Black History Month Divisive, Say Critics

The Birmingham Post (England), September 26, 1998 | Go to article overview

Black History Month Divisive, Say Critics


Birmingham City Council has been accused of dividing the city after it announced plans for an annual Black History Month to celebrate the history of ethnic minority groups.

The pounds 15,000 event will start next week to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the SS Empire Windrush docking with some of Britain's first Caribbean settlers.

But Coun John Alden (Con Harborne), deputy leader of the council's Conservative group, said it was a waste of taxpayers' money and would have a divisive effect on the city.

"I think having an annual history month to celebrate all culture of the city would be a super idea, but to select one is just going to cause disharmony.

"A race relations and equality industry has grown up in this city which appears bent on dividing the community by making people feel different."

A council spokesman said there were no plans for Irish or Chinese history days or for any other groups, although the black event will include Asian contributions.

It will include a series of conferences, seminars, including one to find out "What Is Black", and shows and exhibitions organised by the leisure services department and community leaders.

Coun Alden said: "Instead of a project based on ethnicity, how much more positive it would be if we had a month-long festival explaining how Birmingham had grown from a little hamlet and the way its population had changed over a thousand years. …

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