New Resources Teaching Black History for KS1Students

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Historically the teaching of Black History in the UK has not been very thorough, and that’s putting it politely. Which is why I am always so pleased when I see efforts being made and new resources produced to challenge previous teachings and expand young peoples knowledge. Last year I was lucky enough to be asked to present some new videos for BBC Teach highlighting some key figures from British Black History. Below are 6 videos that can be used as resources for teaching black history for KS1 students. In each video we hear the story of a black icon that has shaped the history in Britain. The 6 icons are:-

  • Mary Seacole
  • Olaudah Equiano
  • Betty Campbell
  • Floella Benjamin
  • Laurie Cunningham
  • Malorie Blackman

Mary Seacole (1805 – 1881)

Mary was born in Jamaica, where her mother ran a guest house in Kingston. Her father was a Scottish army officer. Mary learned traditional healing skills from her mother and was able to use these during outbreaks of cholera and yellow fever in Kingston.

In 1853 during the Crimean war Mary travelled to London intending to join the group of nurses being organised by Florence Nightingale, but at the War Office Mary was told that her services were not needed. Undeterred Mary arranged her own journey to Crimea, where she established the British Hotel . The British Hotel was close to the fighting and Mary was able to use her skills to care for wounded soldiers.

Olaudah Equiano (1745 – 1797)

Olaudah was born in Nigeria. As a child he was sold as a slave and taken to America. During his time as an enslaved person he had several different masters, the last of whom allowed him to buy his freedom. Olaudah travelled to London where he worked initially as a barber. Olaudah was an early campaigner against the slave trade (an ‘abolitionist’) and key to his success was his autobiography The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, in which he described his early life and the horrors of slavery. It was immensely popular during his lifetime and helped the passage of legislation banning the slave trade in the UK, which happened in 1807.

Betty Campbell (1934 – 2017)

Betty Campbell was born in Cardiff in 1934. Her mother wanted her to try her very best in school, and she did! She was a very good pupil. In fact, she enjoyed learning so much that she dreamed of becoming a teacher herself. One day, Betty told one of her teachers about her dream. But sadly, that teacher told Betty that a black girl from a poor family could never become a successful teacher. It was the first time she’d ever cried in school. But it made her more determined she was going to be a teacher. Betty started training to be a teacher in 1960. She was one of only six female students at Cardiff Teacher Training College, which is where people go to learn how to be a teacher.

Floella Benjamin (Born 1949)

Baroness Floella Benjamin was born in 1949 on the Caribbean island called Trinidad. At age 10, Floella moved to the United Kingdom. She says she did not feel welcome in the UK at that time and that she found it really hard to fit in. Floella went on to appear in many different shows, and when she was 27 years old she became one of the presenters of a children’s TV show called Play School. It’s one of the most popular children’s TV programmes ever!

In 1995 Floella wrote a book all about herself called Coming to England. It describes her journey as a child from Trinidad in the Caribbean all the way to England in the UK. It’s a story about what it’s like to arrive somewhere new and feel very different from everyone else.

Laurie Cunningham (1956 – 1989)

Laurie Cunningham was one of the first people to show us that black British footballers can be very successful. Laurie’s parents, Mavis and Elias, came to Britain from Jamaica, and Laurie was born in London in 1956. When he was 18, Laurie joined a football team in London called Leyton Orient. He was always really fast and everyone thought he was an amazing player. Laurie did so well that three years later, when he was 21, he signed for a very big club called West Bromwich Albion.

In 1977 Laurie was asked to play for England. He made history by becoming one of the very first black players to play for his country. People enjoyed watching Laurie on TV, where they saw him dazzling defenders and scoring incredible goals. He was an inspiration to everyone, especially young black children who dreamt of joining a big football club.

Malorie Blackman (1962)

Malorie Blackman’s was born in London in 1962. Her parents moved to London from the Caribbean island of Barbados and she’s one of five children. As a child Malorie loved reading, and by the time she was 11 she had read all the books in the children’s section at her local library! She said she wanted to be a teacher when she grew up, but when she finished studying at college and school, she found a job working with computers. In her spare time Malorie wrote her first book for children, which was called Not So Stupid. It was a difficult time because Malorie couldn’t find anyone who wanted to turn her story into a book. She was 28 when she finally found a publisher who loved her story and helped her to get it into the shops. Since then Malorie has written more than 60 books for children and has won many awards for her work. She also writes for TV shows like Doctor Who. Her most famous story is called Noughts and Crosses.

More resources for Black History

I hope you find these videos helpful when teaching black history for KS1 Students. Remember its never too early to start making children aware of Black History . Plus, we don’t have to wait until Black history month to do it either. Make sure you check out some of the other resources I have made on the subject including:-

Black History for Pre-School Children and Toddlers

Educating our Kids about Diversity

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