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’60 UNTOLD STORIES OF BLACK BRITAIN’ explores the educational experiences of the first Black Caribbean children to successfully pass through the British Education system into the professions, charting their struggles, resolutions and achievements.

This project by The Friends of Marsha Phoenix is a Heritage Lottery-funded project associated with Goldsmiths’ Centre for Caribbean Studies. Running throughout October as The Marsha Phoenix Annual Memorial Lecture and to mark Black History Month, the exhibition will comprise 60 photographic portraits, alongside the screening of a documentary film exploring the specific oral histories of the subjects discussing their educational and professional experiences in Britain. The event itself aims to consolidate Goldsmiths’ commitment to black history in the local community, and in particular to a programme of integrated learning on black achievement for local schools.

These 60 subjects now aged 60 – 65, effectively formed the first Black middle class in this country, contributing greatly to both their communities and British society as a whole. It is important for their stories to be documented in order to educate and bring about a more holistic view of heritage in Britain. As individuals, they have become integral members of the professional classes and have greatly impacted and shaped the appearance of British society. This project preserves their memories, spanning from the 1950s to present day Britain, allowing a historical gap to be filled and an educational resource to be created. Subject matters include; race relations, cultural traditions, discreet geo-physical changes over time, formation of the Black middle class, with particular emphasis on educational experiences, professional struggles and resolutions and achievements.

The project provides the historical perspective needed in order to gain a holistic view of heritage in Britain. It provides a real educational opportunity which allows people to engage with another dimension of Black history. It answers the question ‘who are our black heroes?’. ‘Our’ is an inclusive term meaning British. Via the exposure of this lost heritage, communities, organisations and institutions may benefit from the critical engagement of this new material. By providing teachers with learning resources suitable across a wide educational spectrum, it provides a contextual basis for these contributes of British society to be located as role models for young people.

A collaborative effort from inter-generational professionals, volunteers and participants has provided this project with varying degrees of perspective on critical themes that this heritage addresses. Young volunteers from schools have been taught techniques in photography, moving image, sound engineering and oral history recording – they have contributed accordingly. This website allows for the access of the 60 oral histories, portraits and documentary as well as the contribution of these young people via the blog section of the website. 

INFORMATION ON NEXT EXHIBITION | October 1st 2015

Professor Stuart Hall Building
Goldsmiths University of London
Lewisham Way, New Cross
London
SE14 6NW

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