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Black history matters

Historian David Olusoga visited Redmaids High School during Black History Month

Today, our students received a special visit from historian, author and broadcaster David Olusoga.

David, whose recent TV work includes House Through Time and the BAFTA award-winning Britain’s Forgotten Slave Owners, was invited to the school as part of the girls’ history studies, and his visit coincided with Black History Month.

While addressing the senior school, David explained why black history matters. He said, “Black History Month is about finding a history that all of us can relate to. The British population continues to increase in diversity so that by the middle of this century, one third of its people will be black or of minority ethnic origin. Our history must therefore work for the country we are going to become.”

He also reminded us that we are part of something bigger. “You are part of a longer story” he told the students, “living as you do in an old city and attending such a historic school.

“To understand why we are the way we are, we have to understand history is not just what happens here, but what happens around the world and how everything is connected.”

Following his talk, in a Q&A session, David said to Sixth Form historians, “I sense your generation is much less willing to tolerate a sanitised version of the past. You use the internet to actively search for truth and I sense a real willingness to question orthodoxies, which is very positive.”

Finally, during a recorded broadcast for the school’s radio station Redmaidio he discussed a range of issues including education, the environment, Brexit and cultural identity with Freya and Layla, both of whom have applied to Oxford University to study history. “I don’t feel guilt or shame about my ancestors,” he told them, “but I do feel a responsibility to discuss what happened.”  

Speaking of his visit, Mrs Warrington, Redmaids’ High Head of History, said, “David reminded us that some of our history is very difficult and painful. But that’s all part of it and we can’t pretend it’s not.”

David is Professor of Public History at the University of Manchester and was awarded an OBE in the New Year Honours 2019 for his services to history and community integration.

Date Posted: 18 October 2019
Humanities Senior

Articles for: Humanities, Senior

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