Black History Month is back in Wandsworth after five year hiatus

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Black History Month is back in Wandsworth after five year hiatus

Postby Community Editor » Mon Oct 07, 2019 10:07 am

After a five-year break, Wandsworth Council has brought back Black History Month following a campaign by the borough’s black politicians.

In 2014 the council rebranded the celebration as ‘Diversity Month’ in a bid to make it "more reflective" of the population.

 However this was met with some backlash.

“I immediately wrote to the council’s leader demanding that it be brought back in full," Battersea’s first black female MP Marsha de Cordova said.

"Black History Month is an important part of the educational calendar and I was very alarmed to find it being watered down in Wandsworth.

Councillor Maurice Mcleod was equally alarmed when he found out about the rebrand.

“This is public-sector speak for ‘all lives matter’," he said.

"Of course all cultures should be celebrated, but why does this have to be at the expense of specifically "We wouldn’t expect Chinese New Year to be rebranded as “Asian New Year” or change Gay Pride to “Everyone be Happy Day”.

Cllr Mcleod argued “at a time when black communities are facing a number of challenges and when far-right rhetoric is on the rise, it is important that we have a nuanced and full understanding of our histories.

"Ideally this would be part of standard historical education but while this is still lacking, we need Black History Month."

But this year the council has reintroduced a full slate of activities and events to celebrate.

Councillor Kemi Akinola ran her own campaign last October, highlighting black achievement and intends to do the same this year.

“Growing up in Roehampton the only opportunity I got to learn about whitewashed colonial black history was at school in October and this was limited to the slave trade and gold in Benin," she said.

“To find this month dissolved would mean that children would miss out on understanding the rich culture and influence that the black and Asian peoples bring to this country.

"As a the only millennial Cllr of African Caribbean Heritage, I felt I had a duty to educate my peers and Wandsworth Council using a Twitter campaign and embarked upon a month of educating the council in some of the achievements and history of the Black people worldwide.”

The trio thanked the council for "having the good sense" to bring it back in full.

A council spokesman added: “October will see a celebration of black history in Wandsworth’s libraries with more than 20 separate events being staged, while a programme of events celebrating our other diverse communities will be held at other times throughout the year.”

For Black History events in Wandsworth, visit: https://www.blackhistorymonth.org.uk/li ... andsworth/

And for events at local libraries, visit: https://www.better.org.uk/news/black-hi ... -libraries

Photo: Cllr Kemi Akinola, MP Marsha de Cordova and Cllr Maurice Mcleod
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