It has been my absolute honour to give a keynote and speech today for Sutton Grammar School for girls for Black History Month. During the the course of giving my talk I realised that the girls had never been taught many of the fundamental facts about African Diaspora, why Britain is so multicultural and how this has lead to the shaping of society today. This lead me to ask the question ‘Why is black history condensed to one month’?
The term Black was introduced into the English language by the English in the 60’s and was a marginal step up from being refrred to as a Negro. It is a term which I personally find insulting and most African Diaspora prefer to be refered to as POC or WOC. POC have fought and died for Britain since World War 1 and following the Second World War and The Windrush Generation of 1948, POC were the backbone of the United Kingdom. Capitalism was built on Slavery which is the number one component that enabled many nations to have their current economic success and status.
POC have contributed on every level of our society and can be traced as far back as the 9th century in Scotland . Several years ago I wrote about many of Britain’s historical and sensational POC figures that seem to have been hidden or written out of history. For example the Kenneth the Dub the Black King of Scotland. Unfortunately, much of Scotland’s history is contained within folklore and therefore not deemed as being proof of their past history but what it does prove is that Europeans and Africans have been trading and working together long before colonisation took place. Another such figure is Sarah Bonetta, I wrote about her in great details more than six years ago and she has only now got her own wikipedia page. She was adopted by Queen Victoria and had great influence over her peers becoming part of the British Royal Family. She was beloved by the Queen and honoured with a Royal Wedding.
Did you know that in 1906, John Archer was the first black politician to be elected to public office as a councillor in Battersea, and in 1913 became Mayor of London? In more recent history talents such as Sharon White who is the current chief executive at Ofcom, Toponeswa Mavunga Head of Publicity at Colombia Records UK or Ann Marie Imafidon a genius and child prodigy for mathematics have all contributed to British society but are not widely recognised by society. WOC are particularly marginalised and our significant contribution again seems to be ignored or written out of history. In the UK General Election earlier this year, a record 41 black and minority ethnic MPs were elected to the British Parliament. Of course this shows some level of progree but I often think that many of the problems with representations of POC in the media are as a direct consequence of this preference to segment and remove POC from mainstream education. It is my goal to work towards POC history to be included in the general education system of the United Kingdom.
If we are truly living in the most technologically advanced period of our lives then surely socially we must try to rise to the challenge. POC should not be defined as ‘Black’ and ‘other’ they should be recognised as human beings for their significant contribution to the world and their ability to overcome what must surely be thee most oppressive, degrading,violent part of world history.