Black History Month at Felsted

by Mr R Pathak, Head of History

Looking back many decades (!), the History that I studied at School was actually rather narrow and restrictive; and seemed at times little more than a chronicle of the deeds and mis-deeds of various English monarchs. Black people were almost entirely absent from this narrative. Our understanding of British history has become more inclusive in recent years but much remains to be done; and so to mark Black History Month- and to celebrate the many and varied contributions that black people have made to British life- we are running a competition, the details of which are linked below.

We hope that as many members of the Felsted community will enter the competition as possible and by doing so, broaden their understanding of British culture and history; finding out a little more about figures who arguably deserve to be better known than they are. 

The format of the competition is as follows: as part of Black History Month, we would like to invite Felsted students to produce an individual response to one of the black British figures listed below, each of whom has made a significant contribution to British society either in the past or the present:
 

  1. Olaudah Equiano - Olaudah Equiano was a former slave whose writings did much to promote the cause of abolition in late 18th century Britain.

  2. Mary Seacole - Mary Seacole was born and grew up in Jamaica, but came over to England in 1854. She asked the War Office if she could go to help wounded soldiers who were fighting in the Crimean War but she wasn't allowed. So she raised the money herself and travelled to the Crimea. Here, she looked after British soldiers who had been injured.

  3. Samuel Coleridge-Taylor - Samuel Coleridge-Taylor was an English composer and conductor. His best known piece is Song of Hiawatha.

  4. Walter Tull - Walter Tull was a former professional footballer who fought in World War One. He was killed in action in 1918.

  5. Learie Constantine -Learie Constantine was a leading West Indian cricketer and an early campaigner against racism in the UK. He was awarded a life peerage in 1969 and became the first black man to sit in the House of Lords. 

  6. Cyrille Regis - Cyrille Regis was a pioneering black British footballer who played for a number of leading clubs in the 1970s and 1980s. He also played for England five times.

  7. Stephen Lawrence - Stephen Lawrence was a black British teenager who was killed in a racially motivated attack while waiting for a bus in April 1993.

  8. Paul Stephenson - having spent his early years in Great Dunmow, Paul Stephenson was a leader of the UK Civil Rights Movement and a bus boycott in Bristol in particular.

  9. Malorie Blackman - Malorie Blackman was the children’s laureate between 2013 and 2015. Her critically and popularly acclaimed Noughts and Crosses series uses the setting of a fictional dystopia to explore racism.

  10. Beverley Knight - Beverley Knight is a leading British soul singer. She has also appeared in musicals and worked as a TV presenter.

  11. Alex Scott - Alex Scott is a former England footballer who now works as a TV pundit. In 2019, she was a contestant on Strictly Come Dancing.

  12. Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock - Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock is a space scientist and science educator. She is an Honorary Research Associate in University College London’s Department of Physics and Astronomy. Since February 2014, she has co-presented the long-running astronomy programme, The Sky at Night.

  13. David Olusoga - David Olusoga is a leading historian who is Professor of Public History at the University of Manchester. 

  14. Betty Campbell - Betty Campbell was Wales’s first black headteacher. She pioneered the teaching of black history in schools and was later a member of the Home Office’s Race Advisory Committee.

  15. Sislin Fay Allen - Sislin Fay Allen was Britain’s first black policewoman, joining the Metropolitan Police in 1968.

 

Alternatively, you can select a black British figure who is not on this list if you prefer. Once you have decided on a figure that interests you, we would like you to research their lives and respond in one of the following ways:

 

  • A short 4- 500 word piece of writing summing up the significance of the individual and why they deserve to be recognised and/or remembered.

  • A short video no longer than 7 minutes summing up the significance of the individual and why they deserve to be recognised and/or remembered.

  • A poem summing up the significance of the individual and why they deserve to be recognised and/or remembered.

  • A piece of music summing up the significance of the individual and why they deserve to be recognised and/or remembered.

  • A piece of artwork summing up the significance of the individual and why they deserve to be recognised and/ or remembered.

 

The deadline for entries is Monday 1 November.  All entries should be e mailed or shared with rp@felsted.org.


 

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