OWAAD) and was part of the British Black Panther Movement. She campaigned for access to education, decent living conditions for Black communities and fought against state and police repression. Despite dying at a young age, she empowered the people who lived and worked around her.
 
At the project’s inception, there were no public records about Olive Morris, and no information about her was available on the internet.
 
This long term project was started in 2006 by Brixton-based artist Ana Laura Lopez de la Torre, when she encountered a photograph of Olive Morris taken by British Black Panthers’ photographer Neil Kenlock. The photo shows Olive Morris standing at a Black Panther Movement demonstration in Coldharbour Lane in 1969, and holding a placard reading: “BLACK SUFFERER FIGHT PIG POLICE BRUTALITY”. Research into this particular moment in local history led to a meeting with community activist Liz Obi, a friend and colleague of Olive Morris, who then become a key collaborator in the project.  
 
On Monday 3 October the International Slavery Museum is pleased to welcome Nadja Middleton, from the Remembering Olive Collective, who will tell us more about this inspirational young woman’s life and the project that has preserved her memory.
 
During October, Olive Morris will be added to the Black achievers wall in the Legacy gallery.
 
To reserve a place for this free event, please call 0151 478 4432.” Read more…

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We try to ensure that the information provided on our blog is accurate and that appropriate permissions to use images have been sought. The opinions in each blog are very much those of the individuals writing.