The group was set up by Jamaica-born Bert Williams in 2002 in order to ‘challenge racism and prejudice by raising awareness of the multi-cultural history of Britain, with particular reference to Brighton & Hove’. It aims to collect information, carry out research, archive documents, disseminate its findings and encourage ‘diverse communities in mapping Brighton & Hove’s cultural heritage, in a process of sharing and learning from each other’s cultures’.
Most importantly, especially given the current debate on terminology, the pamphlet carries a definition of ‘Black’ – it refers to peoples whose ‘ancestral origins are African, Asian, Caribbean, Chinese, Middle Eastern, Romany, the indigenous peoples of the South Pacific Islands, the American continents, Australia and New Zealand’.
The pamphlet contains brief articles and photographs on: WWI West Indians who arrived to join the army, and the war memorials and the hospital for soldiers from India; biographies of residents Sarah Bonetta Forbes, George Bridgetower, Sake Dean Mahomed and his son Frederick Akbar Mahomed who developed the first blood pressure measuring instrument while a physician at Guy’s hospital in London, and the four daughters of William Wells of St.Kitts who became Sheriff of Monmouthshire in 1818; and visitors such as Francis Barber, Mary Seacole and Haile Selassie.
A most informative pamphlet which should certainly interest school children as well as adults new to this history. It should be on all library shelves and should be on sale in all museum and other bookshops!