HM December 2021 Collage

Dear Readers,

Welcome back to the Black & Asian Heritage Mix’. Do you remember the Royal History Society’s highly mediatised report “Race, Ethnicity & Equality in UK History: A Report and Resource for Change” published in 2018? An interesting open access academic article by Shahmima Akhtar revisits the importance of this report, but recent funding cuts to universities suggest that studying history could soon only be for the elite.

You will therefore find below resources, news article, books and events highlighting the importance of an inclusive and diverse historical heritage.

Happy Reading!

Thushari Perera

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Please scroll down and just click on the title to access the full version of the resource you wish to read, thank you.


What Is History Now Book

Free Event: What is History Now? Panel Discussion, City University, 8 December 2021

“Based on the new collection What is History, Now? edited by Suzannah Lipscomb and Helen Carr, this event, features a number of the writers who have contributed seminal essays on themes ranging from racism , queer history, the history of faith, the history of disability, and environmental history.”

Open Access Article -Revisiting RHS’s ‘Race, Ethnicity & Equality In UK History: A Report And Resource For Change’, Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, Cambridge Core, 8 November 2021

“In this paper, I reflect on the various findings of the report related to staff and student numbers, the attainment gap between white and Black and Ethnic Minority students, the curriculum, and racial harassment in History within universities.”

 Challenging primary school history curriculum knowledge, Transforming Society, 7 October 2021

“In my book, Decolonising the History Curriculum, I examine why and how national history curriculum direction and guidance continues to be dominated by Anglocentric (White people’s) frame of reference.”

Asia in Flanders Fields Book

Free Event: Asia in Flanders Fields, National Army Museum, 16 December 2021

“Dominiek Dendooven launches his new book exploring what life was like for Chinese and Indians serving on the Western Front.”

Grappling with Europe’s racist colonial past must go beyond history books, Euractiv, 26 November 2021

“Teaching colonialism is a first step to tackle structural racism in Europe, but inequality will not be eradicated unless addressed in education as a whole, according to experts. “Colonialism, slavery and the Holocaust are embedded in our history and have profound consequences for society today,” reads the EU anti-racism action plan.”

Born in Blackness Book

Built on the bodies of slaves: how Africa was erased from the history of the modern world, The Guardian, 12 October 2021

“The creation of the modern, interconnected world is generally credited to European pioneers. But Africa was the wellspring for almost everything they achieved – and African lives were the terrible cost.”

Queen removed as head of state as Barbados becomes Republic, ITV News, 29 November 2021

“Barbados will remain in the Commonwealth but the number of Realms will fall from 16 today, including the UK, Canada, Australia, Jamaica and the Bahamas, to 15 on Tuesday…The Caribbean Movement for Peace and Integration argues the Royal Family should both apologise for any role it had during the years of slavery and pay money to Barbados in the form of reparations. Last year, the worldwide Black Lives Matter movement triggered the removal of a statue of Admiral Lord Nelson in Barbados, which was erected by the British in 1813 to celebrate victory in the Battle of Trafalgar.”


Titanic Belfast

The Six review – the Chinese survivors who were written out of the Titanic narrative, The Guardian, 16 November 2021

“What’s in a name? That evergreen question is complicated even further in Arthur Jones’s fascinating documentary, executive produced by James Cameron and informed by the research of marine historian Steven Schwankert. Following the Titanic sinking in 1912, the identities of the 700-odd survivors have been mostly claimed, except for those of six Chinese men…”


National Gallery wiki

National Gallery and Legacies of British Slave-ownership research project, The National Gallery, 8 November 2021

“This research project brings together data that helps us to understand and acknowledge the role that slavery has had in the history of the National Gallery.”

 Free Event: We Gather exhibition, Crafts Council Gallery, 17 November – 5 February

“We Gather features five female artists of Black and Asian heritage. Whilst their chosen materials and disciplines vary, their work shares a commitment to craft, its cultural value and social justice. The featured makers are Shaheen Ahmed, Lorna Hamilton-Brown, Omeima Mudawi-Rowlings, Francisca Onumah and Onome Otite.”

This Watercolor Is One of the Earliest Depictions of a Black Woman Living in Scotland, Hyperallergic, 25 November 2021

“Last week, the National Galleries of Scotland announced their acquisition of one of the earliest known images of a Black woman by a Scottish artist. “Edinburgh Milkmaid with Butter Churn” by artist David Allan is a rare, 18th-century watercolor that takes a Black woman as a primary subject at a time when they were typically relegated to the margins of portraiture.“

Mary Seacole

New Mary Seacole painting unveiled at Guy’s Hospital, The Voice, 25 November 2021

“The picture is the second major tribute to the legendary nurse at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Trust following the installation of a statue in her honour in 2016.”

 Bath hospital mural celebrates African women in healthcare, BBC News, 21 November 2021

“The Young Historians Project carried out research into who would be included in the mural, which was designed by artists Michele Curtis and Nadia Lloyd.”

 Two top art institutions given £800k to tackle racial inequality, The Guardian, 10 November 2021

“Wysing Arts Centre and the UAL Decolonising Arts Institute will use funds to amplify black and Asian artists.”

 Huw Edwards sparks Twitter row after saying he feels ‘uneasy’ about Sir Thomas Picton portrait removal, Wales Online, 3 November

“The broadcaster suggested the portrait should remain on display “as a reminder to Wales of an aspect of its past.”



