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Police Commander is one of the role models being recognised this Black History Month

A Hampshire Police Commander is one of a number of Black role models in the south being recognised during this year's Black History Month.

Superintendent Alison Heydari has spent her police career on the beat in Hampshire, working her way up through the ranks over the years. She is now one of the highest ranking black female officers in the country.

Black History Month runs throughout October to acknowledge the contributions of black people today and throughout history. The organisers say these histories often 'overlooked' by the school curriculum and throughout the year. Its theme this year is Role Models and throughout the south there will be a series of events including art exhibitions, lectures and concerts.

Superintendent Alison Heydari joined us in the ITV News Meridian studio to talk about Black History Month, serving the Southampton community and to offer advice to anyone wanting to join the Constabulary:

Reading bus drivers take to the kitchen to celebrate black history month with some exotic cusine

A little spice on the canteen menu with foods from Africa and the Caribbean

They're more used to negotiating their way through the traffic in Reading, but this month some of the town's bus drivers have been swapping their uniforms for aprons.

They've taken over the kitchen at the works canteen to serve up dishes from different parts of the world. It's all to celebrate Black History Month. Penny Silvester went along to see how well the food has been going down.

The interviewees are bus driver Tricia James, Pablo Stevens - bus driver and Sierra Leonean chef; Randy Bancroft - Caribbean chef, and Shelley Townsend - bus driver.


A colourful calendar of Black History Month events

St George's schoolboys at Black History Month launch Credit: Unity 101 Community Radio

Event organisers in Southampton are looking forward to opening their doors for a month long celebration of Black history.

It's the 11th year Black History Month has been celebrated in the city and community organisations and businesses are getting ready to host activities.

With exhibitions, screenings and musical performances planned, people of all ages and ethnicities can be entertained while learning about the positive contributions that Black people, over the years, have made in the south.

Events include:

  • An exhibition exploring the role of Black women in society by Radian Housing, from 11am to 2pm on Saturday 3rd October, at the Newtown YMCA, Graham Road.
  • A presentation of a ‘Black Plaque’ to the Red Cross, in honour of Red Cross volunteer, Mae Street-Kidd (1904–1999). From 11am, Thursday 15th October, at the Royal South Hants Hospital, Mary Seacole Wing at the Healthy Bites Cafeteria.
  • First showing of the short film BLACK, which stars Black men from Southampton. From 8pm to 9pm, Friday 16th October at The Stage Door, 78 West Marlands Road.
  • The One World Fair, showcasing Southampton's cultural diversity through food, interactive stalls and workshops. From 2pm to 5pm, Friday 30th October, at Southampton Solent University, Sir James Matthews Building.
  • Godfrey Brandt's Chords and Lyrics 2, an evening of spoken word poetry and jazz, from 7.30pm on Friday 30th October at Mettricks Tea & Coffee House, 117 High Street.

For a full calendar of events visit, Discover Southampton.

Black History Month underway in the region

Black History Month has been launched in the South. The four weeks of music, dance and exhibitions aim to promote knowledge of black history and raise cultural awareness. Key themes this year are 'Black Women in History' and a campaign to teach black history in schools. Interviewees: Stephanie Pitter, Black History Campaigner, and Lou Taylor, Black History Month Coordinator.


Hampshire Police celebrate cultural diversity

Hampshire Police Chief Andy Marsh hosting the event Credit: ITV Meridian

Hampshire Police are today hosting an event as part of Black History Month to celebrate cultural diversity and challenge prejudice and hate crime.

Joe Harriott's music now reaches wider audience

The history of music is full of talented people, who never had the recognition they deserved during their lifetimes. That's especially true for black musicians, among them jazz saxophonist Joe Harriott. He died, destitute, in Southampton, in 1973.

He'd been a trail-blazer in the 1960s and now, as part of Black History month, he's finally being brought to a wider audience. Rachel Hepworth joined fans and friends of Joe who gathered at his graveside to pay tribute.

She spoke to his biographer Stella Muirhead; Southampton's Black History co-ordinator Don John; and those who knew him including Concorde Club owner Cole Mathieson, and Marilyn Layton, who nursed Joe in his final weeks.

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