‘Black history is British history’ – Jeremy Corbyn says schools should teach Black British history, Empire and slavery
Schools need to teach children about Black British history, and the history and legacy of the British Empire and slavery, Jeremy Corbyn will say on a visit to Bristol today to mark Black History Month.
The Labour Leader will hail Paul Stephenson, the civil rights activist who played a central role in the anti-discrimination Bristol Bus Boycott in the early 1960s, as a British hero whose story should be as well-known as Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott.
Jeremy Corbyn will announce plans to improve the teaching of Black British history and the history of the British Empire, colonialism and slavery, to help ensure their legacy is more widely understood across the country.
Jeremy Corbyn will emphasise the importance of the stories of Black British heroes and heroines and role models, including Paul Stephenson, Walter Tull and Mary Seacole, who campaigned for racial equality and justice in Britain, as well as those who struggled for liberation from colonial rule and imperialism overseas.
In Bristol, Jeremy Corbyn and Shadow Cabinet Minister for Women and Equalities Dawn Butler will meet and pay tribute to Paul Stephenson, and visit ‘Alone with Empire’, an exhibition of films from the British Empire and Commonwealth Collection, focused on understanding the history and legacy of colonialism.
Jeremy Corbyn will also outline Labour’s plans to support a new Emancipation Educational Trust, aimed at educating future generations about slavery and the struggle for emancipation.
Labour’s Emancipation Educational Trust will tell the story of how slavery interrupted a rich African and black history. It will deliver school programmes for young people, organise visits to historical sites, as well as focusing on African civilisation before colonisation, the resilience and sacrifice of those enslaved and the struggle for liberation.
Announcing the plans in Bristol, Jeremy Corbyn MP is expected to say:
“Black history is British history, and it should not be confined to a single month each year. It is vital that future generations understand the role that Black Britons have played in our country’s history and the struggle for racial equality.
“In the light of the Windrush scandal, Black History month has taken on a renewed significance and it is more important now than ever that we learn and understand as a society the role and legacy of the British Empire, colonisation and slavery.
“Black History month is a crucial chance to celebrate the immense contribution of Black Britons to this country, to reflect on our common history and ensure that such grave injustices can never happen again.
“That’s why the story of Paul Stephenson and the Bristol Bus Boycott is such an inspirational reminder that our rights are hard-won, not given – and of the fantastic example set by so many Black Britons.
“Paul is a true British hero and his story should be as widely known as Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott. It was the bravery and determination of people like Paul, standing up against injustice, that paved the way for the first Race Relations Act and the outlawing of such discrimination in our country.”