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Schools should educate children about colonialism and legacy of slave trade, says Jeremy Corbyn

'Black history is British history,' the Labour leader will say

Lizzy Buchan
Political Correspondent
Thursday 11 October 2018 00:25

Schools should teach children about colonialism, slavery and the legacy of the British empire, and give greater weight to the “immense contribution” black Britons have made, Jeremy Corbyn will say.

The Labour leader will use a visit to Bristol, a city whose wealth was built on the slave trade, to unveil plans for an Emancipation Educational Trust, which would educate future generations about the impact of slavery.

Under Labour’s plans, the new trust would “tell the story of how slavery interrupted a rich African and black history” through visits to historic sites and study of pre-colonial periods.

On a visit to mark Black History Month, Mr Corbyn will say: “Black history is British history, and it should not be confined to a single month each year.

“It is vital that future generations understand the role that Black Britons have played in our country’s history and the struggle for racial equality.

“In the light of the Windrush scandal, Black History Month has taken on a renewed significance and it is more important now than ever that we learn and understand as a society the role and legacy of the British Empire, colonisation and slavery.

“Black History Month is a crucial chance to celebrate the immense contribution of black Britons to this country, to reflect on our common history and ensure that such grave injustices can never happen again.”

He will also meet civil rights activist Paul Stephenson, who played a central role in the Bristol bus boycott in 1963, aimed at overturning a ban on ethnic minorities working on the city’s buses.

Mr Corbyn will say British campaigners like Mr Stephenson should be as famous Rosa Parks – the US civil rights activist who refused to give up her seat to a white man on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama.

He will say: “That’s why the story of Paul Stephenson and the Bristol Bus Boycott is such an inspirational reminder that our rights are hard-won, not given – and of the fantastic example set by so many black Britons.

“Paul is a true British hero and his story should be as widely known as Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott.

“It was the bravery and determination of people like Paul, standing up against injustice, that paved the way for the first Race Relations Act and the outlawing of such discrimination in our country.”

It comes in the wake of the Windrush scandal, where people from mostly Caribbean countries were threatened with deportation and wrongly denied rights to housing and healthcare, despite living in the UK for decades.

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