Black

History

Resources

 

 

Below are my favourite resources for Black History. I've been trying to find engaging and accurate Black, Colonial and non-White Home education materials for the last 2 years and decided to make my results-so-far public after George Floyd's murder.

 

For Non-White History integrated into a Global History curriculum, please go to the History section.​

Key Periods in Black History

 
This is a quick list to help you spot major gaps in your Black History! It took me a long time to realise that I needed to look at Black British History after the Windrush generation at all, I had always focused on America, and it is only quite recently that I realised the Kingdom of Ta-Seti, Kush and Ancient Ethiopia even existed.
Ancient African History:
  • Ancient Nubia (Ta-Seti), predating Egyptian Empire. First writing.
  • Ancient Egypt (Kemet), seen as an African Kingdom based on migration history and written evidence of later invaders
  • Ancient Kush, which absorbed Nubia
  • Ancient Ethiopia
  • Ancient Ghana
  • Science, architecture, coinage, etc.
Medieval History:
  • Medieval Ethiopia
  • Ancient Ghana
  • The Songhai Empire
  • Great Benin
  • The Kanem-Borno Empire
  • The Munhumutapa Empire, a huge empire known to the Europeans as encompassing much of Southern Africa
  • The Swahili Confederation
  • Long-term tensions between Islam and Christianity in Europe, North Africa and the Near East
Trans-Atlantic Age
  • 15th century, 3 million Africans forced to leave Spain and Portugal, many killed. Native American genocide. Mass enslavement begins 1441. Accepted by Pope.
  • 1570 Spanish celebrate "The Day of All Saints" by killing 50,000 Africans living in Spain.
  • Portuguese burn Swahili cities
  • 1590s, Arabs, British and Spanish destroy Songhai Empire
  • 1609, British take over Bermuda.
  • During 17th century, Holland, England and France join the Spanish and French in slave trade in mass numbers.
  • Maroon Societies, Francis Drake and Maroons, Nanny
  • Maroon attempts to take over Jamaica and Barbados, resistance in the USA
  • Haitian Revolution
  • Abolition and Black Abolitionists.
  • Role of White women in making White male abolitionist be more aggressive in their approach, including refusing funding until they agreed to more ambitious aims.
  • Pan-African Movement
1830-onwards (focusing on UK)
  • The gradual end of slavery by the British Empire, finally abolishing slavery in Nigeria 1936.
  • Grab for land in Africa
  • Civil Rights in the UK and America
  • 19th century Black civil rights activities
  • 1900 Pan-African Conference
  • WWI and WWII
  • Fight for Independence in Africa
  • Windrush Generation
  • Exclusion from rental properties, the 'pardner' system, White resentment at Black immigrants buying houses
  • Race riots including 1958-9 and 1981
  • Claudia Jones and the Notting Hill Carnival
  • Guy Bailey, the Bristol Bus Boycott 1963 and Race Relations Act 1965
  • Jocelyn Barrow
  • Sus Laws, Stop and Search, bias among the police
  • Martin Luther King
  • Black Power
  • Teddy Boys
  • Enoch Powell
  • 1994 South Africa under majority Black rule
  • 1997 Kofi Annan UN secretary, 2008 Obama, 2016 Trump
  • Deaths of Stephen Lawrence, Trayvon Martin and George Floyd
  • Contemporary racism and inequality against Black people across the Globe
  • Currently estimated around 40 million people enslaved on any given day from across the World

Books!

I have only included history books that you could use to teach for a good number of sessions or base a section of a curriculum around. There are lots of lists of beautiful individual biographies and biography collections elsewhere online.
Get your kids to look at the dates of their textbooks. What are the earliest books or textbooks they can find including major points of Black History written for children? My children were surprised by how late these books begin to be released.

Black History Matters

Robin Walker

Robin Walker, "The Black History Man" has made a huge contribution to Black History research. This children's book is visually-appealing and concise. It spans Ancient Nubia to Obama, with its largest section on African Empires, inc. Nubia, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kush, West Africa, the Nigeria region and Munhumutapa.

Black History (6-Book Series)

Dan Lyndon

6 Book Series: Ancient Empires, Africa and the Slave Trade, Resistance and Abolition, Civil Rights and Equality, Arts and Music, and Community and Identity. Focuses on Black stories, for example on Black resistance over White abolitionists. The most complete, colour-illustrated, primary-age friendly materials I have.

In Africa with Avi and Kumbi

Nomalanga Mkhize

(Coming out soon in English! Has great reviews). Written by a South African professor, historian and Mum, it covers rock art, ancient civilizations, ancient trade, African philosophy, slavery, colonialism and struggles for independence. Looks child-appealing, brightly illustrated and thorough. Author interview here.

19 Lessons in Black History

Robin Walker

19 lessons, mostly celebrating African and Black contributions to the World and Black Resistance, from Ancient Empires to the Pan African Movement. 5 lessons dedicated to early Black scientific contributions. Includes source work and exercises. Aimed age 11-14.

Black British History 1948-2016

Robin Walker

Hurray! A detailed Modern Black British for kids! Aimed at 11-14 year olds. Includes source work, exercises and black-and-white source work picture gallery. 

If You Want to Learn Early African History, START HERE

Robin Walker (again!)

Aimed at adults who want quick on early Empires. Includes answers to 50 questions at the back. Useful for my eldest to fill in gaps from Black History Matters book.

Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race

Reni Eddo-Lodge

Aimed at adults to explain racism and anti-racism. Page 1-56 has concise History of Black-White race relations in the UK. First book by Black author to top the Timesbest-seller list since list began, 1998. Teenage-friendly.

