Written by Nacro staff member Chris Proctor
As I sit writing this on my laptop sipping my morning coffee under the artificial light of my desk lamp, nodding my head rhythmically to the sound of Stormzy on the radio I take a minute to pause as I contemplate the fact that we are surrounded by black history. For some, black history is confined to the month of October, for others we live black history every day. Whether this be through music, art, food, and other areas of our lives that unbeknown to us are steeped in black history.
I was fortunate enough to have been taught black history at school by a renegade teacher that literally tore up the history curriculum and threw it out of the window! As a grandchild of migrant workers from the Caribbean, it always amazed me how my grandparents would find joy in stories that many others would find harrowing.
Working in the sugar cane fields under the watchful eye of the British landowner brought many hardships but joy was taken from being able to siphon off sugar in order to make rum, which not only could be drunk but was seen as a cure all for every single ailment and disease!
Having to leave the Islands in their late teens or early twenties to fight in WW2 to protect the freedoms we so cherish today, which for them created passage to the greatest island of them all: Great Britain.
To arriving on these shores and work in factories, public transport, and other low paid forms of employment, which created opportunities for their children and their children’s children that they did not have the luxury of when growing up.
Contributing to a multicultural society, creating opportunities for future generations, and introducing the world to jerk chicken, carnival, reggae music and rum!
So… what does black history month mean to me? Well it is an opportunity to pay homage to past generations that pioneered, invented, created, and made history and to those people amongst us that continue to make history. It is also a reminder that no matter what is currently happening in the world that with patience, determination, and compassion out of adversity comes opportunity.
Finally, it is only right for me to acknowledge my fellow black people that have contributed to this blog. Thank you, Mark Dean. Without your Colour Monitor and Gigahertz Chip this blog would have been handwritten and completely illegible due to my horrific handwriting. To Lewis Latimer, without your Carbon Filament I would have been forced to write this blog in near darkness. Dr Shirley Jackson, thank you for Fibre Optic Cable. Without you I would have been logging on to the internet this morning deafened by the awful sound of a dial up modem. Stormzy, Dave, Bob Marley and others thank you for producing absolute bangers that I can throw some moves down to when I am having a hard start to the day and for shining a spotlight on the daily struggles of black people and minority ethnics in this country. Finally, Kaldi the Ethiopian goatherder. Without your energetic goats and their discovery of the humble coffee tree in the forests of the Ethiopian Plateau there would have been no morning coffee and no words on the page!