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CHILDREN should be taught more about the legacy of the British empire, colonialism and the slave trade, Jeremy Corbyn plans to say today.
In a speech given in Bristol to mark Black History Month, the Labour leader will emphasise the importance of black British figures in the country’s history, such as local civil rights activist Paul Stephenson – who organised the Bristol bus boycott of 1963 against the “colour bar” that stopped ethnic minorities from working on Bristol’s buses in the 1960s.
Mr Corbyn is also expected to announce plans to teach black British history in schools, arguing that this is essential education in understanding the legacy and ongoing impact of events such as the bus boycott across Britain.
“In the light of the Windrush scandal, Black History Month has taken on a renewed significance and it is more important now than ever that we learn and understand as a society the role and legacy of the British empire, colonisation and slavery,” Mr Corbyn will say.
“Black History Month is a crucial chance to celebrate the immense contribution of black Britons to this country, to reflect on our common history and ensure that such grave injustices can never happen again.”
Mr Corbyn and shadow women and equalities minister Dawn Butler are expected to visit Alone with Empire – a local exhibition dedicated to the legacy of colonialism.
He will also announce Labour’s plans to support an Emancipation Education Trust to educate future generations about African history, as well as the history of slavery and emancipation.
Mr Corbyn will say: “The story of Paul Stephenson and the Bristol Bus Boycott is such an inspirational reminder that our rights are hard-won, not given – and of the fantastic example set by so many black Britons.
“Paul is a true British hero and his story should be as widely known as Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott.
“It was the bravery and determination of people like Paul, standing up against injustice, that paved the way for the first Race Relations Act and the outlawing of such discrimination in our country.”
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