- Category: Black British History
The results of the Operation Black Vote online petition of 36,000 people support of over 70 MPs and extensive media coverage is very similar to the impact to the original campaign of 100 Great Black Britons back in 2003. The U turn by Gove demonstrates not only people power but also exposes the government perspective around race equality and the value of black historical experience.
My original idea for 100 Great Black Britons was inspired at a time I was working as a senior manager for the NHS in Brent when I was mentoring at Fryent Primary School. I was a key stakeholder around the campaign working with Brent Council, the Police and community organisations on ‘Not Another Drop Campaign’ which was first major social marketing campaign to tackle issues around gun crime. Also at the time I was a volunteer mentor for Dalston Youth Project.
I wanted to provide a positive perspective for all young people on black achievement after the BBC did not have any black or minority ethnic person on their 2002 Great Britons campaign which the public voted for Winston Churchill.
The 100 Great Black Britons website and campaign played a role along with others influencing the national curriculum by encouraging schools and the public to debate, research and vote for their Great Black Briton. Mary Seacole was the winner and she was elevated in to the mainstream with inclusion in the national curriculum and my website site used as a resource for schools click here
However, we must recognise that with the recent decision made by Gove this is a partial victory as the draft curriculum now has deleted the history of Africa prior to the slave trade. The proposed curriculum will deny children and teachers the opportunity to learn about the great African civilisations as reflected in the book that I published back in 2006 and written by Robin Walker 'When We Ruled' www.whenweruled.com. The African Heritage Forum recently launched a report on the current deficiencies in teaching African history and heritage at key Stage 2 and its impact on pupils, parents and the community. click here
The fight needs to continue and thus Every Generation will be working with Operation Black Vote, Runnymede Trust, Institute of Education , Black and Asian Studies Associations, academics ,teachers, and grass roots organisations to campaign for an inclusive national curriculum which reflects the history BME communities, women and working class history. We have until the 16th April to respond to the consultation on the curriculum. Further details click here (history curriculum pages 165- 171)
For the online submission form click here