Public Re-Memory

For your fourth post, we’re re-examining British history and public memory through a careful examination of the intersection between Black identity and British identity. Together, our readings and viewings will help us think through the complex relationships of race and nation in historical and contemporary moments. We will also consider how the public memory of these histories affects ongoing issues of human rights. 


Brian Ward, Section Three to end, from Martin Luther King: In Newcastle Upon Tyne: The African American Freedom Struggle and Race Relations in the North East of England

Paul Gilroy from“There Ain’t No Black in the Union Jack”: The Cultural Politics of Race & Nation


Black & British: A Forgotten History Episode One from the BBC

(Please be aware that this show depicts human skeletal remains around the 16:00 and 26:00 minute marks.)

For this week, we will finish our reading of Brian Ward’s book where he outlines how Newcastle proceeded to serve as a node in the long human and civil rights movement as well as how the public memory surrounding these events, residents, and visits continues to affect residents and tourists.

Next, we will watch Episode One of the BBC series, Black & British, which explains how British history includes African history. 

Finally, we will read Paul Gilroy’s cultural studies scholarship on the complex ways that Black British identity works within and alongside British politics.

For your post, begin by recounting one the the details from the BBC series that was most surprising to you. How is this history being remembered in Britain today? How does it change how one might approach British history? How might it also change our understanding of U.S. history?

Next, select a passage from either the Ward or the Gilroy reading that you think intersects with at least one of the ideas in the BBC series. Be sure to introduce the quote, offer the quote in full, and then explain how the idea from either Gilroy or Ward connects with a specific example from the film. For example, you might consider how these films and readings complicate what we think the connections are between race, nation, and ethnicity. Any post that addresses direct quotes from both Gilroy and Ward will earn extra credit.

To conclude your blog, begin to think about how the idea of public history and memory matters for addressing these complex historical questions. What should public history do? What are the responsibilities for representing history that might be different than what people think they know? How does public history relate to larger questions of human and civil rights? 

Lastly, you will need to include one “featured image” for you post. You might peruse the supplementary resources on the companion website for the Black & British series or Google Arts & Culture page to help you select an image. Please be sure to include the link and attribution to the photo in your post. You might also want to embed video from any of these sources. 

You may include additional images, links, videos, or .gifs as useful and appropriate. 

Please feel encouraged to be creative and innovative! And remember your works cited at the bottom of the page!

Photo attribution:

Plaque marking Britain’s first recorded African Community (2016) by BBC Black Cultural Archives

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