Singer Faith Child and Crystal Palace footballer Wilfried Zaha are the special guests at tomorrow night’s launch of Black History Month in Croydon, being staged at the council’s office building, Fisher’s Folly.
But anyone thinking that the local council in one of the country’s most diverse boroughs might be behind a series of diverse and vibrant events throughout October are likely to be very disappointed.
Croydon Council’s own listings of events for Black History Month includes just 30 talks, screenings, walks or performances for the coming weeks – and not even all of those are being staged within the borough.
The council’s flimsy 20-page pdf for Black History Month has three blank pages, and only eight pages with events taking place in Croydon. The rest of it bulked up with London-wide listings.
Divided into sections for Croydon North, Central and South, the council can find only three events in the south of the borough for the whole of the month, and lists just eight events in the north of the borough.
This comes as the council, under Labour leader Tony Newman, has handed over £160,000 of its arts funding to private business Boozepark for it to stage its launch party – tickets 17 quid and upwards – at the end of October.
Few of the events taking place for Black History Month in the borough have been organised or paid for by Croydon Council. Many, such as film screenings in the David Lean Cinema or the newly opened Stanley’s Film Club in South Norwood, have been organised independently by community-spirited volunteers.
The paucity of activities in the borough’s libraries – usually a reliable source of such community events for Black History Month – is a worrying trend, indicative of the under-funding and under-staffing of the borough’s library service since it was outsourced to building firm Carillion.
An exception to that is the chance to meet the creator of Rastamouse, Michael D’Souza, who will be appearing at libraries in Thornton Heath, Ashburton and New Addington, and booking is recommended to reserve a place.
“By celebrating the traditions of our communities through story-telling, literature, film, festivals, crafts, and dance we can bring people together and promote greater awareness, respect and understanding among all of us,” the council’s press office had Hamida Ali, the cabinet member for communities, saying to pay lip-service to Black History Month.
Places are still available for the launch night, which is being held from 6pm to 8pm at what some people continue to call Bernard Weatherill House on Cost A Mint Walk on October 4. Fortunately, visitors are not required to bring a mop.
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Details of relevant Black History Month events in Croydon will be listed by Inside Croydon on our comprehensive community events listings, which is updated daily
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Thirty…how many bloody more events do you need? That’s one per day for goodness sake.
I’m black, and I really wish we didn’t import American crap like Black History Month. We really need to stop doing that. If Afro Americans wish to segregate themselves from the rest of American society then so be it, we don’t have to emulate them. Black History Month in America is borne out of a completely different black history, there are few if any parallels.
I, for one, am very satisfied with the scarcity of black history events. I only wish there were fewer.
Another pessimistic article. This blog is a joke
Thems the facts. If you find them “pessimistic”, then welcome to the real world.
Having been to some Black History month events in another London Borough, where I worked until recently, I would like to give a positive response, as I have learned a great deal, about the life stories of individuals and groups of some well known –and hardly known– black people– and mixed race people. Their stories are often inspiring, and deserve to be much better known by people of all racial backgrounds in our time.
I am talking not just of of performers and musicians– but also of people who became politicians– doctors–artists- soldiers–airmen– nurses– activists– mechanics– builders– sportspeople. Of course, people like cricketer Learie Constantine and singer Paul Robeson managed to do rise to worldwide recognition in more than one field in their lifetimes.
The key difference is that many of these people have too often had to succeed in the face of initial indifference and quite often , active discrimination, from the host British (mainly white)society–and helped other black people to do the same. Good on them !
Many of these back Britons and people came here from the then Colonies , when to be part of the Empire was (or should have been) the key to the same opportunities as white people, but the reality was very different. Many are heroes.
For this reason, I think that Black History Month is important in opening up to better public view and understanding, the History of Black people in this country over 2000 years–as yes, black people were part of the Roman Empire as well as the British.
I would urge everyone to take in an event during this month of October, Black History Month.
I don’t think you will regret it. You will gain historic knowledge, insights, understanding, and even, inspiration.