‘I’d been running community workshops with young boys in Tottenham. They didn’t know anything about Windrush, they had no idea of the extent of the black community in Britain. A lot of the kids at school are taught that black history equals slavery – it’s disempowering and not true, so I wanted to address that. I’d also done a whole bunch of the regular tours, and there wasn’t any mention of black people, so I thought: I’ll do my own thing. We get a lot of black people on the tours; our public tours are probably 90 percent black people, but we also do private tours for schools or local offices, so that can be all white people. I had a mother who brought her child on the walk. The kid was being bullied for being black – they were being told things like “You black people didn’t fight in WWII.” Because I’d talked about black people in WWII on the tour, they were able to lecture these bullies on the black presence in the war, to the extent that the white boys were asking where they could get more information.’
1. The Bank of England is full of African gold. The guinea coin is so-called because when it was first minted in the seventeenth century, the gold came from West Africa.
2. Cleopatra’s Needle came from Africa. It was presented to Britain by Egypt in 1819 and finally arrived here in 1878, but it’s about 3,500 years old.
3. London had its very own Martin Luther King Jr in the 1930s. Jamaican doctor Harold Moody set up civil rights group The League of Coloured Peoples in Peckham.
Find out more at www.blackhistorywalks.co.uk. £10.