15 plaques in 15 years

To recognise 15 years of Black History Walks and African Odysseys (2007), we have teamed with Nubian Jak to erect 15 blue plaques. Not satisfied with showcasing our history, we are making history by physically embedding African/Caribbean stories into our streets.

Blue Plaques are associated with English Heritage but according to their own research only 4% of their 900 London plaques represent Black and Asian people, the percentage of Black people  in London is 40% https://www.english-heritage.org.uk/about-us/search-news/diversity-blue-plaques/   In 2016 they set up an initiative to find evidence for more diverse plaques. B.A.S.A, the Black and Asian Studies Association has been submitting names and lobbying for more Black people on plaques since the 1990s.

Out of 900 English Heritage plaques in London, only 18 are about Black people or just 2%. Their blue plaque scheme goes back to 1866. English Heritage is a body that was set up in 1983. Their budget is around £180 million.

The Nubian Jak charity has unveiled 69 plaques and two statues honouring African/Caribbean people. They were established in 2006 and do not have even 1% of the English Heritage budget.

Black History Walks is the biggest sponsor of Nubian Jak. This is very revealing considering the size of BHW compared to the many regional, national and global businesses in the capital. Such companies could easily sponsor 15 plaques in one year with their vast resources. There are also some companies that profit from black history but do not invest in or support the Black community.

Here are some images and context for some of the BHW-sponsored Nubian Jak  plaques. For a full list of Nubian Jak plaques and statues visit https://nubianjak.com/home/#

There are at least 100 more plaques that could be installed within months if we had the appropriate support. Any companies, groups or individuals who would like to sponsor a plaque  can contact info@blackhistorywalks.co.uk. If accepted, your name would be on the plaque in a public spaces for decades. Each plaque comes with a huge amount of goodwill and social capital. Certain plaques generate national and international media and are continually referenced throughout the year but especially during Black History Month.

Every plaque is unique and generates interest in universal as well as niche communities. This Emma Clarke plaque was of huge interest to the football community, women in sport and social historians. The 2019 unveiling by David Lammy MP featured on Channel 5. Campsbourne Primary School, which hosted the plaque, now has an annual football tournament named after Emma purely due to the unveiling and the workshops we ran in the school.

Ideally, for each plaque unveiled there would be several supportive educational resources like books, school workshops, animations or documentaries. This could be done for each plaque if we had the money. A single plaque can result in other changes in society. The Dorsett City Hotel featured Canons High School’s display on Phyllis Wheatley’s life in their lobby. The exhibition was supposed to be on display for two weeks but is still there two years later.

Nubian Jak has also pioneered black history statues.  The 2017  five ton African Caribbean war memorial, in Brixton, and the 2021 monument to Windrush nurses, at Whittington Hospital  would not exist but for the charity. The statues are only there because of a decade of fundraising and extensive behind-the-scenes negotiations by the Nubian Jak team.

Each plaque is a historical resource in itself and together they create a trail of African/Caribbean history across the capital and beyond.

This UK national stamp for example only came into existence due to workshops in four schools run by Nubian Jak for their 2010 John Archer plaque. The image  for the stamp was taken from the cover of the book the children created to explain the plaque to their fellow pupils and parents.  Royal Mail saw the book then requested to use the image. This historical fact is little known as mainstream media has not reported it. The children’s names are also written on the back of the plaque.

To show how rare stamps featuring Black people are, consider the Star Trek example. To recognise 50 years of TV shows and movies, the Royal Mail issued 12 Star Trek stamps on November 13 2020.

In October of  2020, the year of George Floyd and worldwide demonstrations for racial equality, to recognise centuries of Black history the Royal Mail painted four post boxes black . The decision generated severe criticism as can be seen  HERE 

The 50-year-old ‘sci-fi classic that spans generations’ got more representation than real Black people who have lived here for hundreds of years. So there is a great deal to do to adequately reflect the history of Black people in Britain’s physical and cultural environment.

Our next Nubian Jak plaque is co-sponsored by Royal Holloway University of London Alumni and Bedford College. It is in honour of Sarah Parker Remond and will be unveiled at University College London on March 25 2022. More details HERE

Join our free mailing list to receive notifications about upcoming films and film events in the city.
Black History Walks in London Volume 1 is out in December 2021 from Jacaranda Books

Reviews of Black History Walks, Tours & Talks

Don’t miss out some of the most fascinating and historically interesting events in London. Sign up to our free newsletter for updates on coming events or book one of our walks and talks today!

