Residents celebrate Hackney's black history

Hackney Council's celebrations of Black culture and achievements in the borough are well underway. Over 200 people attended the Black History Month (BHM) opening event, including Diedre Mills, Jamaica’s Deputy High Commissioner, and Renuka Köninger, representing the High Commissioner of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. 

The launch took place at Hackney Museum which unveiled its BHM exhibition 'Celebrating 50 Years of Independence for Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago'. The display traces the story of the Caribbean islands from the days of the Arawaks and the Caribs, through to Enslavement and Abolition, up to Independence in 1962.  It also showcases memories of Hackney people who remember life on the Islands before Independence and explores what independence and the value of freedom means to us all today. 

In addition to the exhibition a programme of free entertainment and educational activities are being enjoyed by adults, children and young people across the borough.  Hackney's first official Black history walk led by Simon Cole of Hackney Tours was attended by more than 30 people who learnt about the importance of Black culture in the borough including: Hackney's twinning with Grenada, local buildings named in commemoration of African Caribbean heros as well as the significance of Dianne Abbot becoming the first female MP. 

Hackney Central Library also played host to the 'Black Leadership and Democracy' event, which explored the Black leaders throughout history who paved the way for the today's Black political figures. Hackney resident, Mr A.T Gbaiye, who attended the event said: "I now know much more about the participants of our history."

Up and coming events include: 'Finding the Spotlight: Supporting the next generation of Black female leaders' includes a panel of leading women who will take part in a debate to discuss the future of Black female leaders at the C.L.R James Library on 18 October at 6pm ; 'Afro Beats Dance' at Stoke Newington Library on 24 October at 4pm and 'Tracing Your African and Family Tree' at the Hackney Archives on 27 October at 2pm.

For more information and the detailed programme of activities, visit: Events take place at the Hackney Museum and across libraries until the end of November 2012, with the exhibition running until 12 January 2013.  Some events require you book in advance. 

Black History Month is an national annual celebration of the contribution that Black African and Caribbean communities have made both locally and across the globe.  

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