Princess Catherine Duleep Singh

Event: Celebrating Princess Catherine Duleep Singh, Ancient House, Museum of Thetford Life, 27 October 2021 – 26 February 2022 (£)

“The team at the Ancient House in Thetford has joined with Peter Bance, Sikh historian and collector, to launch a new exhibition marking the life of Princess Catherine Duleep Singh on the 150th anniversary of her birth.” Book here

Links between railways and slavery to be explored in new research project, University of York, 10 October 2021

“Called ‘Slavery and Steam: steam power, railways and colonialism’ the project has received a grant from the White Rose University Consortium…As part of the project, the team will run a series of workshops, publish a handbook and create digital content such as web articles and blogs to share their findings with the public.”

Josephine Baker Army

In French Pantheon, Josephine Baker makes history yet again, AP News, 28 November 2021

“France is inducting Josephine Baker — Missouri-born cabaret dancer, French World War II spy and civil rights activist — into its Pantheon, the first Black woman honored in the final resting place of France’s most revered luminaries.”

MA Supporting Decolonisation in Museums

Supporting Decolonisation in Museums, Museum Association, November 2021

“Our new guidance, Supporting Decolonisation in Museums, aims to empower more people to take action and lead change as museums address the legacy of British colonialism.”

Read Supporting Decolonisation in Museums here.

Ancient Mayan artifacts returned to Guatemala and Mexico, Deutsche Welle, 5 November 2021

“Germany’s return of 13 Mayan cultural objects also reflects a recent trend of private collectors returning what is not theirs.”

 New slavery museum should include all of Dutch colonial past: report, Dutch News, 1 November 2021

“…plans for the museum should not be focused solely on former colonies Suriname and Dutch Antilles to start with, as originally intended. Other parts of the world, such as eastern and southern Africa and Indonesia which formed part of the Dutch colonial empire, should be included from the start…”


Nobel-linked Swedish institute seeks distance from racist past, The International News, 3 November 2021

“Stockholm: The Swedish body housing the committee that awards the Nobel Prize in medicine on Tuesday said it will rename some buildings and a street named after racialist or pro-Nazi scientists.”


Afrobeat legend Fela Kuti honoured with blue plaque in Shepherds Bush, Hammersmith & Fulham, 3 November 2021

“Nigerian musical superstar Fela Kuti was honoured with a new blue plaque in Shepherds Bush on Monday (1 November). The historical marker was unveiled at 12 Stanlake Road where singer and saxophone sensation Fela first lived when he came to London to study music at Trinity College in 1958.”



Blood and Bronze Book

Online Event: Blood and Bronze – The British Empire and the Sack of Benin, How To Academy, 10 December 2021 (£)

“David Olusoga and Paddy Docherty reveal the history of Britain’s conquest of the Kingdom of Benin and the plunder of its fabled Bronzes.”

Repatriation is a Start, but True Healing for Benin Requires More, Hyperallergic, 28 November 2021

“Equity should be discussed in the form of European and American institutions partnering with the Benin government to create sustainable museums.”



Tobias Rustat wiki

Cambridge college seeks to remove memorial to patron with links to slave trade, The Guardian, 15 November 2021

“Jesus College to appear in front of ecclesiastical court over attempt to relocate memorial to Tobias Rustat.”

 Imperial College told to remove bust of slavery abolitionist because he ‘might now be called racist’, DNYUZ, 27 October 2021

“An independent history group for the Russell Group university has recommended that a bust of the renowned 19th century biologist, dubbed “Darwin’s bulldog”, be taken down and the Huxley Building on campus renamed.”



Once We Were Slaves Book

Once We Were Slaves: The Extraordinary Journey of a Multiracial Jewish Family, Laura Arnold Leibman, 2021

“An obsessive genealogist and descendent of one of the most prominent Jewish families since the American Revolution, Blanche Moses firmly believed her maternal ancestors were Sephardic grandees. Yet she found herself at a dead end when it came to her grandmother’s maternal line…”

Citizen UK, National Portrait Gallery, November 2021

“In collaboration with Tower Hamlets Local History Library & ArchivesEaling Local History CentreMuseum of Croydon and Wolverhampton Arts & Culture we visualise migration stories from the mid-twentieth century. Citizen researchers, made up of local community members, explore local and national archives and collections along with their own stories, memories and material to tell the stories of migrant communities from their area.”

Indian Soldiers WW1

 Records of 320,000 Punjab soldiers from first world war uncovered, The Guardian, 10 November 2021

“Files found in the depths of the Lahore Museum in Pakistan have been digitised and uploaded on to a website…”

Struggles for LibertyAfrican American Revolutionaries in the Atlantic World, National Library of Scotland, 2021

“This learning resource shares stories of the struggles for liberty in the lifelong fight for social justice of African American freedom-fighters in the USA, Britain and Ireland in the 19th century.”

An interview with The Black Archives Amsterdam, Europeana Pro, 3 November 2021

“It documents the history of Black emancipation movements and individuals in the Netherlands. Currently, the archive consists of more than 10,000 items about the history of people of Surinamese or African descent in the Netherlands.”


After Lives Gurnah Book

Free Online Event: An Evening With Abdulrazak Gurnah, How To Academy, 8 December 2021

“The recipient of the 2021 Nobel Prize in Literature, Abdulrazak Gurnah tells stories of love and war, politics and history: in short, of human nature and the human heart in its infinite complexity.”

Novelist Bernardine Evaristo to be president of Royal Society of Literature, The Guardian, 30 November 2021

“Author best known for Booker-winning Girl, Woman, Other will be first writer of colour in position.”

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