It was a wonderful experience and I would recommend it for all

A brisk, informative stroll through the heart of the British Empire. Our cheerful and intellectually generous tour guide, led us through narrow alleyways and past Roman ruins, within halls constructed by powerful guilds; in the process, he revealed to us both the many layers of British history and the often unacknowledged cultural multiplicity at its core. The tour was exciting, informative and allowed everyone across age, interest, and temperament to participate and learn. It was a wonderful experience and I would recommend it for all.

Professor Caroline Brown, University of Montreal, Canada

Black History Walks
5
2020-07-15T11:38:44+01:00

Professor Caroline Brown, University of Montreal, Canada

A brisk, informative stroll through the heart of the British Empire. Our cheerful and intellectually generous tour guide, led us through narrow alleyways and past Roman ruins, within halls constructed by powerful guilds; in the process, he revealed to us both the many layers of British history and the often unacknowledged cultural multiplicity at its core. The tour was exciting, informative and allowed everyone across age, interest, and temperament to participate and learn. It was a wonderful experience and I would recommend it for all.

A truly inspiring day

A truly inspiring day, filled with information I may have NEVER been aware of, if it was not for attending this walk. The friendly intellectually amazing tour guide relayed facts that I would have had to research for months to be aware of. I would URGE any and everyone, of all ages to attend - a great, fun, educational day out.

Isschara Maxine, London

Black History Walks
5
2020-07-15T11:44:18+01:00

Isschara Maxine, London

A truly inspiring day, filled with information I may have NEVER been aware of, if it was not for attending this walk. The friendly intellectually amazing tour guide relayed facts that I would have had to research for months to be aware of. I would URGE any and everyone, of all ages to attend - a great, fun, educational day out.

Extremely informative and made it seem all really relevant

I just wanted to let you know that the students REALLY enjoyed the tour yesterday. I polled them in class and everyone overwhelmingly had positive things to say. They particularly enjoyed how you incorporated modern day information into the tour. They said it was extremely informative and made it seem all really relevant. And today it was great listening to them as they walked around central London, noticing some of the things you'd pointed out. So, your work was very well received. Well done and thank you!

Lori Tharps, Assistant Professor, Dept. of Journalism, Temple University, USA

Black History Walks
5
2020-07-15T12:12:20+01:00

Lori Tharps, Assistant Professor, Dept. of Journalism, Temple University, USA

I just wanted to let you know that the students REALLY enjoyed the tour yesterday. I polled them in class and everyone overwhelmingly had positive things to say. They particularly enjoyed how you incorporated modern day information into the tour. They said it was extremely informative and made it seem all really relevant. And today it was great listening to them as they walked around central London, noticing some of the things you'd pointed out. So, your work was very well received. Well done and thank you!

Best element of the trip

You may hear this often, but many of my students named your tour as the best element of the trip last time.

Nancy Comerau, Assistant Professor of English, Ohio Wesleyan University, USA

Black History Walks
5
2020-07-15T12:28:53+01:00

Nancy Comerau, Assistant Professor of English, Ohio Wesleyan University, USA

You may hear this often, but many of my students named your tour as the best element of the trip last time.

Absolutely brilliant lecture and walk yesterday

Absolutely brilliant lecture and walk yesterday. Students were really energized. Thanks so much.

Bill Mullen, Professor of English and American Studies, Purdue University, USA

Black History Walks
5
2020-07-15T13:27:53+01:00

Bill Mullen, Professor of English and American Studies, Purdue University, USA

Absolutely brilliant lecture and walk yesterday. Students were really energized. Thanks so much.

A rich and detailed learning experience

Our guide's encyclopedic knowledge of the area, and his passion for black history, made for a rich and detailed learning experience. He was friendly and engaging, frequently involving the students in dialogue and relating his points to places and subjects that are familiar to them. The students were fascinated throughout and learned a great deal. We recommend this tour most highly!

Rebecca Whisnant, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Director of Women's and Gender Studies, University of Dayton, USA

Black History Walks
5
2020-07-15T13:28:21+01:00

Rebecca Whisnant, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Director of Women's and Gender Studies, University of Dayton, USA

Our guide's encyclopedic knowledge of the area, and his passion for black history, made for a rich and detailed learning experience. He was friendly and engaging, frequently involving the students in dialogue and relating his points to places and subjects that are familiar to them. The students were fascinated throughout and learned a great deal. We recommend this tour most highly!

The children talk about it for a long time afterwards

I would really like to book two black history walk dates around St Pauls and the Barbican for our two year 6 classes. We have done them for the last two years and the children always learn such a lot and talk about it for a long time afterwards.

