bringing out the best in boys

Black History Month

Posted at 11:43 am on 14th October, 2021

Recognising Black History in our Curriculum

In marking this year’s Black History Month, we would like to highlight some of the black people we study across the History curriculum here at Wellacre. Whilst we agree wholeheartedly that marking Black History Month every October is hugely important, we recognise that the history of black people should not just be taught in isolation in this one month of the year. Students at Wellacre will encounter black history as they progress through their learning from Year 7 to Year 11.

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Black lives studied through the Wellacre History Curriculum from Year 7 to Year 11:

John Blanke - a royal trumpeter in the courts of Henry VII and Henry VIII, and remains the only black Tudor for whom we have an identifiable image.

Jacques Francis - an expert swimmer and diver, both skills common to his native land, but extremely rare in Tudor England, Jacques Francis was part of a team hired to salvage guns from the wreck of the Mary Rose in 1546.

Diego the Circumnavigator - a personal manservant to Francis Drake, the first man to circumnavigate (sail all around) the globe, stealing gold, silver and other treasures from the Spanish. Diego played an important role by acting as a spy, translator and negotiator for Drake.

Reasonable Blackman - made an independent living as a silk weaver living in Southwark c. 1579-1592. The silk industry was new to England but its products were the height of fashion.

Cattelina - was one of a number of Africans recorded in rural locations in the Tudor era, Cattelena lived in the small Gloucestershire village of Almondsbury, not far from Bristol, until her death in 1625.

Mansa Musa - 14th Century Malian Emperor, considered by many to have been the richest man who ever lived. 

Harriet Tubman - a freed enslaved woman in the USA who aided the escape of many other enslaved people via the ‘Underground Railroad’.

Henry Box Brown - a 19th-century Virginia enslaved man who escaped to freedom at the age of 33 by arranging to have himself mailed in a wooden crate in 1849 to abolitionists in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Toussaint L'ouverture - led a successful slave revolt and emancipated the enslaved people in the French colony of Saint-Domingue (Haiti). A formidable military leader.

Walter Tull - an English professional footballer and British Army officer of Afro-Caribbean descent. He fought in the Battle of the Somme, and died in 1918.

Sam King - who first came to England as an engineer in the RAF during the Second World War but returned to Jamaica in 1947. Failing to settle there, King took passage to London on the famous 1948 Empire Windrush sailing. 

The Windrush Generation - people arriving in the UK between 1948 and 1971 from Caribbean countries. We study their experiences and valuable contribution to British society.

Locita Brandy - one of the first organisers of the annual Moss Side Carnival back in the 1960s. This event has evolved into the Manchester Caribbean Carnival. Students study sources from her personal archive. These lessons have been created by Wellacre teachers in conjunction with PHD students from the University of Manchester and Historic England. Our lessons will soon be made available for other schools to teach. 

Jesse Owens - an American track and field athlete who won four gold medals at the 1936 Olympic Games.

Stephen Lawrence - a black British teenager from southeast London, who was murdered in a racially motivated attack in 1993.

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Black History Literacy

In History lessons, we also study the work of black historians and writers, including Professor David Olusogu, Andrea Stuart and Andrea Levy

We also encourage students to read books by black authors, and are specifically promoting these texts that are available in our school library:

Clean Getaway by Nic Stone - A satisfying, timeless read about a family’s history which intersects with the American civil rights movement, and reminds readers of the long-lasting impact of racism and intolerance.

Ghost Boys  by Jewell Parker Rhodes -Twelve-year-old Jerome is shot by a police officer who mistakes his toy gun for a real threat. As a ghost, he observes the devastation that’s been unleashed on his family and community in the wake of what they see as an unjust and brutal killing.

Black and British by David Olusoga - When did Africans first come to Britain? Who are the well-dressed black children in Georgian paintings? Why did the American Civil War disrupt the Industrial Revolution? These and many other questions are answered in this essential introduction to 1800 years of the Black British history: from the Roman Africans who guarded Hadrian's Wall right up to the present day.

Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman - an alternative history in which native African people had colonised the European people, rather than the other way around, with Africans having made Europeans their slaves. The series takes place in an alternative 21st-century Britain.

We look forward to exploring both the historical real-life stories of the fascinating individuals detailed here, and the wonderful writings of the black authors we are promoting, not only in Black History Month, but throughout the academic year.

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