Friday, September 30, 2005


another world view:
It is with great pleasure that I reproduce hereby, the first in a series of articles for BHM2005 that argues my point- i.e. that the true STORY/ (not HIS-STORY) has no COLOUR>

The emphasis should be promoting Black and Indigenous peoples as significant role players in WORLD HISTORY deserving to be included in order to redress the balance. We should avoid the pitfalls of commemorating the efforts of our predecessors for only in three weeks (as is the case in USA) or as in UK (for approximately eight weeks=October /November).

Lets celebrate everyday the achievements of ancestors everywhere- especially the INDIGENOUS populations, who to this day remain marginalised and almost forgotten for their great gifts to HUMANITY.
Dr Roi Ankhkara Kwabena
cultural anthroplogist & poet

It is October/November again and autumn is here. As the leaves change colour and fall, we are offered new opportunities. We can reflect on the previous months as the year draws to a close but we can also join in the celebrations of Black History Month.

Ever so often I am quizzed as to the relevance of BHM on the national and local calendar. Why should all celebrate Black History? First allow me to caution that history has no colour. To suggest thus, would be make us guilty of isolating communities. This is the very action to be avoided, if we are to achieve any level of harmony, equality and unity. Nevertheless Black peoples have contributed enormously to the world as we know it today.

We could imagine World History as a carpet into which are woven all colours of the spectrum. We have to ensure that there is no bias, by including the (once conspicuously excluded) red, brown, black and blue threads of the past.

Let us use our senses as the starting point. Food is consumed by all, unless we are restricted through health concerns. Today our taste buds are no longer challenged, as we take for granted wide choices of available cuisine in our neigbourhood.What would life be like in the *"Black Country" without the wide range of exotic fruits and vegetables that delightfully grace the shelves of the cornershop and supermarkets.

Would we easily surrender our coffee and tea mornings, our chocolate binges, Curry houses, Chinese take-aways, Caribbean , Afrikan or Latin American Restaurants as part of our English diet? I think not!

People have always traveled. We are fortunate in the Black country to have contributed over centuries to not only world trade (during and after the Industrial Revolutuion) but also migration of many locals to other cultures abroad.N.E.W.S. (North East, West & South)

Many of our predecessors were involved in the socio-cultural shift in discovery that encompassed the entire planet as Britain achieved status as a dominant sea-faring empire. Familiar surnames like Dudley, Stubbs, Archers, Downes, Thompson, Evans, Cook, Dyer, Morris, Miller, Butcher, Carpenter, Davidson, Edwards, Griffiths, Carter, Jackson, Mason, Morgan, Brown, Williams plus others have been transplanted on all sides of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. BHM is an opportunity to celebrate the rich cultural landscape that is the Black Country today.

October/November be the season to remember heroes and heroines who unselfishly served gallantly in both World Wars; those who came to help reconstruct from the wanton damage after those bloody conflicts; those who lived as our neigbours for generations/decades sharing with us their sorrows and joys (for example Birthdays, Anniversaries, weddings Parties, Carnivals, Funerals, financial windfalls etc) or even those who only recently arrived seeking "Sanctuary" from terror in their homelands.

BHM is the month to celebrate achievements in sports, culture, sciences, education, religion and politics. Genuine commemoration can also be tasting, smelling new foods, attending BHM events, visits to local libraries, elderly homes, museums; learning another language or another skill. Better still, by simply acknowledging that special person that serves you regardless of any honourary recognition.

Taste and smell October/November 2004 Black History Month.
* Black Country affectionate name of the Industrial Midlands of England

Article reproduced from the now defunct SANDPAPER- arts magazine Published 2004


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