At the beginning of the year, Sandwell councillor, Jackie Taylor, invited Multistory to produce a book about the African-Caribbean communities in Sandwell and the Black Country.
In their busiest celebratory event yet, well over a hundred people came together to launch this wonderful new book – Black Country Roots – at the West Bromwich African Caribbean Resource Centre on 20 October, 2016.
Through oral history interviews and photography. the book describes personal, real life accounts, in people’s own words, of experiences of racism, food, illness, first jobs, Caribbean bread, when Maisy met Mohammad Ali, street parties, the effects of Brexit and inviting Malcolm X to Smethwick.
The stories are accompanied by a series of historic and contemporary images that come from a range of sources including local archives and the personal collections of participants. Other photographs come from acclaimed photographers Martin Parr, John Bulmer, Paul Hill, Peter Donnelly, Nick Hedges and Vanley Burke.
Word of the book launch even reached Deputy Labour Leader, Tom Watson, who mentions missing “a brilliant afternoon and good old knees-up”, in his blog post ‘Celebrating Black History Month‘. He says:
“Many of the people featured in the book first came over to Britain to support rebuilding after the second world war, working in transport, industry and of course – our NHS. We have made great strides in this country in the area of racial understanding and equality since then. We can’t stop now”.
To buy the book visit Multistory’s shop.
Words by Becky Sexton at Multistory.