Express & Star: Thought-provoking and passionate talk about black history

Shashi

One of the country’s top social activists and writers has said that there needs to be a conversation about slavery and the role the Black Country played in it.

“Patrick Vernon: Documenting Black History” saw historian and playwright Jefny Ashcroft talk to Mr Vernon about black history in the city, his own experiences and stories from the past.

To re-watch the event click here

In a detailed and passionate conversation at Wolverhampton Art Gallery, the two spoke about the Black Country flag and how he had asked questions about the flag and its origins and been vilified for it.

He said: “I didn’t lead a campaign to ban the flag, but simply said the flag needs to acknowledge the history of chain makers is also linked to the history of enslavement.

“I think there is an opportunity to explore this, not just one element, but a look at acknowledging the black contribution.”

Mr Vernon also spoke about how people could get defensive about the flag because of the questions about slavery and said he wanted an inclusive conversation about it.

Away from the Black Country flag, the conversation took in a range of emotive subjects such as Windrush Day, the blue plaques around the city and Malcolm X’s visit to Smethwick in February 1965.

A passionate and knowledgeable speaker, Partick Vernon spoke about Black Lives Matters as well, reminding those watching of the Clinton McCurbin incident in 1987, where Mr McCurbin died after being held down by police officers in a city centre shop.

He said the city has just as powerful a narrative for black history as anywhere else in the country, something to think about as we move into 2021.

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To re-watch the event click here