Jeremy Corbyn vows to increase teaching of black history in schools

Pippa Crerar Deputy political editor
Jeremy Corbyn meets members of the public during a visit to the Alone with Empire exhibition at City Hall in Bristol. Photograph: Andrew Matthews/PA

Jeremy Corbyn has announced proposals to increase the amount of black history taught in schools, along with the history of the British empire, colonialism and slavery.

A Labour government would improve the teaching of the subject, potentially including it in the national curriculum, party sources said.

Corbyn said it was vital for future generations of schoolchildren to understand the role that black Britons had played in the nation’s history and the struggle for racial equality.

He highlighted the significance of the stories of black British role models who campaigned for racial equality and justice in Britain, as well as those who struggled for liberation from colonial rule overseas.

They included Mary Seacole, a pioneering nurse during the Crimean war and Walter Tull, a footballing trailblazer and war hero. He said that the British campaigner Paul Stephenson, who played a central role in the Bristol Bus Boycott in the 1960s, should be as famous Rosa Parks.

On a visit to Bristol, the wealth of which was built on the slave trade, Corbyn said: “Black history is British history, and it should not be confined to a single month each year. It is vital that future generations understand the role that Black Britons have played in our country’s history and the struggle for racial equality.

“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.”

The Labour leader also set out plans to support a new Emancipation Educational Trust to educate future generations about slavery and the struggle for emancipation through school programmes, visits to historical sites and focusing on African civilisation before colonisation.