My African Icons

Mr. Imhotep

Yes, I did say I wouldn't include biographies. But this one is focused on pre-slave trade history, has a really good breadth and I couldn't resist putting it in. I found the forward section helpful.

Trips!

I've tried to focus on places to visit where children can see, touch or experience something obviously from Black History rather than unmarked sites or sites with only plaques. 

Notting Hill Carnival

London

The World's second biggest street carnival with approx. 2.5 million attendees annually. Its origins include "A Caribbean Carnival" 1959, a response organised by Claudia Jones in response to widespread racial attacks, such as the Notting Hill Race Riots of the previous year. Claudia Jones is included in most Modern Black British History curriculums.

The Cheddar Gorge and Caves

Somerset

The site where The Cheddar Man was found. DNA most likely outcomes are that he was light-eyed, black-skinned, lactose-intolerant. The earliest complete human skeleton found in the UK. Dated approx. 10,000 years old. 46 descendants with matching DNA found in the Somerset area. I'm not sure if this fact is discussed, but his head appears to have been cannibalistically eaten in a ritual. Site includes Museum of Prehistory, beautiful scenery, caves with stalactites, vista tower, multimedia experience. 

The International Slavery Museum

Liverpool

Dedicated slavery museum in a city with deep Trans-Atlantic slavery connections. Tackles Trans-Atlantic slavery, racism, Black History from slavery onwards, gives space to reflect and looks at modern slavery. There are an estimated 40 million currently enslaved on any given day.

Bristol Museum

Bristol

Incredible Egypt display, Benin Bronzes and more. Prince Edun Akenzua of the Royal Court of Benin has specifically called for Bristol to lead the way in returning these objects. Bristol is looking into returning the objects. The Benin Bronzes were taken from Benin during a violent invasion by the British in 1897. Most child-friendly of the big, empire-filled museums I've seen.

The British Museum

London

The World's largest collection of priceless Benin Bronzes. Objects from Ancient Nubia, Sudan (including Ancient Kush) and Egypt, etc.. The Ivory Coast, Senegal and the DRC has made formal requests for many of these objects to be returned, which France and Germany have committed to, whilst the UK has not. The British Museum is not engaging in these discussions. Crowded and quite tiring for little ones because of its sheer scale, don't aim to do more than one section.

The Ashmolean

Oxford

Large, accessible Egyptian collection, easy for children to see objects. Ethiopian early Christian items. No suggestion they are returning objects. One Oxford professor used this shrine as his study.

The Pitt Rivers Museum

Oxford

Huge African collection including 327 Benin Bronzes. Museum is working on "cultural decolonisation", including working with originating communities and discussing item repatriation. A jam-packed Museum, stuffed floor to ceiling with items from around the Empire. Not as child-friendly as the Bristol or Ashmolean Museum.

Portchester Castle

Hampshire

Large, impressive Saxon castle right on the beach. New exhibition documents the French PoWs held at Portchester in 1796, of which 333 were White, 2,080 were Black and 99 were women and children. In 1794, French-controlled Guadaloupe's slaves became free. Two year's later, the British defeated the French. The conditions of surrender were that the Black captives were treated as PoWs, not slaves. After their release, the Black captives returned to fight for the French, experienced segregation, then attempted re-enslavement by Napoleon. Many PoWs fought against re-enslavement. After a long struggle, 400 of the Black soldiers were surrounded. They chose to blow themselves up with gunpowder rather than be re-enslaved. See website.

The Fitzwilliam Museum

Cambridge

Has objects from Kemet (name for Egypt popular with Black historians), Nubia (inc. Kush) and Sudan. Has constantly changing exhibitions, objects and multimedia. Recently had an exhibition on the history of Afro combs. Hard to tell how it is doing ethically. Aimed at adults.

The Natural History Museum

London

Human history, of which most is Black. Currently holds the skeleton and reconstructed likeness of The Cheddar Man, the light-eyed, black skinned skeleton found in the Cheddar Gorge and Caves (see above). Recent evidence suggests that his head might have been eaten in a ritual.

Britain's Forgotten Slave Owners

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b063db18

Parents watch. Contains graphic torture. Covers reach of slave trade into UK life. Includes methods of torture, the slave trade's legacy in banking, capitalism and infrastructure, where and how many British people had slaves, Abolition, anti-Black propaganda and Histories, reparations to slave owners

Dear Dope White Mum

https://podcasts.apple.com/at/podcast/31-dear-dope-white-mum/id1503347953?i=1000476515479

Podcast from support group Dope Black Mums. Free, unstructured conversation between 5 Black Mums about how they feel post-George Floyd and what they want White Mums to teach their kids. One of the podcasters is an awesome home educating Mum.

The Ancient Trade of Benin Bronzes

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/business-50466986/the-ancient-trade-of-benin-bronzes

A 4-minute video showing Benin bronzes, how they are made, the building of new museums in Benin and Nigeria to house ancient items, the scattering of items across the World, the demand for their return and Western museum responses. For kids too!

The School That Tried to End Racism

https://www.channel4.com/programmes/the-school-that-tried-to-end-racism

Kids go on a two-week anti-racism course at a school run by racism experts. Lots of ideas in how to explain race. Recommends abandoning the "colour blind" approach and tackling the subject head-on.

Dave - Black

https://www.youtube.com/watch?reload=9&v=mXLS2IzZSdg

From the BRIT Awards, 2020. Rap with a huge amount of History, culture and racism exposure. YouTube has lots of clips of reactions to this song. The rap is so information dense you could take the lyrics and use each line as a section of a Black History curriculum. Emotionally powerful.

Media for Parents and Kids

© 2020 by FRANCES MATTHEWS