African heritage set to be celebrated

AFRICAN history is as fascinating as it is diverse.And next month Suffolk celebrates its rich African heritage. Today JAMES MARSTON takes a sneak preview of what's planned IT is 200 years since parliament abolished the British slave trade.

AFRICAN history is as fascinating as it is diverse.

And next month Suffolk celebrates its rich African heritage.

Today JAMES MARSTON takes a sneak preview of what's planned

IT is 200 years since parliament abolished the British slave trade.

This year's African History Month 2007 is set to commemorate and celebrates the bicentenary.

Del White, spokeswoman for African History month in Suffolk, said: “African slavery created vast wealth in what is now the USA and in Britain. Millions of people were enslaved or killed, and millions of Africans and their descendants live in Europe and America and elsewhere.

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“African History Month in Suffolk looks at the legacy of enslaved Africans and its impact on our society.

“There are many untold stories from often heroic resistance leaders, and accounts of how African people survived enduring brutality and extreme hardship, helping to build the nations and societies we know today.

“The story of local abolitionists, including national campaigner Thomas Clarkson is a fascinating one. African History Month in Suffolk has a successful tradition of bringing astonishing cultural events to a very wide and diverse local audience.”

The month includes a number of events across the county and details are as follows:

African History Month begins with the Memorial Lecture - Squaring the Triangle - which recognises some of the untold narratives of the triangular trade of which selling slaves was one element.

The Lecture is held on Monday at 7pm at the New Wolsey Theatre in Civic Drive , Ipswich. The Speaker is Pam Fraser Solomon, an award winning producer-director and writer working in radio, television and film.

Musicians including MOBO nominee Byron Wallen and Atissou Loko from Haiti will be joining Pam.

Admission is free, but apply to the New Wolsey Theatre on 01473 295900.

One highlight of the month is undoubtedly the Ghana 50th Independence Anniversary celebration, to be held on Wednesday October 3 at 7pm at the council chamber, Ipswich Town Hall, Cornhill, Ipswich .

The speaker is Mr Kwesi Quartey, deputy high commissioner of Ghana.

Admission is by invitation only, will those interested in attending please contact Del at the Nia Project on 01473 221715.

The Abolition struggle is represented in an exhibition at the Ipswich Museum on September 27 and by discussions and debates at Lowestoft College, Otley College, West Suffolk College and Suffolk College .

Projects researching the Clarksons are taking place at Stradbroke High School near Eye and at King Edward VI Upper School in Bury.

Suffolk and Slavery events are at Bury St Edmunds and Ipswich Record Offices on October 20 at 10.30am and 2pm respectively, including a look at the Suffolk gentry and their West Indian plantations. Thomas Clarkson lectures are being held on November 3 at Bury Record Office at 10.30am, and at Ipswich Record Office at 2pm.

African History Month includes Heritage Walks round Ipswich, art exhibitions, a Nubian film season, the launch of the book Miracle in Kigali, a photographic exhibition, comedy, poetry sessions, African women's group cultural days, concerts by Ladysmith Black Mambazo and Beverley Knight, and Gospel Music.

Jane Basham, director of Ipswich and Suffolk Council for Racial Equality, said: “African History Month in Suffolk is becoming more critical to all of us.

“This is an opportunity for all Suffolk's community to engage with and benefit from our rich and diverse community. “Be open - be challenged - enjoy.”

How will you mark African History month? How are you celebrating the end of slavery? What do you think? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

What? Memorial Lecture - Squaring the Triangle

Where? New Wolsey Theatre

When? September 24 at 7pm

Who? Speaker - Pam Fraser Solomon tv producer and campaigner for diversity in the arts.

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