SeaCity Museum is installing a trail for Black History Month in the Southampton Stories exhibition to showcase some of the important journeys of Southampton’s African/Caribbean communities.
As a major port of the British Empire dating back centuries and the ‘Gateway to the World’ for many who travelled through the ancient walls around the Bargate, Southampton has always been a melting pot for different peoples and cultures. People of African and Caribbean origin in particular have lived and worked in Southampton for hundreds of years. Their lives and experiences are woven into the fabric of Southampton’s heritage. This new showcase at SeaCity will reveal just some of the major milestones and memories from their perspective, covering topics such as D-Day, war efforts, sourcing Caribbean foods, sports and more.
Stories from both famous and more obscure people will be highlighted, such as the three Wallace Brothers who played for Southampton FC in 1988, Barbadian-born Gordon Greenidge, who played cricket for Hampshire from 1970–87, Jamaican-born Ben Davis who joined the RAF in 1943 and saw active service in the Middle East and Germany, and even Guinean-born Jacques Francis who was a specialist salvage diver in Tudor times.
The trail has been created by the Black Heritage Association, Southampton, in association with Dr Nazneen Ahmed, Writer in Residence for the Southampton Stories Project which is funded by Arts Council England.
Councillor Satvir Kaur, City Cabinet Member for Housing and Culture, said:
Black History Month is an important celebration in Southampton. We are proud of our diverse heritage in Southampton and it’s very vital for us to include all cultures and stories that make up Southampton’s rich history. Thank you Nazneen and friends for bringing these significant narratives to light and sharing them for the people of Southampton to learn from and enjoy.
Dr Nazneen Ahmed said:
It has been an honour to work with members of the amazing Black Heritage Association to highlight the fascinating stories of Black Sotonians for the Southampton Stories Black History Trail. People from Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities have lived in Southampton for hundreds of years, contributing to making it the vibrant, diverse city it is today. These stories are an important part of our collective heritage, and it is wonderful to be able to celebrate them in this way.
The Southampton Stories exhibition at SeaCity focuses on different aspects of the Southampton’s history, featuring topics such as the docks, working life, sport and leisure and Southampton during wartime. Displays include ship models, maritime ephemera, historical costume, artworks, photographs and much more. The new BHM addition to the exhibition will remain open throughout October 2019.