This is Black History Month. This year the annual celebration has an extra dimension, as the United Nations has declared 2011 the International Year of People of African Descent.
To explore this theme, Hackney Museum will be mounting an exhibition entitled Our African Roots, starting on 11 October and running through to January. The show explores the lives of Africans resident in the borough. It includes letters, maps and objects from Africa, and it will be accompanied by a series of special events in October and beyond.
Among these is the multi-media presentation on 17 November by publisher and film-maker Patrick Vernon entitled African Diaspora Approach to Family History. In what promises to be a fascinating workshop, Vernon will re-trace his family history by looking at maps, documentary records, oral history and DNA evidence.
Over at the Hackney Empire, a special comedy night on 29 October, the Dons of Comedy, will feature an all-star line-up of black comedians, including Curtis Walker, Felix Dexter, Felicity Ethnic and Slim.
Centerprise Bookshop in Dalston will host a discussion of the work of CLR James on 19 October, led by Kwaku of the Naming and Role Model (NARM) British African Civil Rights History project. There will also be poetry by Ngoma Bishop, and rap that speaks to the themes under discussion by Music4Causes artist Kimba.
Finally, the borough’s libraries will be putting on a series of talks and workshops over the course of the Month. These include African mask-making at Hackney Central Library on 8 October, Traditional Ghanaian Music and Dance at Homerton Library on 10 October, and Keeping it in the Family – Storytelling and Oral Traditions at Clapton Library on 18 October.
A workshop will be held on Experiences of Nigerian Migration at Stoke Newington Library, also on 18 October, and An Evening of Poetry and Prose with John Prince will take place Hackney Central Library on 20 October. An event called Fashion’s Best Kept Secret – Black people, Culture and the Fashion Industry will take place at CLR James Library on 27 October.
Technology and Learning Centre
1 Reading Lane
020 8356 3500
291 Mare Street, E8 1EJ
Box office: 020 8985 2424
136 Kingsland High Street, E8 2NS
020 7254 9632
For details of events at Hackney libraries, go here.