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Black History Month

from the headmaster

John Henrik Clarke was born on January 1, 1915, in Union Springs, Alabama, the youngest child of parents of African slave descent. With the hopes of earning enough money to buy land rather than sharecrop, his family moved to the closest mill town in Columbus, Georgia. He later became an
American historian, professor, and pioneer in the creation of Pan-African and Africana studies and professional institutions in academia starting in the late 1960s. He stated that ‘History is not everything, but it is a starting point. History is a clock that people use to tell their political and cultural time of
day. It is a compass they use to find themselves on the map of human geography. It tells them where they are but, more importantly, what they must be.’

These are powerful words and as we embark on our Black History Month programme at Canford over the next few
weeks it is important that we all recognise we have a significant responsibility to better understand how those words apply not just to our own view of history and our own
lives but to explore a wider perspective of history and to engage with open eyes, ears, hearts and minds as to how that very different and varied experience has shaped
and developed the world in which we live. In the context of Black History Month this requires a focus on a whole range of issues surrounding politics and power, culture, society, our use of language and much more. Alongside a range of talks and activities which seek to develop a deeper understanding of the experience of Black people in both the past and the present, we will also be commencing work as a school community with FLAIR, an organisation which helps to raise awareness of issues surrounding racial inequality in schools and other institutions, and also to seek ways of creating a more educated, equal and mutually respectful environment. A survey will start this process and pupils and staff will all be asked to complete this in the run up to half term.

Please do engage in the Black History Month programme with purpose and a positive mindset, discuss actively the ideas and issues raised and let us all work hard to ensure that this important period of time helps us all to think hard and act more decisively to bring about the respect, consideration and equality of experience which everyone desires and deserves. 

BEN VESSEY
Headmaster

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Black History Month 2021

programme of events