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The Thin Black Line of Soldiers: When the Drum Begins to Roll

Tuesday 15th November  2016


The Library at Willesden Green, NW10 2SF

2016 marks 100 years since the start of the Battles of the Somme - the bloodiest series of battles fought during World War I that saw approximately 1.2 million soldiers lose their lives.

Historians have begun to uncover the stories of soldiers of African descent who took part in the Battles of the Somme and many other campaigns during the war. What is often not understood is that people of African descent from all over the world fought for both sides. Men, who were blighted by combating oppression and bowed by colonial regimes, broke their backs to work and fight in the war.

Their contribution to the war would have significant effects on the course of the 20th century and the future of colonialism.

Join the historian Onyeka who uncovers fascinating information on the 'thin black line' of World War I.


Drunk on the sweets of liberty and the fruits of freedom

Friday 14th October


Royal Court - Jerwood Theatre, London, SW1W 8AS

‘The price of freedom is eternal vigilance’

John Philpot Curran.

Freedom cannot be given, or granted it is an inviolable truth. Nevertheless, ‘Man was born free, and he is everywhere in chains’ (Rousseau). Chains of psychological and physical oppression prevent us from achieving this freedom. We hold on to ignorance which binds us to a poverty of spirit and chains us to the servitude of indifference, as if our life depended upon it. Ignorance has been our friend for too long, we are addicted to it. It wants us never to achieve freedom and teaches us to fear the night, it refrains us from walking in the shadows. But what ignorance does not tell us, is that the only way one can be a star that shines for freedom is to leap into the dark.     

‘The enemies of a people are those who keep them in ignorance.’

Thomas Sankara

Join Onyeka, the writer of the new play Young Othello, as he examines how freedom or the quest for it.

The Words: African, Women and Achievement Go Together

Saturday 15th October


Palmers Green Library, Broomfield Lane, London N13 4EY

Men and women are bound to each other inseparably and the future of both sexes is based on the other. However, in a Eurocentric-patriarchal world where women’s achievements are relegated or ignored we cannot see women of African descent clearly or perhaps at all. The stories therefore of pioneering and heroic women such as Nehanda, Nzingha, Yaa Asantewa, Amy Ashwood Garvey, Amy Jacques Garvey, Harriet Tubman and Claudia Jones are ignored. The idea is that African women are/were only inferior victims of racism, or subject to the abuse of men. This perspective means that without aspirations there is no potential to achieve, achievement is ring-fenced.


This talk will explore the achievements of woman of African descent in Britain and examine how we can use their legacy to succeed in the future.

Invention and intervention African style

Saturday 22nd October


Enfield Town Library, 66 Church Street, Enfield EN2 6AX

Some of the greatest inventions or achievements ever made by mankind are anonymous. For example:  the first human being to laugh, or cry, utter a word, use fire, or start one, the first one to pick up a stick and use it to walk, or defend themselves. These kinds of inventions or achievements turned mankind from victims at the bottom of the food chain to custodians of the earth. Instead of being at the whim of nature’s vicissitudes we hold keys to the survival of the planet.  The authors of mankind’s early inventions are shrouded in mystery, fantasy and legend. Their true names have been lost in time. Instead the great leap forwards are credited to evolution or progress.

However in a world in where concepts such as: religion, race, culture, sex and class have become so important, human beings now find it important and necessary to claim certain achievements as their own. These concepts also mean that over the last few hundred years the inventions and achievements by people of African descent have been obscured, denied or attributed to others. This was to support a notion of Eurocentric patriarchal hegemony. So we forget the professors and doctors who are legion: Imhotep, Ibrahim Njoya, Haile Debas, Sameera Moussa, Cheikh Anta Diop, Charles Ssali, Ivan Van Sertima, Sebi, Neil deGrasse Tyson, George Washington Carver, Alice Augusta Ball, Lewis Howard Latimer and Granville Woods.   

Join Narrative Eye as we find out about these great inventors past and present of African descent.

Is Home Fit for all Heroes?

How Britain welcomed its returning soldiers

from Africa and the Caribbean  

The Library of Birmingham, Centenary Square, Broad Street,
Birmingham B1 2ND

Saturday 22nd October


ACSHO, 104 Heathfield Road, Handsworth,
Birmingham, B19 1HJ

The end of the Second World War marked the decline of the British Empire. The war had placed a huge financial strain on the empire and Britain had no choice but to decolonise or grant independence to many nations including Caribbean islands and African countries. During the war, soldiers had been recruited from the Caribbean and Africa to form British colonial troops such as the Royal West African Frontier Force and the West India Regiment.

At that time, being British subjects they were eligible to live and work in Britain and many did. But what did they receive from their 'motherland'?

How did the end of Empire and de-colonisation affect the lives of African soldiers who fought for Britain?


How did these events shape the race and immigration laws that were passed throughout the 20th century?


Join the historian Onyeka for two exclusive events in Birmingham to explore the lives of African soldiers in World War One.

Young, Gifted and Black

Tuesday 25th October


The Dugdale Centre, Thomas Hardy House, 39 London Road, Enfield, EN2 6DS

‘It's the young trees that make up the forest.’


This event will celebrate the achievements of young people in the community.


News reports might lead us to believe that all young men of African descent are social outcasts on the fringes of society. That they are part of a counter culture destroying the fabric of society or dysfunctional psychopaths mentally ill and leeches on the body politic. Why is there such a sustained psychological attack on a group that has the potential to be a dynamic mover in education, literature, art, music and sport?

Find out why.

Achievements of Black Women Workshop

Wednesday 26th October


Enfield Town Library, 66 Church Street, Enfield EN2 6AX

The stories of pioneering and heroic women in history are widely celebrated in many countries across the world. This retelling of their lives and accomplishments not only maintains their legacy but also provides women and girls with the desire to accomplish great things and gives them a sense of identity.

In Britain the teachings of women in history, particularly Black history, often focuses on American history, ignoring the lives of women of African descent who built communities in 18th century England, who were activists in the British Civil Rights Movement in the 1960’s, and who held the first major positions in politics.

This interactive workshop will explore the achievements of Black Women in Britain and participants will be invited to develop frameworks for utilising this important history in the future.

Participants are encouraged to attend the Achievements of Black Women Lecture on Saturday 22nd October



Join us to celebrate Black History Month every year with events across the country.