October 6, 2016, by Paula Akpan
Black History Month at the Centre for Research in Race and Rights
Hannah Jeffrey, a PhD student in American Studies with research interests such as the Black Power Movement and Emancipation and Abolition, introduces the events being hosted by the Centre for Research in Race and Rights for Black History Month 2016.
Whilst 2015 celebrated the 50th anniversary of the US Voting Rights Act and UK Race Relations Act, 2016 marks the 50th anniversary of Black Power. In 1966, on a warm summer night in Greenwood, Mississippi, members and chairman of the Student Non-Violent Co-ordinating Committee (SNCC) took to the stage and issued, for the first time, declarations of Black Power. “We want Black Power!” Stokely Carmichael and Willie Ricks cried to a captivated and energised audience. Four months later, the slogan reverberated across the US and took root in Oakland, California where two young men by the names of Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale were formulating the idea of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense. Using Carmichael’s slogan as a founding principle for their organisation, and building upon the ideologies of the late Malcolm X, the Black Panther Party became a fundamental cornerstone of the Black Power Movement.
However, the Black Power Movement is frequently over-shadowed in public memory by the Civil Rights Movement, or misunderstood as the Civil Rights Movement’s evil twin. This year’s Black History Month programme by the Centre for Research in Race and Rights (C3R) and the University of Nottingham, is peeling back the curtain that conceals the Black Power Movement and celebrating its 50th anniversary, as well as shining a light on other pivotal moments of Black History. C3R will host major events and offer a platform for discussion on social justice, freedom, ethnicity, tolerance, respect, and citizenship. To stay up to date on our events for Black History Month and in the future, head over to our website or follow us on Facebook and Twitter. We will often live-stream events or report live via Twitter. If you are interested in topics related to race and rights, C3R is your go-to place to engage with world-leading academics, activists, and artists.
Our Black History Month 2016 programme kicks-off with C3R’s flagship annual conference, The October Dialogues, this year titled ‘Unspeakable Things Unspoken’: Transatlantic Slavery, A Public Conversation, on Wednesday 12 October from 9:30am-9pm and Thursday 13 October from 10:30am – 3:30pm in The Space, Nottingham Contemporary. The two-day conference will examine the ways in which slavery has figured in public history in Britain. Hearing from museum and heritage professionals, artists, community historians, activists, academics, poets, performers and educators, the conference will consider how academic history has shaped public perceptions of slavery and how public debate has challenged and inspired scholarship. Day 1 table discussions will culminate in evening performances, conversations and music that explores transatlantic slavery and legacies through the work of renowned Jamaican poet Jean ‘Binta’ Breeze, and regional artists Michael Brome, Panya Banjoko and Marcus Joseph. Day 2 is a half-day workshop and will focus on local history activism in Nottingham and the East Midlands. Attendance is free, but please register online for a guaranteed place.
Following the October Dialogues is our Black Power Film Festival, Black Power at 50! on Saturday 15 October from 11am – 6pm in The Space, Nottingham Contemporary. We will screen three films about the history of Black Power: Black Panther Party: The Vanguard of the Revolution (an award-winning 2015 documentary that charts the rise and fall of the Black Panther Party); The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975 (an award-winning 2011 film that examines the evolution of the Black Power Movement in American society); and Revolution ’67 (an award-winning documentary detailing the six-day revolt against poverty and police brutality in Newark, New Jersey in 1967). There will be brief introductions to the films and a public conversation at the end of the last screening. Attendance is free, but please register online for a place.
Wednesday 19 October sees a public lecture in collaboration with the Department of American and Canadian Studies, from 6-8pm in the Clive Granger Building, room A41, on University Park Campus. Professor Manisha Sinha, Draper Chair in American History at the University of Connecticut, and world-leading expert on the history of slavery and abolition, will offer a new history of abolition, arguing that abolitionism was a radical social movement and depended upon the actions of enslaved people themselves. Please register online to attend.
The following evening, on Thursday 20 October at 6:30pm at the New Art Exchange (NAE), C3R’s Black History Month 2016 programme will wrap-up with an event titled Beyond the Walls: Murals as Activism. Joining our partners at the NAE, we will reflect on the success of Nottingham’s first Black History mural (created during a collaborative street art project led by C3R and the NAE earlier this year), consider the use of murals as a historical protest tool during the Black Power Movement, and debate the impact and legacy of murals in a global context. This public conversation will accompany a screening of a new film Beyond the Walls that tells a story of hope, struggle and survival through murals. All welcome, but please register online for free.
Black History Month 2016 reaches a variety of audiences with a diverse selection of events, and we at C3R hope to see as many of you there as possible, as it is public engagement that will lead to positive, dynamic and useful discussions and help to promote social justice.