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Windrush Day 2020

On Monday 22nd June at 10am the newly designed Windrush Celebration flag was raised above Preston Town Hall to mark Windrush Day. The event celebrated the wide-ranging contributions of the Windrush community to the city.

The event was attended by PBHG Chair, Clinton Smith as well as many of our other friends in the Caribbean community and other Commonwealth neighbours.

Preston Mayor, Councillor David Borrow, commented “The raising of this flag on Windrush day recognises the struggle endured by the Windrush generation.

“It also marks the vast and continued contribution people from across the Commonwealth have made to Preston and the UK as a whole through music, food, business and their invaluable addition to our NHS and front line services.

“I am proud to be part of raising this flag and saying thank you to everyone who has added to the rich cultural tapestry of our city.”

Thanks to Tony Maiden for some great pictures.


Windrush Day 2020

To Celebrate Windrush Day 2020 we’d like to share some of the photos from our 2019 celebrations organised with IBAR (Institute for Black Atlantic Research) andf SDA Church, Grimshaw St, Preston.


Preston Black History Group and Institute for Black Atlantic Research Statement of Solidarity on the Killing of George Floyd

Preston Black History Group and the Institute for Black Atlantic Research condemn and deplore the mindless killing of George Floyd by white uniformed police officers from the Minneapolis police department on 25th May 2020. Our thoughts are with his family, friends and those who have been affected by the truly horrific images of racialised violence perpetrated by these officers. Words cannot adequately convey the sorrow that we likewise feel for the families of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and the multitudes of Black men, women and children who have lost their lives at the hands of white law enforcers in America and around the world. These tragedies weigh heavily on the hearts and minds of Black communities, not least because they resonate painfully with the traumatic memory of slavery and its forceful legacy and prevailing structures of white supremacy. We stand in unequivocal, unrelenting and impassioned solidarity with those protesting against long histories of systemic racial injustice, colonialist violence and exploitation.

The coronavirus pandemic has also exposed the significant racial inequalities in global healthcare infrastructures, especially in the UK and the US, and recent reports have revealed that those from BME backgrounds are between three to four times more likely to die from COVID-19 than white Britons. These glaring realities force a necessary admission: that racism is not rooted merely in individual acts of hate and violence, but in systems, structures and institutions at the very core of our society.

PBHG and IBAR’s Commitment to Black History and Culture and Racial Justice

Preston Black History Group was formally constituted in July 2011, following years of operating as an informal group largely designated with the task of organising and facilitating Black History Month events annually. The newly constituted group set out with the aim of ‘Researching, Preserving and Celebrating Black History and Culture, a shared history FOR ALL’. There is a widespread acceptance within Black communities that our place and contribution to mankind has not been given the credit we believe it deserves. With this in mind, the Group set out to highlight, unearth and disseminate Black history, culture and achievements. We believed that the celebration of such stories would encourage the elder generation to recognise and take pride in their contribution to Black history and culture; the younger generation to see role models who looked like them; and the wider community to learn about the contributions made by people of African origin to society.

The task is not an easy one: when we look around at present structures and in most establishments and institutions there is a distinct absence of Black representation. We have worked with a number of groups, institutions, organisations and others on educational programmes to show our history and to challenge their employment processes. This is a long, slow process, but we are not easily disheartened.

We have delivered our educational programme to various bodies including Preston City Council, the Harris Art Gallery and Museum, Preston and West Lancashire Racial Equality Council, Trade Unions, Local Housing Associations, HM Prison Service and many others. We organise outings to various places of cultural and historical interest within Lancashire and beyond. These trips are all a part of our continuous learning programme for the larger community. The Group operates all year round, but the jewel in our calendar has to be the month of October, which opens with an event titled ‘Black To The Future’. This event shines a light on Black achievers largely from the local area, with the aim of sharing the message of Black success with a mixed audience including many who make decisions about employment. We will continue to campaign for equal treatment and equality of opportunity based on skills and qualifications and not on the colour of one’s skin and we re-state our aim of Researching, Preserving and Celebrating Black History and Culture, a shared history FOR ALL.

UCLan’s Institute for Black Atlantic Research was founded in 2014 to further the study of African Atlantic literature, history and culture, and to foster dialogues with local educational and community organisations working across these areas. At the start of this year, IBAR, in conjunction with the Making Histories Visible Archive, opened its doors to Black womxn practitioners from across the country striving to create, collect, nurture, curate and offer sustainable solutions for preserving the legacies of Black womxn’s art. The event generated important conversations, amplifying the voices of Black womxn creatives, nourishing the spirit of collaboration and celebrating an indebtedness to a multimedia archive of Black art and creativity. Despite the challenges that the current pandemic poses, we hope to continue to steer many more such conversations, whether virtual or in-person, in order to further our mission. We understand, however, that we need to go further.

