Museum collections inspire new black history book


A new educational book celebrating Black British history was launched this month, following a partnership between Aspire Black Suffolk and area museums.

The publication uses the museum’s collections to tell untold historical stories from the black community in Suffolk and beyond. Three versions have been created, so it can be used in primary, secondary and higher education, as well as by museums and community groups.

Elimu – The Little Book of Knowledge was inspired by the Power of Stories exhibition, originally created by Ipswich Museums with community curators in 2021 and currently touring Suffolk. Elimu is a Kiswahili (also known as Swahili) term meaning “knowledge”.

Aspire Black Suffolk worked with Suffolk County Council to produce the book, as well as the Association for Suffolk Museums, which helped link the content to local museums.

“These interactive books aim to help influence change that works for everyone,” says Ellisha Soanes, Co-Director of Aspire Black Suffolk and Head of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at Eastern Colleges Group.

“We hope teachers, families, youth and communities will connect with the stories and benefit from an educational resource that offers insight into untold stories from Black history, which will enrich students’ understanding of the world in which they live.

“We are very proud of the book and would like to make it clear that the books are for use all year round, not just during Black History Month.”

Among the black personalities celebrated in the book are Nigerian Yoruba princess Remi (Sijuwade) Morrison, community elder Derrick Bobbington Thomas, African historian Imani Sorhaindo, social worker Keiran Miles and BBC Suffolk and 1Xtra radio presenter , Angelle Joseph.

Members of the Windrush Generation act as inspirational role models, as does musical artist and philanthropist Stormzy. Black servicemen, as well as war heroes such as Mary Seacole, artist Josephine Baker, boxer Joe Louise and innovator Walter Tull, are also present.

The book includes QR codes that link to videos and audio content.

Printed books are free for local authority schools, museums and community groups only, and PDF books are available via an online form.

Elimu book cover Credit: Aspire Black Suffolk

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