Stamps, Statues and Star Trek

Monday 28th March 6.30pm
Two pioneers of Black stamps and Black statues talk about their successes and challenges in relation to Royal Mail’s recent 12 stamp issue

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 and put historical information on them, see image below .

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.

We will hear from two community activists Oku Ekpenyon and Nubian Jak who were involved in realising Royal Mail stamps for actual Black heroes, Olaudah Equiano and John Archer.

Apart from stamps, Oku Ekpenyon is the driving force behind the proposed Memorial 2007 statue in Hyde Park. She also successfully lobbied for a permanent memorial for the African-American actor Ira Aldridge at the Old Vic in Waterloo and unveiled an English Heritage plaque for him in Hamlet Upper Norwood, South London.

Nubian Jak has, to date, put up two statues, one to Windrush nurses at Whittington Hospital and one to African/Caribbean soldiers in Brixton and that is apart from installing 70 blue plaques.

Blue Plaques are associated with English Heritage but according to their own research only 4% of their 900 London plaques represent Black people In 2016 they set up an initiative to find evidence for more diverse plaques. B.A.S.A, the Black and Asian Studies Association, of which Oku Ekpenyon was a member, 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. 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 70 plaques to Black people. They were established in 2006 and do not have even 1% of the English Heritage budget

We will discuss and illustrate

  • The Establishment attitude to recognising Black achievement
  • Costs and funding, what is needed and where does the money come from?
  • How do you get the National Portrait Gallery to give you a rare painting for free?
  • What’s involved in erecting a 5 ton statue with 54 nations and the British government as stakeholders
  • Challenges overcome, behind the scenes negotiations
  • Unforseen consequences. Hard won success that gets taken for granted
  • Update on Memorial 2007
  • Plaques versus Statues
  • Black stamps and statues we should already have but for racism
  • Why Star Trek and not real Black people?
  • Sarah Parker Remond Plaque unveiling March 25th at University College London, Russell Square

Plus Q&A and presentation from Black History Walks

This is an online event at 6.30pm UK/GMT using Zoom please check your JUNK MAIL for confirmation email and link .

Coming Soon: Other online and physical events from

  • Edric Connor season at BFI Southbank
  • Population control via your TV
  • Black History River Cruise
  • A history of Black British Ballet
  • Star Trek, Stamps and Statues
  • Sarah Parker Remond plaque unveiling
  • Secrets of the Goldsmsiths
  • Hip Hop to Opera via Negro Spirituals
  • Image of the Black in the National Gallery
  • Black History Bus Tour
  • Black History Theatre Walk
  • African imagery on British Heraldry
  • Call of Duty Black History Breakdown

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