We recognise the systemic and structural imbalances within academia and within the cultural and creative industries. The last report issued by the Higher Education Statistics Agency revealed that fewer than 1% of university professors identify as Black. We can and must work to change this. We pledge our commitment to working with our partners and with our wider membership in order to better serve the interests of Black minority ethnic communities both locally and globally. We promise to mentor and support the work of aspiring Black scholars and creatives and, wherever possible, lend space to their vision and, above all, we promise to centre African Atlantic voices, histories and cultures within our pedagogy and our scholarship. IBAR was founded with this very mission in mind, but although anti-racist and decolonial approaches remain at the core of what we do, the fight is far from over.

When the revolutionary General Toussaint Louverture, who led a slave revolution in the French colony of Saint-Domingue (now Haiti) was captured by French colonial forces in 1802, he declared: ‘In overthrowing me, you have cut down in Saint-Domingue only the trunk of the tree of liberty; it will grow back from the roots, for they are deep and numerous’. Together, Preston Black History Group and the Institute for Black Atlantic Research will nurture the roots of antiracist activism in the campaign for liberty, justice and equality, and will work together to create enduring change.


” Digging Deep ” exhibition

Preston Black History Group are planning a second trip to the National Coal Mining Museum in Wakefield on  Thursday, 27th February 2020  to visit the ” Digging Deep ” exhibition, the story of Miners of African Caribbean Heritage in England.

This exhibition  runs from 21st September 2019  until 08th March 2020, and has been on display in Wakefield since September. The Curator of this exhibition is Norma Gregory who will be joining us the day of our trip to guide us around her exhibition. 

The details for the visit are as follows:

  • Date:  Thursday 27th February 2020
  • Departure from Jalgos Sports and Social Club 09.30 GMT
  • Return to Preston approximately 18.30-18.45
  • Cost:  £10.00 for your transport, entry to the Museum is free.   Refreshment is not provided. 

A £5.00 deposit secures your place on the trip and will be on a first come first serve basis.  This should be paid directly to Clinton Smith. Places are limited, book early. Clinton  can be contacted on 07583343866.  

Further details about the exhibition can be found at 

For further details about this and other trips planned for the summer of 2020 please contact 


Digging Deep Exhibition trip: Nov 2019

In Nov 2019 we organised a trip to the National Coalmining Museum in Wakefield to see the Digging Deep – Miners of African Caribbean Heritage exhibition. A fantastic day where we were shown round by the exhibitions curator, Norma Gregory, and greeted by the new Museum’s director, Jenny Layfield. The exhibition is on until 8th March so get yourselves over to Wakefield for a great experience.


Creative Conversations: Black Women Artists Making & Doing

Influences and Inspirations of Literature and Language on Black Women’s Creativity

Organised in celebration of the many achievements of Prof. Lubaina Himid, CBE, RA: 35 years of art making, curating and creating conversations, and the first black woman to win the Turner Prize (2017).

16th January 11:00-17.30, Media Factory (ME 414): Artists talking about their own practices and processes of making, with presentations by Christine Eyene, Prof. Lubaina Himid, Evan Ifekoya, Claudette Johnson, Jade Montserrat, Dr Ingrid Pollard and Marlene Smith, plus an artist roundtable discussion.

17th January 10:00-16:30, Scholars Restaurant, Foster Building: art historian/curator/archivist talks on black women’s creativity, including Ego Ahaiwe, Dr. Anna Arabinden-Kesson, Prof. Celeste-Marie Bernier, Dr Catherine Grant, Dr Ella S. Mills, Prof. Griselda Pollock, Prof. Dot Price, Prof. Alan Rice and Dr Zoe Whitley.

Plus: slideshow of works by Joy Labinjo, ROOT-ed zine stand and visit to the Making Histories Visible Archive.

Booking essential at: www.ticketsource.co.uk/institute-for-black-atlantic-research

*****

Also on 16th January 18:00-21:00: In Conversation with Lubaina Himid and Jackie Kay

Booking required separately through Eventbrite. Please email IbarUCLan@uclan.ac.uk to obtain a booking link for this event, and for any other queries about the Symposium. See also https://ibaruclan.com


BLACK AND BEAUTIFUL IN THE ANCIENT WORLD

Friday 10th Jan – Dr Runoko Rashidi : Black and Beautiful in the Ancient World. Lecture at ACFA (WIOCC), 74 Carmoor Rd, Manchester, M13 0FB

Tickets: £7 from jus-tickets.com or £10 on the door. Food on sale from House of Hasheba

DR. RUNOKO RASHIDI, Scholar, Historian, Author and Lecturer, the man on a global journey in search of THE AFRICAN PRESENCE will be giving a lecture and promoting his latest book, BLACK AND BEAUTIFUL IN THE ANCIENT WORLD, in MANCHESTER on 10th January 2020!

