October is  Black History Month, an annual commemoration of the history, achievements and contributions of black people in the UK. Wandsworth Libraries have a full programme of events celebrating African and Caribbean cultures and histories.

The list below is provisional and subject to change. If you would like to attend an event please contact the library as booking is essential.

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Saturday 5

11am-1pm Southfields Library, 020 8780 1945
Creative Bags Using African Textiles
Learn about African textiles with fashion designer and textile artist, Sylvia Emodi.  African textiles are rich in their variety of materials and combination of colours.  They are an expression of rituals, communication and art - conventional as well as contemporary.  As part of the session, the workshop will give you an opportunity to get practical with a range of craft techniques. Suitable for the entire family.

Tuesday 8

6.30-8pm Battersea Library, 0207 223 2334
1925 Coloured Alien Seamen Order

This talk by Iqbal Singh of the National Archives offers an opportunity to look at copies of documents relating to the racially discriminatory 1925 Coloured Alien Seamen’s Order. Initially targeted at ‘Arab’ sailors it was extended to cover all ‘coloured seamen’ including non-seamen. The order classified colonial workers as ‘aliens’ if they were unable to prove their status as British. Using brief case studies, the talk will bring to life some of the stories of those affected by the order.

Wednesday 9

6-8pm York Gardens Library, 020 7223 2341
Tracing Your African-Caribbean Ancestors
It is often assumed that it is impossible to research black ancestors in the Caribbean but there are many records in Britain and increasingly on the internet that can enable people to trace their family history there.  Dr Kathleen Chater worked for the BBC until 1994. One of her interests was family history so when she left she became self-employed as a writer of books and articles on aspects of history and also as a trainer in research skills for the media and for family historians.
7.30pm Wandsworth Town Library, 020 8877 1742
The Confessions of Frannie Langton

Come and meet author Sara Collins who will be discussing and reading from her bestselling début novel. Book at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/author-event-the-confessions-of-frannie-langton-by-sara-collins-tickets-70375973431 for free tickets.

Thursday 10

10am-12pm Balham Library, 020 8673 1129
Black Entrepreneurs in History – could you turn your passion into a business idea?
This talk by by Loretta Awuah will explore examples of black entrepreneurs across the diaspora, and their motivations for creating the products or services they did and the impact this made on their respective societies. The second part of the talk will involve a workshop activity where attendees will discuss ways in which they could possibly turn a passion into a business idea by focusing on the value of their product or service.  Loretta is part of the SiLL project (Start ups in London Libraries) and will also explain how you can benefit from this and services at the British Library.
2-4pm Tooting Library, 020 8767 0543
Africa and the Carribean Through a Lens
We will exhibit a series of historic images from The National Archives collection showing places and people of London. Do these images take you down Memory Lane?  We’d like you to share your memories and perhaps photographs of London and Tooting with us.  As a participants you will receive a Reminiscence Token of your chosen photograph.
6.30-8pm Putney Library, 020 8780 3085
Arriving on the Windrush: and what the newcomers did next
Many people will only have heard of the Windrush, after which a whole generation has now been named, after the political scandal of 2018.  But the actual Empire Windrush ship has had a surprising history; and that iconic journey of 1948 has resulted in a cultural contribution that continues to impact on contemporary British society. Avril Horsford , a local Putney resident, talks about the twists and turns of their journey and some of the individuals on board.  Find out how the new arrivals settled into their new, and sometimes hostile environment and the shared impact each culture had on one another.

Wednesday 16

10.15-10.45am Southfields Library, 020 8780 1945
Black History Month Story Time
For this special Story Time we will be celebrating some of the most exciting black characters and authors by reading them or about them.
2-4pm Roehampton Library, 020 8246 6979
A Trip Down Memory Lane

Take a trip down Memory Lane with Michael Mahoney from the National Archives and see the exhibition of images from the government historic collections of London’s people and places and share your memories with us.  You will receive a Reminiscence Token of your chosen photograph with your accompanying memory.
6.30-8pm Battersea Library, 020 7223 2334
The History of Black History Month in Britain
Today, Black History Month is well embedded within the British cultural calendar.  This audio-visual assisted presentation will provide the story of how it came into being in Britain, with contributions by some of the people who were at the forefront of its introduction. It aims to clarify the purpose of BHM, highlight some of the positive impacts, and pose the question: how do we move forward? A little known Wandsworth connection will also be revealed.
Kwaku is an author/editor of a number of books, educator specialising in black music and African British history, editor of BritishBlackMusic.com

Thursday 17

6.30-8pm Putney Library, 020 8780 3085
My Ancestor was a Lunatic
One type of records give family historians clues about possible mental illness in their ancestry.  We will look at what kinds of records there are and where to look for them.  The subject of insanity was often surrounded with shame, guilt and secrecy – and may be still is - a taboo subject for some families.  This talk covers how insanity and mental illness were regarded in the past and how sufferers from insanity were cared for.
Dr Kathleen Chater is an author and a trainer in research skills for the media and for family historians.  She continues to work on a database of black people in Britain up to the beginning of the 19th century – now numbering 5000.

