“It’s a reflection of what more we can do to document, record and promote the black community.”
A conversation and debate around the history of the black community in Wolverhampton will be held by a leading social activist as part of the Wolverhampton Literature Festival.
“In Conversation’ with Patrick Vernon, OBE: How to document black history and lessons for Wolverhampton” will see the celebrated social activist discuss his past, present and future projects around black history on Friday, January 12.
Mr Vernon, who was born in Wolverhampton and whose parents still live in the city, will talk about his book “100 Great Black Britons” with local historian Jefny Ashcroft, as well as explore different approaches and lessons for the city.
He said: “This is something I’ve been thinking about for a very long time and I’ve done workshops at Wolverhampton Archives on tracing family trees, especially targeting the Caribbean community.
“I’ve always had an interest in what more can be done in terms of documenting that history, like the Black Lives Matter movement, which has led to a massive debate about statues.
“To me, part of the debate is not about removing statues, but adding new ones which reflect the diversity of these histories, such as Wolverhampton and the large black and south Asian communities.”
Although he lives in London, the 60-year-old is still active in the community in Wolverhampton, working as a patron of the African Caribbean Community Initiative and campaigning to help fund the cost of Windrush campaigner Paulette Wilson’s funeral and memorial.
He said people should expect a frank discussion about black history at the event and take pride in what Wolverhampton has achieved.
He said: “We will be able to talk about what needs to be done to install more confidence in young black people and continue to educate people on the history.
“They might not know the number of people who have come out of this city, such as Paulette Wilson, and, to me, Wolverhampton really punches above its weight.
“I would say that we’re here to educate and entertain and there will be some laughs and some humour, as well as educating and having a conversation with people.”
“In Conversation’ with Patrick Vernon, OBE: How to document black history and lessons for Wolverhampton” takes place on Friday, February 12 at 7pm online, with tickets costing £12 plus booking fee.