October marks Black History Month, the annual commemoration of the history, achievements and contributions of black people in the UK. To highlight this occasion, Warrington & Vale Royal College hosted a week of events celebrating African and Caribbean cultures and histories.
The week commenced with a screening of Green Book, a multi Oscar winning film about a working-class Italian-American bouncer who becomes the driver of an African-American classical pianist on a tour of venues through the 1960s American South. The film looks at life in 1950s America whilst the two characters travel using the The Negro Motorist Green Book, a travel guide for safe travel through America’s racial segregation.
Students attended talks from the college’s Access to HE tutor Gerri Capper, and Warrington Islamic Association’s Mohammed Abdullah. Gerri shared her experiences as a Black woman growing up in Liverpool, from her time at primary school to becoming one of the first Black female lecturers at Liverpool Hope University. Mohammed, a Somalian Pharmacologist, discussed his life in Somalia, the United Arab Emirates and his journey to the UK to study at one of the country’s most prestigious universities.
Health & Social Care and Childcare students also enjoyed a trip to the International Slavery Museum in Liverpool. The students looked specifically at recognising Black contributions to British society and fostered an understanding of Black history in general.
Throughout the week Buckley’s Restaurant opened their doors and invited students to sample food with a ‘Black origin’, cooked and served by the college’s hospitality and culinary arts students. Dishes included corn bread, mac ‘n’ cheese, meat loaf, fried chicken with butter biscuits and collard greens.
Reflecting on the week of activity, the college’s Director of Teaching, Learning & Professional Development Rachel Butt commented: “This year’s Black History Month activities have been really successful. Students from across campuses and curriculum areas came together in really diverse ways to engage in the celebrations. The food tastings prepared by our hospitality and culinary arts students were wonderful, as were the excellent talks from Gerri and Mohammed, not to mention the thought-provoking trip to the slavery museum. It is great to see so many students and staff taking part in celebrating the important contributions people of African and Caribbean descent have made to our country over many generations.”