Schools across Hammersmith & Fulham are working to celebrate our vital Black history every day – not just during Black History Month.
This term, students at Fulham Cross Academy and Shepherds Bush based Wendell Park primary school have been exploring the pioneering achievements and contributions made by a variety of local Black figures.
Supported by H&F Council, this work forms part of a wider drive to help embed representation in the school curriculum all year round.
Sally Brooks, Executive Principal at Fulham Cross Academy Trust, said: “We're really proud of our diverse community. We have been working with H&F to ensure that representation is taught across the curriculum every day of the year.”
Rosie Peters, Co-Head of Wendell Park Primary School, said: “At Wendell Park, we know that inclusion is definitely a choice. And we’re making that choice.”
Cllr Alex Sanderson, H&F Cabinet Member for Children & Education, said: “We think our rich history and cultural diversity should be celebrated every day, and we’re working closely with our schools to reflect that in our curriculums too. We want everyone to feel welcome in H&F.”
Representation beyond October
Fulham Cross Academy started to ‘break down barriers’ with their first drop down day in June, which celebrated African Kingdoms in particular, and how they’ve contributed to British history.
“Black people have contributed throughout history, and we shouldn't just be celebrated in October,” said Fulham Cross Academy student Nevaeh Sampoh, Year 9. “That's why I think everybody should learn about it.”
Last week, lessons have been held across a variety of subjects to celebrate the rich legacy and contributions of the Windrush generation.
- History: The history of Notting Hill Carnival, including costume making.
- Maths: How to play a strategic game of dominoes, one of the most popular games in the Caribbeans.
- Arts: Caribbean inspired arts and crafts, including portrait designs of women from the Windrush generation.
- Science: How the Windrush generation affected healthcare in the UK, with special features on nutritional biochemist Charlotte Armah, paediatric nurse Dr Ngozi Edi-Osagie and Royal College of Nursing Fellow Dame Elizabeth Anionwu OBE – the first sickle cell and thalassaemia specialist nurse in Britain.
Victor Kojm, Year 9, said: “Today's event is very empowering as it gives us the opportunity to learn about the unheard voices and contributions by the black community to our society over time.”
Next to musical performances, various students had prepared poetry especially for the occasion.
Among them then-year-10 pupil Mohamed Mukhtar, 16, who recited an original poem, highlighting the barriers faced and overcome by the Windrush generation.
- Read the full poem 'Giants'
As an empire healed its wounds from war,
Distant workers were summoned
Not the rich
but the unfortunate poor
They sailed rough seas to rebuild a land many of them never knew
And from the rubble,
a once mighty nation regrew
‘You shall be treated as equals’, they said
‘You shall be clothed well and comfortably fed’, they said
Instead, they shed oceans of tears
But these were giants who overcame these fears
Their achievements in the arts, NHS, entertainment and countless more
will forever be treasured
The brightness of their smiles, laughter and commitment to us
can never be truly measured
Pioneers in all sectors, they were innovators
Undaunted, unwavering, unfazed
They served us proudly
while enduring the darkest days
They are the Windrush generation
They are the beating heart
of this nation
Mohamed Mukhtar (16)
Fulham Cross Academy
Vishanee Naidoo, Assistant Headteacher and Representation Lead at Fulham Cross Academy, said: “Now, we hand over the baton onto other schools within the borough.
“We’re looking forward to breaking the October barrier and are really excited to see what else is achieved.”
Black history trails
To mark the start of Black History Month, H&F launched new local heritage trails.
The walks feature iconic landmarks where local and national heroes from the Black community lived and worked, including former Greensleeves Records shop in Shepherds Bush Green and Marcus Garvey Park in West Kensington.
At the event, H&F Mayor Cllr Emma Apthorp said: “Black History Month reminds us that we must make consistent effort to discover, platform and celebrate the contributions of those who have been marginalised.
“H&F’s heritage trails provide a great opportunity to learn about a richer history of the borough, and I hope many people will take part.”
Want to read more news stories like this? Subscribe to our weekly e-news bulletin.