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‘Our Time Has Come’ …encourages KS 3 -4 students of all backgrounds to reach an informed understanding of (and respect for) their own and each other’s identities by reflecting positively on their heritage, cultures and potential as active citizens.
Notes for Teachers 1 "Good resource, but a lack of British black people on it … It is important for young black people growing up in the UK to be aware of role models in the UK. “ http: //www. tes. co. uk/teaching-resource/Famous-Black-People-6024777/ accessed 21/11/2012 “Schools are usually thoughtful enough to ensure that there is a focus on more positive proactive Black experiences after the Slave Trade was abolished by the British in 1807, yet this usually focuses on the United States of America. ” Robin Whitburn and Sharon Yemoh, ‘“My people struggled too”: hidden histories and heroism’, Teaching History, Issue 147, June 2012, pp. 16 -25, on p. 18
Notes for Teachers 2 ‘Our Time Has Come’ is a set of resources uploaded to the Guardian Teacher Network website. The resources provide the content, sources and information to support the delivery of a local and relevant approach to postwar black history in the British classroom. They use the achievements of Bernie Grant (1944– 2000) as an opportunity to develop pupils’ knowledge and understanding of significant individuals. Bernie Grant was one of four Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME) MPs elected to Parliament in 1987; the others were Diane Abbott, Paul Boateng and Keith Vaz. All four represented the Labour Party. The collective resource title ‘Our Time Has Come’ is the headline of a front-page article in the Caribbean Times celebrating this historic moment in the history of BAME representation in Britain. Prior to the 1980 s, the last time a BAME MP had been elected to Parliament was in 1922 (see Our Time Has Come (2) for more information).
Notes for Teachers 3 ‘Our Time Has Come’ consists of five resources uploaded separately but sharing a common title and theme. Taught as a set ‘Our Time Has Come’ is expected to take 2 -3 hours of class time. However, the resources are intended to be flexibly used. Teachers are encouraged to pick and choose from the presentations, activities and historical sources provided to suit their teaching and learning needs. They might, for example: – teach the set as a self-standing study as part of Black History Month (Oct) or Parliament Week (Nov) – ‘nest’ aspects of the set within other areas of study – use the resources as a springboard into the study of how individuals affect history ‘Our Time Has Come’ assumes from the teacher basic prior knowledge of: – 20 th century UK Parliamentary processes – the role of a British MP
Notes for Teachers 4 Use of Materials in ‘Our Time Has Come’ Unless otherwise stated, the documents and images included in this set of resources are from the Bernie Grant Archive. They have been cleared for reproduction for learning purposes with the permission of the Bernie Grant Archive, owned by the Bernie Grant Trust and housed in the Bishopsgate Institute Archive. http: //www. bishopsgate. org. uk/Library-and-Archive-Collections/Labour-and-Socialist-History/Grant-Bernie
Notes for Teachers 5 Useful Web-links http: //www. berniegrantarchive. org. uk/ http: //www. pinterest. com/bishopsgateinst/bernie-grant-and-nelson-mandela/ http: //news. bbc. co. uk/1/hi/uk/1517672. stm http: //www. nationalarchives. gov. uk/cabinetpapers/themes/racerelations. htm#Race%20 Relations%20 Act%201976 http: //www. blackpresence. co. uk/ http: //www. open. ac. uk/researchprojects/makingbritain/content/shapurji-saklatvala http: //www. 100 greatblackbritons. com/bios/bernie_grant. html http: //www. the-latest. com/black-power-at-the-uk-parliament http: //www. youtube. com/watch? v=FLVIXAkm. FCs (Bernie Grant at the Labour Party Conference 1984) http: //www. youtube. com/watch? v=d 4 a 74 NC 6 a. QA (Bernie Grant speaking in the House of Commons 1999)
Our Time Has Come (1)
‘A sincere and courageous leader’* Learning objectives • To discover Bernie Grant’s achievements as an MP • To reflect on the roles and responsibilities of public life then and now • To use sources to understand why Bernie Grant is seen as important
Display this image of Bernie Grant ahead of the lessons. Don’t tell pupils who it is.
Shortly before you begin to deliver the lessons, change the image to this photograph of Bernie Grant with Nelson Mandela
On the day you plan to begin the lessons, replace the previous images with this one of Bernie Grant wearing traditional African robes and standing outside the Houses of Parliament. Grant wore these robes on his first day in Parliament as an MP in 1987 as well as on subsequent celebratory or significant public occasions.
‘A sincere and courageous leader’
Key words Combat Oppressed Pioneer Trailblazer Underdog Grass roots Oppression Courage
“An inspiration to the whole Black community” You will find the resources and instructions to carry out this taster activity as a Word document as part of the Our Time Has Come resource series posted here: http: //teachers. theguardian. co m/teacherresources/13959/Our-Time. Has-Come-Taster-Activity
Bernie Grant was one of four BAME MPs elected in 1987. Grant was a Labour MP representing Tottenham in north London. He remained MP for Tottenham until his death in 2000. After his death, books of condolence were placed around the Borough of Haringey for local people to express their thoughts and their grief. Hundreds of ‘ordinary’ men and women signed these books. Their messages of sympathy show Bernie was viewed by his constituents (those he represented in Parliament) and the wider public.
Example entries from the condolence books “The people of Tottenham have lost a wonderful representative – someone who would take up the day-to-day personal problems of ordinary working people, however large or small. ” “You have been an inspiration to all of the British Black Community. You spoke out for us and stood by your words. You will be greatly missed. ” “We thank Bernie for all his hard work for everyone – regardless of race, colour or creed. No-one will ever replace you. ”
Bernie Grant was never afraid to speak out against injustice. This means he is remembered by many only for the more controversial opinions he expressed, most particularly his views on the 1985 riots when he spoke out in support of the young people in Tottenham. Both at the time and afterwards, these views were misquoted or taken out of context. Some of his views were also more in tune with minorities or with ‘ordinary’ people than with mainstream British society or media standpoints. This meant that Grant was often isolated from colleagues in Parliament. See source opposite.
However, for the thousands of men, women and children whose lives he affected or improved directly, Bernie Grant was a hero. This was never more apparent than in 2000 after his death. Bernie Grant’s funeral was attended by more than 5, 000 mourners. The messages left in the condolence books afterwards showed that Bernie Grant really did ‘make a difference’ to the lives of thousands of ordinary men and women. The messages also show his approach to politics and public life.
Suggested Activity • • • Black Leader Community Activist International Campaigner Local Politician Human Being The evidence from the condolence books shows that Bernie Grant achieved an extraordinary feat as a politician. Not only did he support and spearhead a number of global or international campaigns and movements but he also campaigned actively on behalf of his constituents in Tottenham, which was how he earned these types of plaudits on his death. Many were highly personal. Thinking about the extracts seen during this lesson, ask pupils to consider which aspects of Bernie Grant’s character made him an inspiring leader to the Black British community in the 1980 s and 1990 s? They should answer this question in paragraphs, using examples to explain and support their views.