During October, Stoke-on-Trent City Council is celebrating Black History Month by remembering the achievement and contributions of those of black heritage to the city’s culture and history.
Black History Month was first observed in the UK in October 1987, with an event in London to celebrate the contributions of black people throughout history. It aims to celebrate black history, heritage and culture and the individuals that have contributed to them.
As part of the celebrations, Lord Mayor Cllr Faisal Hussain visited the North Staffordshire Combined Healthcare NHS Trust’s stand at their Black History Month Celebration event at Harplands Hospital on Friday 14 October. The event was run for the Trust’s staff by the Equality Network for Race, Inclusion and Cultural Heritage (ENRICH).
Lord Mayor, Cllr Faisal Hussain said: “I would like to thank the North Staffordshire Combined Healthcare NHS Trust for inviting me to this important event to celebrate Black History Month. This month allows us to reflect on the diversity of Stoke-on-Trent and the important contributions of black people to our city.”
Over the course of the month, the city council have been sharing the stories of prominent people from the Stoke-on-Trent black community. These include Olympic sprinter Ashleigh Nelson, Reverend Geoff Eze and Chax Barbers as well as former Lord Mayor, Doug Brown (pictured), who served on Stoke-on-Trent City Council for over 20 years. Doug’s father, Eugene came to England from Ghana and served in the British Army alongside his brother, John.
During WW2, Doug trained as a physiotherapist to help with the recovery of injured soldiers and then continued this work in the newly formed NHS. In 1960 he became the physio for Stoke City F.C. Doug also set up Ladsandads football which is still going strong all over the city today.
He was first elected to Stoke-on-Trent City Council in 1967 and served two terms as Lord Mayor, in 1984 and 1997. During his eras as Lord Mayor he met lots of local residents and civic dignitaries, including King Charles III (then the Prince of Wales) and Princess Diana on several occasions.
Doug’s son Martin said: “Dad loved his work and the City of Stoke-on-Trent where he was born and raised with his two brothers Eugene and Roy, who also played for Stoke. Dad also won an award for “It’s my City” which was presented to him again by the late Princess Diana.”
The Potteries Museum and Art Gallery are also sharing the stories behind key items from their collections related to black history. Go to www.stokemuseums.org.uk/pmag.
Cllr Abi Brown, leader of the city council said: “Stoke-on-Trent is a proudly diverse city and black histories are a key part of its history and culture. We want to celebrate that diversity and highlight the stories of black people and communities in our area throughout the month of October as part of Black History Month. These include stories of black communities who served in the first and second world wars, present-day icons such as those inducted into our Stoke-on-Trent Sporting Hall of fame and more. Please join us as we highlight this key aspect of our history.”
For more information go to https://www.stoke.gov.uk/blackhistorymonth