Black History Month – additional events and news

See previous listings in

Black History Month Magazine

Patrick Vernon has done a first class job compiling and editing the new Black History Month magazine.

On the 30th Anniversary of the start of BHM it contains reflections by a wide range of those of us who have been involved in work on British Black History, including Ansel Wong, Hakim Adi, Gus John, Richard Reddie, S.I (Steve) Martin, Angelina Osborne, Alex Pascal, Linda Bellos, Jeffrey Green. Stephen Bourne and myself.

Black Salt: Britain’s Black sailors Exhibition and talks

This exhibition reveals the contribution Black seafarers have made to some of the most significant maritime events of the past 500 years. It is  based on the book Black Salt: Seafarers of African Descent on British Ship by historian Ray Costello.

Merseyside Maritime Museum, Albert Dock, Liverpool, L3 4AQ

Historian Jo Stanley discusses it on her blog at:

Croydon Black History Month

Saturday 7 October. 2pm. Secrets of the 1817 Slave Registers

Paul Crooks will talk about how he traced his African forebears enslaved on a sugar plantation in Jamaica.

Central Library, Clocktower, Katherine St, Croydon, CR9 1ET

Adults only. Free but advance booking required [020 3700 1034 or 020 3700 1038);

Friday 20 October. 2pm. Impact of African Music on Classical Music

Talk by musician Gillian Spragg about the musical influence of classical African composers, including Croydon composer Samuel Coleridge-Taylor known as the “African Mahler” in this insightful.

Selsdon Library, Addington Rd, CR2 8LA

Adults only Booking: Free. Advance booking required: 020 3700 1034;

Full programme downloadable at:

Wandsworth Diversity Month events

Wandsworth renamed its BHM as Diversity Month so it could also cover the histories and cultures of other groups who have settled in the Borough. African and Asian diaspora history remains a key part of the programme. This year the programme includes.

Tuesday 3 October. 6.30pm-8pm. The Plan to Partition India and Pakistan

Using records from the National Archives along with maps and photographs, Iqbal Hussain will explore the planning for Partition with the subsequent fall out, whereby 10 to 12 million people were displaced along religious lines.

Tooting Library.

Free – booking essential 020 8767 0543

Monday 9 October. 6.45-8pm.  First woman mayor of an African city: Constance Cummings-John

Tooting Library

Talk by Amma Poku. In 1966 Constance Cummings-John (1918-2000) became the first African woman mayor of a major African city – her birthplace, Freetown in Sierra Leone.  She was a teacher and ran a quarrying business.  As a politician she was active in local, national and black movements.  Heavily involved in the end of colonial rule in Sierra Leone, she was attending a conference outside the country, when the military staged a coup d’etat in 1967, and the city council was dissolved.  She then settled in Tooting, where she became active in Labour politics and the disarmament movement.  In 1976 she returned home and worked for the SLPP but as conditions deteriorated, she came back to London.

Tooting Library

Free – booking essential 020 8767 0543

Wednesday 18 October 6.30pm. The spirit remains: how Europe Demonised African Indigenous Religions

Talk by Michelle Yaa Asantewa at Battersea Library

During slavery and colonialism there were consistent measures to discredit, demonise and outlaw African traditional religious practices on the continent and in the diaspora.  Labelled primitive, fetish and mumbo jumbo among other derogatory names by colonial authorities, these indigenous practices continue to be negatively represented throughout the world.  This presentation celebrates these traditional practices and will highlight, despite attempts to demonise them, how Africans on the continent and the diaspora continue to venerate their ancestors and use African spirituality to experience wholeness and wellbeing, whether this is in secret or in open communal rituals.

Free – booking essential 020 7223 2334

Thursday 19 October. 6.30pm-8pm Fugitive Slaves in 19th Century Britain

Talk by Kathleen (Kathie) Chater at Putney Library.

Following the 1850 Fugitive Slave Act, many Americans who had escaped to the free states were in danger of being re-enslaved.  A number fled to Britain and spoke about their lives, going on book tours to promote their autobiographies, or finding other ways of making a living.  Who were they and how were they received?

Free – booking essential 020 8780 3085

Other BHM Events

Friday 20 October. Quiet Revolution – Songs by forgotten black British and African American composers

Nadine Benjamin – Soprano; Julien van Mellaerts – Baritone; Nathan Medina – Speaker; Nigel Foster. Piano Concert curated by Michael Harper in association with Black History Month and the African American Art Song Alliance. A celebration of the Civil Rights movement that transformed the lives of black people, and which is in many ways still ongoing. Including songs by Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, Errollyn Wallen, Florence Price, Margaret Bonds, Undine Smith Moore and many others.

Tickets: £15/£10 (plus processing fees)

Part of London Song Festival

23 October. Harrow African History Season 2017/18 Launch

Harrow Civic Centre, and will be youth-led by the Phillip siblings. Then it’s back to Harrow Mencap for the weekly Monday Xtra African History & Reasoning Sessions

18 November. African History Month UK Network Conference

Book now, whilst early bird tickets are available.

Legacies of British Slave-ownership talks etc

Wednesday 11 October. 7.30pm. Slave-owners of the Isle of Wight (*)

Isle of Wight branch Historical Association, Riverside Centre, Newport

Friday 20 October. 1pm. Who made Britain? Slavery and the Building of Modern Britain (*)

Gallery of Modern Art, Royal Exchange Square, Glasgow, G1 3AH

22 October. 11am-5pm. Slave-owners of Bloomsbury Exhibition 

Conway Hall, Red Lion Square, London, WC1R 4RL

Sunday 29 October. 10-11.30m. Statues must fall

Roundtable debate at the Battle of Ideas. Cinema 2, Barbican, London, Speakers include Nick Draper and Patrick Vernon

Wednesday 8 November. 8pm. The Forgotten Slave-owners of the Hundred Parishes and Beyond (*)

Saffron Walden Library, 2 King St.

(*)    Talks by Nick Draper, Director, Legacies of British Slave-ownership Centre at UCL

Black Tudors: The Untold Story

Miranda Kaufman’s book is being published on 5 October.

She will  be talking about the book at the following places this autumn. Click on the links below to find details of timings and how to book.

Sunday 8 October: BBC History Weekend, Winchester

Friday 13 October: Mary Rose Museum, Portsmouth

Saturday 14 October: Wimbledon BookFest

Monday 16 October: Off the Shelf Festival of Words, Sheffield

Tuesday 17 October: Five Leaves Bookshop, Nottingham

Thursday 26 October: What’s Happening in Black British History? VIISenate House, London.

Saturday 28 October: Meryseyside Maritime Museum, Liverpool

Sunday 12 November: Queen Elizabeth’s Hunting Lodge, Epping Forest

Croydon’s Slave Owners

My essay on Croydon links with the slavery business has just been published. See


About seancreighton1947

Since moving to Norbury in July 2011 I have been active on local economy, housing and environment issues with Croydon TUC and Croydon Assembly. I am a member of the Love Norbury Residents Associations Planning & Transport Committees, and Chair of Nobury Community Land Trust. I write for Croydon Citizen at I co-ordinate the Samuel Coleridge-Taylor and Croydon Radical History Networks and edit the North East Popular Politics database. History Project.. I give history talks and lead history walks. I retired in 2012 having worked in the community/voluntary sector and on heritage projects. My history interests include labour movement, mutuality, Black British, slavery & abolition, Edwardian roller skating and the social and political use of music and song. I have a particular interest in the histories of Battersea and Wandsworth, Croydon and Lambeth. I have a publishing imprint History & Social Action Publications.
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