He is the author or editor of eighteen books, including BLACK STAR: THE AFRICAN PRESENCE IN EARLY EUROPE and THE AFRICAN PRESENCE IN EARLY ASIA.

As a traveller and researcher Dr. Rashidi has visited 120 countries, and lectured/presented in 65 of those countries.

Dr. Rashidi has worked with and under some of the most distinguished scholars of our generation, including IVAN VAN SERTIMA, JOHN HENRIK CLARKE, and YOSEF BEN-JOCHANNAN (Dr. BEN).

As a TOUR LEADER, he has taken groups to FIVE CONTINENTS, and he is the official Traveling Ambassador for Marcus Garvey’s Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) and the African Communities League.

Dr. Rashidi is currently pursuing a major work on THE AFRICAN PRESENCE IN THE MUSEUMS OF THE WORLD.

Dr. Rashidi will be delivering a lecture entitled ‘BLACK AND BEAUTIFUL IN THE ANCIENT WORLD’.


Monday 28th October – Queen Quet: “The Reality of Being Gullah/Geechee.”

12.30 to 2.30 pm. Creative Innovation Zone (ME 414), Media Factory, Kirkham Street, PR1 2HE (Sat-Nav/mobile maps postcode PR1 1JN). The event is free, but please register on Eventbrite by clicking on this link.

Celebrating Black History Month at UCLan, the Institute for Black Atlantic Research (IBAR), in conjunction with the Lancashire Research Centre for Migration, Diaspora and Exile (MIDEX) and the School of Humanities and Global Studies, is proud to present:

Queen Quet, Chieftess of the Gullah/ Geechee Nation (www.QueenQuet.com)

Queen Quet, the elected Head-of-State and spokesperson for Gullah/Geechees, is on a “Healin’ de Land World Tour” to raise funds and awareness on behalf of the Gullah/Geechee Nation, which is situated on the Sea Islands in the Atlantic Ocean off the southeastern coast of the United States. In her interactive histo-musical presentation, she will provide information on how this unique ethnic group of people of African and indigenous American descent have either been left out of history books or misrepresented in fictional films and books. Gullah/Geechees are proud people of African descent who have maintained their own unique language, music, foodways and traditions. Their way of life is currently under threat from the effects of climate change, including increasing intensity of hurricanes and sea level rise. Queen Quet will take us on a journey through their cultural history, the continuing legacy of the TransAtlantic Slave Trade, human rights and their current stand to stay on their land.


Philip Duncan RIP

It is with great sadness that we say goodbye to one of our founding members and supporters. One of the leading lights of Preston Caribbean Carnival with his own troupe – Spectrum Association – Philip made keeping Caribbean culture and heritage alive in Preston his main objective in life. He introduced many young people to their heritage and gave them a sense of pride and belonging.

He will be greatly missed.

posts about Phil on our website are here and here


Refugee Week 2019 – Lecture – Windrush Day Celebration: ‘ Black is Beautiful?’

Date and Time

Fri, 21 June 2019

13:30 – 15:00 BSTA

Location

UCLan – University of Central Lancashire

Foster building – Scholars Restaurant

Kendal Street

Preston

PR12HE

Limited places. So booking is a must!

Refreshments and an afro-caribbean food will be provided.

Booking link

African people have been in Britain for centuries and for centuries the British have complained.

The influx of immigrants from the Caribbean between the arrival of Empire Windrush and the start of the 1970s forced this country to look closely at its relationship with a people who it was happy to take from Africa to labour in the Caribbean then take from the Caribbean to labour in the UK, but not happy to reward with respect and human dignity. Decades of projects, policies and papers followed focussing on integration and equality. Unfortunately, the emphasis has always been on Africans being accepted as British not the British accepting African. There has been a huge shift in the cultural identity of the African community in this country since the Windrush generation. This cannot be attributed to natural, organic cultural growth.

Whilst Africans first became Black then Black British on their journey to acceptance, African culture and values were left behind and remain almost as reviled today as they were made to be for the facilitation slavery and colonialism.

Physical beauty is one area where African and European cultural values clash.

The importance of physical beauty is often underestimated today. It has been argued that those who do not conform to mainstream ideals of what is beautiful can experience fewer employment opportunities, fewer career progression opportunities, low self-esteem, social isolation and even poor academic results.

African people naturally fall outside of mainstream European ideals of beauty. For centuries African people have been categorised as ugly (skin too dark, hair too nappy, body too big). African communities the world over experience problems with skin bleaching, hair relaxing and unnecessary cosmetic surgery as individuals strive to distance themselves from themselves. Research into areas such as body dissatisfaction and beauty and self-esteem suggest that stronger cultural awareness can help to address these problems.

‘Black is Beautiful?’ is several questions being asked of the African community: Is black beautiful? What defines black beauty? Is colour the real issue? Is it necessary to proclaim?