Friday 18

2-4pm Battersea Library, 020 7223 2334
Meet Author Alex Wheatle

Alex will be talking about his latest book Home Girl which is part of his Crongton series.  It features Naomi, a teenage girl growing up fast (too fast) in the UK care system.  It is a wholly modern narrative which sheds much-needed light on what can be an unsettling life – and the consequences that can follow when young people are treated like pawns on a family chessboard.  Alex Wheatle MBE is an award winning author, poet and playwright.  He teaches in various places including Lambeth College, holds workshops in prisons and is frequently invited to schools to speak to students, inspiring in them with his own story a passion for literature.  A favourite of reading groups and libraries, he is the UK’s most read Black British author.

Monday 21

11am-4pm Roehampton Library, 020 8246 6979
Pop up ‘Book Love’ Carnival
In schools, libraries, galleries, on screens and even on our high streets - the stark lack of culturally inclusive representation, is sadly too obvious.  We at Book Love have made it our mission to change this.  We curate, showcase and bring together the best multicultural content the world of arts has to offer.  Book Love will take you on a journey of discovery with storytelling, meet the author events and the opportunity to buy inspiring books www.thisisbooklove.com
6.30-8pm Earlsfield Library, 020 8946 2088
The Making of the Windrush Generation’
This session by Barbara Ellis  will focus on how the ‘so called Windrush Generation’ linking their presence in the Caribbean from the  buying  and selling of Africans  from the 14th century onwards,  first  by Arabs and then the Europeans.  After Emancipation in 1838, but the destructive policies of the former slave masters and their government to maintain the status quo constantly worked against their drive for economic and self-development.  So they also set about achieving their inborn aspirations in the United Kingdom from 1948, energetically.  They fought against the ‘hostile environment’ they had been invited and recruited into.  The Immigration Act of 2014, their automatic right to citizenship, to work, health care and social entitlements, leaving hundreds of this generation and their families in catastrophic circumstances.

Tuesday 22

3-4pm Southfields Children’s Library, 020 8780 1945
African Folk Tales Using Puppets and Shadow Play
A partly interactive session with Delvene from Littlecrowns Storyhouse. Free event, but booking is essential.  Suitable for ages 5-11years.

Wednesday 23

10.15-11.15am, Southfields Library, 020 8780 1945
African Animals Stories & Craft
As part of our Black History Month celebrations we will be reading about lots of different African animals and showing you how to make your very own African animal.
11am-4pm Battersea Library, 020 7223 2334
Pop up ‘Book Love’ Carnival
In schools, libraries, galleries, on screens and even on our high streets - the stark lack of culturally inclusive representation, is sadly too obvious.  We at Book Love have made it our mission to change this.  We curate, showcase and bring together the best multicultural content the world of arts has to offer.  Book Love will take you on a journey of discovery with storytelling, meet the author events and the opportunity to buy inspiring books www.thisisbooklove.com
11am-1pm Wandsworth Town Library, 020 8877 1742
African Headwrap Workshop

The richness of African textiles, the variety of materials, the combination of colours and its use as an expression of rituals, communication and art is something that is conventional as well as contemporary. Learn about African textiles with fashion designer and textile artist, Sylvia Emodi.   As part of the session, the workshop will give you an opportunity to get practical with a range of craft techniques. Suitable for the entire family.

Thursday 24

3.15-4.15pm Earlsfield Library, 020 8946 2088
Tiger Hunt
An event for children with author Barbara Ellis; a retired teacher, trainer, organiser and author of Tiger Hunt. She is the author of several books on education and Black history, alongside writing stories for children.

Friday 25

11am-4pm Balham Library, 020 8673 1129
Pop up ‘Book Love’ Carnival
In schools, libraries, galleries, on screens and even on our high streets - the stark lack of culturally inclusive representation, is sadly too obvious.  We at Book Love have made it our mission to change this.  We curate, showcase and bring together the best multicultural content the world of arts has to offer.  Book Love will take you on a journey of discovery with storytelling, meet the author events and the opportunity to buy inspiring books www.thisisbooklove.com

Monday 28

10am-12pm Roehampton Library, 020 8246 6979
Black Entrepreneurs in History – could you turn your passion into a business idea?
The talk will explore examples of black entrepreneurs across the diaspora, and their motivations for creating the products or services they did and the impact this made on their respective societies. The second part of the talk will involve a workshop activity where attendees will discuss ways in which they could possibly turn a passion into a business idea by focusing on the value of their product or service.  Loretta is part of the SiLL project (Start ups in London Libraries) and will also explain how you can benefit from this and services at the British Library.

Tuesday 29

6.30-8pm Battersea Library, 020 7223 2334
Black Victorians: Multi-cultural Lives in 19th Century London

Focusing on the historical and cultural geographies of the black presence in Britain (particularly London), the talk will also include Victorian theories of race and anti-racism and the links between contemporary identity and the diverse histories of London.
Dr Caroline Bressey was awarded her PhD on Forgotten Geographies: Historical Geographies of Black Women in Victorian and Edwardian London in 2003. In 2007 she became a lecturer in human geography and founded the Equiano Centre to support research into the Black Presence in Britain. In 2009 she was awarded a Philip Leverhulme Prize.