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Southampton launches Black History Month 2017

The launch event featured an afternoon of inspiring talks and entertainment

Imagine your neighbours starting up a petition to have your family moved from the street where you live. Or your young daughter being told she wasn't allowed inside her friend's house. Those were the experiences of some black people when they came to the UK in the 1950s and 1960s.

The 13th Black History Month has been launched in Southampton today with the theme 'knowledge empowers'. Organisers say that, while there is less racism today, it still exists and education is a powerful weapon. Kerry Swain reports.

You can find out more about the events during Black History month nationwide online.


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.

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