Friday, 11 November 2016

BILL RICHMOND prizefighter

as evident from the date below, I intended to publish this post in September, but failed, because I intended to write more fully.
Bill Richmond will probably feature in the next instalment of BLACK & BRITISH FORGOTTEN HISTORY on BBC2 on 16 November, so here is a partial preview...
The memorial plaque (alas temporary) is under the black cloth

an unusual gathering at a central London pub on 13 September - although a very apt location, as the Tom Cribb pub marks the district between Haymarket and Leicester Square where pugilists were to be found in the Regency years, when prizefighting and sparring were cross-class [male] attractions.

Sunday, 6 November 2016

BHM and British government position

Black History Month, in my recollection, started slowly, then took off and grew vigorously around 2003, with the Great Black Britons list, and 2007 with the bicentenary of the Slave Trade legislation. More recently, it seemed to have diminished, as if the community had found other subjects of interest and concern, while the rest of us had just lost interest.  But this year has witnessed an immense resurgence of Black History events and initiatives, especially at local level, which have evidently been a good while in gestation  - so many that I hope someone is keeping a record of all Black History events in 2016, or some may get overlooked and thus again forgotten.

When I was researching images of Black Victorians many years ago, the message from the Black community was that one can't find what isn't there - and Black History wasn't there for the good reason that Britain had ignored or buried it - that is, absence was the story of Black History.
It still is in many respects.  But the recovery work that has been and is being done demonstrates yet again that [temporarily] invisible does not means non-existent and that almost everywhere one looks historically speaking one finds evidence of hitherto  unrecognised Black presence.

The upcoming four-part series Black and British a Forgotten History, written and presented by David Olusoga on BBC2, is the latest manifestation.  I don't have the full list of the 20 memorial plaques marking Black historical presences and personalities that structure the series, One might think that  some like Sarah Bonetta Davies, Francis Barber and Bill Richmond are in fact pretty well known,  but it's probably true that most audiences will either not have heard of them, or don't recall any details.  Indeed, history of all kinds is so swiftly overtaken  and re-forgotten that everything needs repeating regularly.  Or Black History can vanish again.