Guest Blogger: new book on Birmingham’s African heritage

Birmingham Parade, 1953 [LS: Misc Photos/WW2]

The starting point for the Heritage Lottery Funded project NewAfrican Leaders Contributions of Africans in Birmingham from 1950 was the issue of a lack of knowledge about modern African migration and integration in the city of Birmingham.

This project was developed by working closely with the Outreach team at Birmingham Libraries and Archives (Izzy Mohammed and Dr Andrew Green), and with Dr Lisa Goodson, lecturer at the Institute of Applied Social Studies, University of Birmingham. The support provided by our partners helped in the development and delivery of the project.

Birmingham Libraries and Archives’ senior archivists, Corinna Rayner and Rachel MacGregor, provided important support around archive skills training. Thanks also to Brigitte Winsor for her advice regarding our exhibition. The project also received training from the Oral History Society which helped in the collection of interviews from members of the community. The combination of all this support led the project to eventually deposit a collection of over 30 oral histories. This was a very important moment for the project and the community.

Front cover of this new book

‘NewAfrican Leaders Contributions of Africans in Birmingham from 1950’ by Frederick Ebot Ashu

Delivering this project means that we can support the further integration of the community, and contribute towards a more cohesive city and society. The archive offers an impressive collection of material and learning sources through the individuals I have talked with regarding why they – or their parents – came to the United Kingdom, their experiences when they arrived, their subsequent experiences of settlement and integration, as well as, their achievements and contributions within their adopted society.

The project produced a book, which looks at the migration and integration of the African population in Birmingham, an exhibition and online  material.
For more information please see: www.caassuk.org/heritage/

Frederick Ebot Ashu (CAASS UK Project Manager)

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