October is Black History Month!

September 24, 20203:43 pmLeave a Comment

Black History Month 2020

Black History Month logos
Surrey Heritage LogoSurrey Heritage has supported this international awareness campaign for nearly twenty years now, acknowledging the need to preserve the history of Black lives in the county and raise awareness through our collections and outreach. However, the seismic impact of the Black Lives Matters movement this year reinforces the importance to not only celebrate the lives and achievements of Surrey’s Black people but to reveal and acknowledge how these people were treated in the past.

Our unique archive and library collections are a powerful tool in the fight against discrimination and inequality. Through education comes understanding and tolerance and we present these important life stories, some of them uncomfortable to read, using historical material from the collections and with context. We welcome any new information which helps us to develop our collections and expand the dialogue about Surrey’s Black History connections. Please contact us at [email protected].

Lucean Arthur Headen – Q&A podcast

For Black History Month we were due to host a talk by American academic Dr Jill D Snider about the extraordinary life of Lucean Arthur Headen, an early Black American aviator, who lived in Frimley and became a leading industrialist in 1930s Camberley. Whilst her talk had to be postponed due to the Coronavirus pandemic, not to be deterred, Jill has kindly recorded a fantastic Q&A session with us which can be viewed in our latest podcast https://youtu.be/6Y2w_itqHNs.

Do you have reminiscences of Camberley, Frimley Green, and Frimley in the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s? Would you like to ask Jill a question about any aspect of Headen’s life or work? Why not get in touch with her at [email protected].

Image of Lucean Arthur Headen’s British National identity Card, 1931 (Courtesy of Lucean Arthur Headen Jr.)

Lucean Arthur Headen’s British National identity Card, 1931
(Courtesy of Lucean Arthur Headen Jr.)

Marvel of the Month – Surrey’s road to Abolition

By the later eighteenth century there was growing opposition to the injustice and barbarism of the slave trade from within Britain. These vocal critics were called Abolitionists, and each had their own unique perspective, be it religious, political or philanthropic. For October’s Marvel of the Month we take a look at the Abolitionist movement in Surrey, which includes Dr Stephen Lushington, Surrey Quaker Meetings and Guildford Anti-Slavery Committee https://www.surreycc.gov.uk/culture-and-leisure/history-centre/marvels/abolitionists-in-surrey

Portrait of The British and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society Convention of 1840, painted by Benjamin Robert Haydon, 1841, featuring Stephen Lushington of Ockham Park (left side of painting, 2nd row down from top, seated 2nd right), Sir Thomas Fowell Buxton (seated to the left of Lushington), and Lady Noel-Byron, of Esher (right side of painting, 2nd row up from front, seated 3rd left). (Copyright National Portrait Gallery)

Portrait of The British and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society Convention of 1840, painted by Benjamin Robert Haydon, 1841, featuring Stephen Lushington of Ockham Park (left side of painting, 2nd row down from top, seated 2nd right), Sir Thomas Fowell Buxton (seated to the left of Lushington), and Lady Noel-Byron, of Esher (right side of painting, 2nd row up from front, seated 3rd left). (Copyright National Portrait Gallery)

Read our article with Surrey Live about four Abolitionists in Surrey everyone should know about https://www.getsurrey.co.uk/news/surrey-news/black-history-month-4-inspirational-19032835

Discover more about Black History in Surrey

Black people have moved to Surrey from all over the world for centuries and become part of the county’s amazing diversity. As a result they appear in the county’s historical records from the sixteenth century onwards from which we can glean an important insight into their lives. Discover some of Surrey’s inspirational Black History stories at https://www.exploringsurreyspast.org.uk/themes/subjects/black_history/

GoSurrey online magazine are featuring the story of Lucean Arthur Headen this month along with the Exploring Surrey’s Past Black History pages at https://www.gosurrey.co.uk/celebrating-black-history-month-in-surrey/

Read our article with Surrey Live about Harold Brown, a Black soldier who served in the Queen’s (Royal West Surrey) Regiment in the First World War.

Read our article with Surrey Live about Black health care workers in Surrey who helped build the NHS

Surrey Life Magazine are featuring some of our amazing local Black History stories, including Lucean Arthur Headen, John Springfield and Phillis Wheatley, in the October magazine https://www.surreylife.co.uk/people/black-history-month-1-6864271

Image of Phillis Wheatley’s Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral, 1773 (SHC ref 1487/118)

Phillis Wheatley’s Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral, 1773 (SHC ref 1487/118)

Joseph Marryat of Wimbledon House, MP, was chairman of Lloyds of London and a merchant with many interests in the West Indies. His family feature prominently in UCL’s database of Legacies of British Slave Ownership. For Black History Month you can discover more about Wimbledon’s links to the slave trade with this blog from our friends at Summerstown182 Project https://summerstown182.wordpress.com/2020/07/16/the-village-people/

Tracing Black family history?

From World War One to Windrush, tracing black ancestors can be challenging but more sources are now available online than ever before and there is an exciting new awareness of British black cultural history. Read our guide to sources at https://www.surreycc.gov.uk/culture-and-leisure/history-centre/marvels/black-history-month

Image of John Springfield of Guildford, cobbler and lay preacher, c.1880s (SHC ref 1714/1)

John Springfield of Guildford, cobbler and lay preacher, c.1880s (SHC ref 1714/1)

Follow our Seeking Surrey Ancestors blog which for October reviews a key Black genealogy website (2 Oct) and reveals unexpected local Black History links in Dorking (6 October), and explores how we might feel having slave owning ancestors.

Read more about what’s going on for Black History Month with Surrey County Council in the October edition of Surrey Matters magazine.

Watch out for Surrey Heritage Black History Month social media posts throughout October on Facebook and Twitter

Surrey Libraries

Discover inspiring literature with the Surrey Libraries Black History virtual reading lists:

Surrey Arts

The Orchestra of Unlimited Potential (UP!)
Launching on 3rd October as part of Black History Month, this term UP! Orchestra will be focussing on Music of Black Origin (MOBO).

Each week this award winning ensemble will be looking at a different music genre, its cultural origin and paying special attention and appreciation to how music of black origin remains the beating heart in the myriad of music genres that continue to shape our lives and the world around us. Find out how to join the UP! Orchestra at https://www.surreycc.gov.uk/culture-and-leisure/arts/music/ensembles/county-ensembles.

Find out more about the Black History Month campaign at https://www.blackhistorymonth.org.uk/.

Written by ESP Admin

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