Black History projects celebrate female community leaders

Adrian Williams

Adrian Williams

Multiple figures in the community have been putting together projects to celebrate black history over the past several weeks – with more to come.

Black History Month was in October – but those involved in Slough’s contribution have committed to a broader Black History Project, not designated to a single specific month.

“You don’t have to wait for a particular month to research black history,” said Jordon Maynard-Daley, a freelance Black History Project producer.

“There definitely seems to be an appetite for expanding (the project). I feel that it has raised awareness in the community and we’re looking into ways of developing it further next year.”

Over the course of the past few weeks, four ‘sheroes’ murals celebrating and recognising the achievements of black women in the community have been put up in public areas.

The concept was put together by writer and storyteller Christina Brooks-Abraham and the murals were created by artist Calvin Ruan.

The pair collaborated for a similar project to celebrate some of the town’s most inspiring black male role models last year.

Two of the new murals are in the Queensmere shopping centre and two are at The Centre in Farnham Road.

One depicts Lydia Simmons, the first black female mayor of Slough during the 1980s.

Another is of Christina Brooks-Abraham herself, as a community leader supporting young people throughout the UK and internationally.

The third is of two athletes who took part in the Olympic and Commonwealth Games, Marcia Richardson and Lesley Owusu.

The fourth and final mural is a ‘spiritual’ portrait – an anonymous figure that represents the black woman of faith who provides crucial support to many people in the community.

The subjects of the depictions were nominated by the four men from last year’s murals.

The pieces of art are accompanied by blogs by Christina Brooks-Abraham and video interviews by filmmaker Rochdale Alexis, which will be available online soon.

A second black history project included a ‘takeover’ of the Instagram of HOME Slough showcasing the many careers of black people in Slough. There is also a new podcast, BLAPOW!, wherein black women talk about their work achievements.

For the fourth project so far, a documentary, The Black Mark – about the contribution black men to Slough – is being put together.

“It’s about raising awareness for young people about everything that happened before their time,” said Jordon.

The film is set to be released early next year. Further Black History projects are also in the pipeline, with details to come.

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