Well done to the winners of a recent competition for schools and young people aimed at celebrating the remarkable achievements of key black British individuals throughout history and up to the present day. The competition was based on the 100 Great Black Britons campaign founded and run by Patrick Vernon OBE and the historian Dr Angelina Osborne. Patrick is a social commentator, campaigner and cultural historian. He is the founder of Every Generation Media, a social enterprise promoting and developing products and information on black history.
The aims of the competition, according to the competition website, were to:
I am just amazed with the fantastic response and quality from entries which were completed during the last Covid lockdown by schools and children. This is one of the biggest school competitions supporting and celebrating black British history to date. This demonstrates the appetite and hunger for learning and for more inclusion of black history in the national curriculum.Patrick Vernon, quoted in the Guardian
Children under 16 were asked to look at the biographies of the people in the 100 Great Black Britons list and use the information to create “a unique and innovative project to celebrate their work and legacy”. The project could be anything from a speech or poem to a piece of visual art or music.
Young people aged 16 to 25 were asked to write an essay or create a podcast or video on black British identity and heritage.
In recent posts we have argued the case for a fully diversified curriculum, engaging a wide range of subjects to develop all students’ knowledge and understanding of history and their sense of identity and belonging.
We have also argued that “the study of history should give children a sense of what makes British society what it is today and their place in it.” It is through history that children develop an increased sense of belonging, an understanding that they are part of something that is bigger than their close circle of family and immediate neighbours.
History is key to building the strong, vibrant and closely knit communities that benefit us all.
The image at the head of this article is from the 100 Great Black Britons website.