Helen Davies, Head of Year 6, John Scurr School, Tower Hamlets

Black History Walks
5
2020-07-15T13:29:08+01:00

Helen Davies, Head of Year 6, John Scurr School, Tower Hamlets

I would really like to book two black history walk dates around St Pauls and the Barbican for our two year 6 classes. We have done them for the last two years and the children always learn such a lot and talk about it for a long time afterwards.

I could not have asked for a better supplement to my Sociology course on race, identity, and culture

Thank you for organizing a wonderful walking tour for my students. You are incredibly knowledgeable, and it was such a joy to hear your take on things. The students loved this field trip. You did an excellent job relating the history, culture, and social contributions of Black and Afro-Caribbean people in a fun and lively way while still emphasizing the seriousness and importance of this often overlooked aspect of British life. I could not have asked for a better supplement to my Sociology course on race, identity, and culture. I really appreciate you helping make the class so special and look forward to arranging another.

William Force, Assistant Professor of Sociology, Western New England University

Black History Walks
5
2020-07-15T13:31:05+01:00

William Force, Assistant Professor of Sociology, Western New England University

Thank you for organizing a wonderful walking tour for my students. You are incredibly knowledgeable, and it was such a joy to hear your take on things. The students loved this field trip. You did an excellent job relating the history, culture, and social contributions of Black and Afro-Caribbean people in a fun and lively way while still emphasizing the seriousness and importance of this often overlooked aspect of British life. I could not have asked for a better supplement to my Sociology course on race, identity, and culture. I really appreciate you helping make the class so special and look forward to arranging another.

Engaging, moving, will keep you asking more questions.

What an amazing tour! It completely moved me to rethink the intricate web of social, economic and political relations that characterize British imperial rule and racial politics. Engaging, moving, will keep you asking more questions. The best way to get to know London.

Alai Reyes-Santos, Professor of Ethnic Studies, University of Oregon

Black History Walks
5
2020-07-15T13:32:29+01:00

Alai Reyes-Santos, Professor of Ethnic Studies, University of Oregon

What an amazing tour! It completely moved me to rethink the intricate web of social, economic and political relations that characterize British imperial rule and racial politics. Engaging, moving, will keep you asking more questions. The best way to get to know London.

Nothing but positive feedback

The audience and the panellists had some incredibly positive feedback about your presentation. It went down so well and was an brilliant combination of information, revelation and humour. There were also a number of attendees whose firms or companies had organised a Black History Walk with yourself and also had nothing but positive feedback

Sharon Takhar, Origin Network, Norton Rose Fulbright LLP

Black History Walks
5
2020-08-19T16:34:16+01:00

Sharon Takhar, Origin Network, Norton Rose Fulbright LLP

The audience and the panellists had some incredibly positive feedback about your presentation. It went down so well and was an brilliant combination of information, revelation and humour. There were also a number of attendees whose firms or companies had organised a Black History Walk with yourself and also had nothing but positive feedback
5
10
Black History Walks

Upcoming & Past Films

STARRSHIP H.O.P.E has arrived

Sunday 4 December 12pm
A spectacular journey of music, speech and space discovery on board the Rolls-Royce STARRSHIP H.O.P.E. (Human Outer Planetary Explorer) Space Entertainment & Discovery Spectacular Created by Terry Jervis – Powered…
Find Out More

Raca, Race in Brazil plus Q&A

Saturday 7 May 2pm
Part of African Odysseys at the BFI This documentary focuses on Brazil’s struggle for civil rights through the life and campaigns of men and woman from different walks of life:…
Find Out More

Cold Case Hammarskjöld + Q&A

Saturday 9 April 2pm
A provocative documentary exploring the assassination of a UN Secretary-General and the shocking revelations that followed In 1961, United Nations Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld’s plane mysteriously crashed, killing Hammarskjöld and most…
Find Out More

Edric Connor’s Travelogues

Sunday 6th March 4pm
An afternoon of newly digitised archive films from 1940s Trinidadian cultural pioneer, Edric Connor, singer, folklorist, actor, director and musicologist. An expert panel will discuss the films and the extraordinary…
Find Out More

A Bruddah’s Mind plus Q&A

Saturday 22 January 2pm
African Odysseys presents: UK Premiere: A Bruddah’s Mind + Q&A with director Déo Cardoso The UK Premiere of a Brazilian film drama exploring racism in a high school in contemporary…
Find Out More

Once upon a time when we were Coloured

Monday 29 November 2pm
We are pleased to welcome Dr Althea Legal-Miller (Senior Lecturer in American History and Culture at Canterbury Christ Church University) who will give an intro to this screening. An ambitious,…
Find Out More

As Seen On

TimeOut London
Conde Nast Traveler
c4
BBC
itv
The Voice
Menu