International Slavery Remembrance Day

Did you know that August 23rd is recognised as International Slavery Remembrance Day? No, me neither. I hadn’t even heard of this day before and I doubt many schools/organisations or other important bodies will be holding events to mark it but obviously that doesn’t diminish its importance.

The terrible consequences of the transatlantic slave trade are remembered on August 23rd because that’s the day a successful uprising of enslaved Africans took place in 1791 on the island of Saint Domingue (now known as Haiti).

So wo were fi na wosankofa a yenki - It is not wrong to go back and get that which we have forgotten.

So wo were fi na wosankofa a yenki – It is not wrong to go back and get that which we have forgotten.

I’ve just been reading about it and one part of the country that seems to be doing its bit on the day is Liverpool which has organised a range of events on Tuesday including a lecture by writer/poet and hip hop star Akala and a walk of remembrance.

In London I found details on an Afro-fusion festival which is currently going on in Brixton and lasts for three weeks ending on August 29th. According to the festival’s organisers its “main intentions are to celebrate and promote Afro-Caribbean arts and culture whilst at the same time re-examining the transatlantic slave trade and our subconscious view on the continent of Africa as a result.”

The Royal Museums Greenwich are also having a Day of Reflection from 11am-4pm – which will include lectures, re-enactments and a solemn commemoration ceremony by the River Thames and Black History Studies are holding ‘Breaking The Chains’ film festival which culminates on Friday September 2nd with the film Tula: The Revolt which is about how the Haiti uprising spread to Curacao.

A memorial service also took place in Trafalgar Square on Sunday August 21st, which was apparently the first one ever (hopefully of many) and on Tuesday itself people are being asked to observe a two-minute silence at 11am in honour of the hundreds of thousands of victims of the transatlantic slave trade.

I really hope that this day will grow in importance and will be talked about more, especially in schools and universities, as more people become aware of it and do their bit to spread the word.

By recognising this day we can all show how vital it is that we don’t forget the injustices suffered by our ancestors, while also celebrating how far we have come because of their sacrifices but keeping our eyes, hearts and minds open to how much still needs to be done in the fight against racism and for full and unconditional inclusion.

Please tell everyone you know about Slavery Remembrance Day.

Read more here: Slavery Remembrance Facebook page

Calling all black Londoners

So I must start by apologising for not posting on this blog for months – life has just been too hectic and I have not had the time I would like to devote to communicating on the site. But I hope I can make some more time in the future, so thank you if you are still out there and interested in what I am posting on the contribution of black Caribbean people to the UK.

So in my first post back, I would like to draw your attention to an event I saw advertised on Twitter which fits in nicely with this blog as it’s a lecture series examining the black community in London before 1948.

Obviously some people reading this will not be based in London so can’t take part but even if this message just highlights the work of Black History Studies, which is running the series, then I will be happy.

I’ve said it before but it’s worth repeating that it is essential for everyone to know more about their history and especially in this day and age when more than ever people must be made aware of who they are and where they are from, so that they don’t become lost and detached from their roots and susceptible to brainwashing and manipulation.

Anyway please check out the course and Black History Studies when you get a chance – and check back here for more posts on black people in Britain which I promise I will produce more of in the future.

Black Londoners: The history of black people in London before 1948 – a short course

Calling all BAME writers

And following on from my post earlier in the month about the Bare Lit Festival – I’d like to encourage anyone who is interested to take part in this competition for Black and Ethnic Minority writers living in the UK – BAME Short Story Prize – it’s organised by The Guardian and the 4th estate and has a prize of £1000 for the winner.

And please also check out a publisher that I just found on Twitter called Kamaria Press which calls itself a “not-for-profit African and Caribbean publishing house with the aim of distributing original and uninhibited works of literature” – this is the Facebook page – Kamaria Press

I’ve said it before, so I’ll say it again, it’s so important that our story is told in our words and we must support each other as much as possible for this to come about.

I am happy to promote any organisation, event and/or individual that is dedicated to the aim of encouraging and enhancing the Black community in Britain.

Further reading:

Well-Read Black Girl

Marie Claire article on the ‘invisibility of black women writers’

Happy New Year

So Christmas and the New Year are out of the way and it’s time to once again start posting on this blog – I just hope there are still people out there following it.

I’ll begin with a simple shout out for a new event taking place in February showcasing writers and poets from the Black Caribbean community, amongst others, called the ‘Bare Lit Festival’.

Bare Lit Festival

Bare Lit Festival

According to the event’s website the festival, which is the first of its kind dedicated to Black and ethnic-minority writers, has been created because “last year, the UK’s three largest literary festivals featured over 2000 authors… and of those only 4% were from Black Caribbean, Black African, South Asian or East Asian backgrounds”.

The festival has been organised by a group called Media Diversified which “seeks to cultivate and promote skilled writers of colour by providing advice and contacts and by promoting content online through its own platform”.

I’ve said before on this blog how important I think it is that as a community we try to support and encourage each other, so it would be great if anyone who sees this post could also promote it, as well as trying to go along next month.

Let’s hope it leads to new recognition, respect and exposure for writers in the UK from all kinds of backgrounds.

Further coverage:

The Bookselller – Bare Lit Festival to celebrate BAME authors

LondonList: New Festival celebrates ethnic minority writers

Black History Month

So just a quick post to draw your attention to some of the events that are going on to mark Black History month. I don’t know if it’s me but this year there seems to have been even more effort put into making BHM more meaningful and telling some important stories.

BHM_640x280 The Black Cultural Archives are putting on a range of events including a look at the lives of Black people during the Georgian era 1714 – 1830 – Black Cultural Archives – Black History month events

BHM-webbanner3 Goldsmiths University are also marking the month with various events which are part of the official launch of the institution’s upcoming – MA in Black British Writing Goldsmiths – Black History Month events

BlackHistory And Black History Walks London is having a talk on “the African, Caribbean and Asian war effort with video clips and interviews with black Spitfire & bomber pilots, Nigerian and Somali troops fighting in Burma, black and asian women secret agents, u-boats in the Caribbean and the importance of Africa and India’s raw materials.” – http://www.blackhistorywalks.co.uk/talks/talks-on-african-history-of-london

There are also events going on in other parts of the UK – check out the Black History Month website for more information – Black History Month – National Listings

I think it would be great if Black people in Britain supported as many of these events as possible because all of our stories are important, and it’s essential we learn about them, especially from the people who experienced it first hand – no one can tell ‘our story’ more truthfully and clearly than us.