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Articles by University of Exeter Students

Black History in the South West - Written by Hannah

Often overlooked, the South West has a deep Black History, yet to be fully explored. Black people have influenced the South West for hundreds of years. Dating back to the 16th century, Britain’s involvement in the Transatlantic Slave Trade gave rise to many people being enslaved and brought to SW England to work. Despite the white majority across the region, black people have left their mark everywhere, influencing the world we live in. Fulfilling a multitude of roles, ranging from sheep farming to metal workers, the rural pastures as we know them would not be the same under different circumstances.

The coastal cities of the South West saw lots of action, with ports (including Bristol and Plymouth) becoming hives of activity. Ships poured in and out, bringing new goods and materials and sending exports away simultaneously. This increase in demand was of course a large factor prompting the need for more workers, thus accelerating the people being enslaved and forced to work in England. It is an undeniable truth that the profits made from exploiting slaves, expanded the wealth of Britain, therefore also influencing the infrastructure that still stands today.

Whilst sadly many of the early black settlers were forced to England as slaves or servants, the abolition of the slave trade in 1807 saw a gradual change in attitudes and way of life. Over the following century, black people continued to gain acceptance across the country, with the Reform Act 1832 helping to acknowledge black people to have similar rights and entitlements. Further improvements to attitudes came with the arrival of the First and Second World War. Suddenly there was a massive shortage of workers, enabling black people to prove their importance and helping to shift attitudes. After the 2nd World War particularly, larger amounts of African American people came to settle in the South.

Now in 2022, we would not be where we are without the exceptional individuals that have come before us. The boldness of historical figures has developed a cohesion amongst all races in society. Without making claims to society being equal, it is nice to reflect and celebrate on the successes of individuals. Cleo Lake, for example, the first Black woman to be Bristol’s Lord Mayor. This is particularly exciting as we need to demonstrate what anybody can achieve in order to further advocate for black people to succeed alongside white, without race interfering.

Despite being less frequently acknowledged, black history is intertwined throughout Exeter and the South West. The exploitation of slaves had such a huge impact on Britain that the influence can be seen across the entire country. Although it is a complicated and upsetting past, we can still value all the contributions black people made to SW England, whilst their influence continues to affect our everyday life. It is perhaps a nice way to build on the past by valuing and respecting what they contributed, a gratitude which perhaps was not expressed by people at that point in time.


Bristol Bus Boycott - by Rachel

Authors Note;

It’s very common that when we think of Black History Month, our mind goes to the iconic figures of the US Civil Rights- Martin Luther King, Harriet Tubman and Malcolm X. Whilst revolutionary things occurred across the pond, it’s important to also recognise the events that occurred on our doorstep. At the same time as the US, Britain also experienced some major campaigns which brought attention to racial discrimination and inequality faced by People of Colour.

I think it’s also important to note how recently these events occurred. With news being a 24/7 industry, it’s easy to consider the 1950’s and 60’s as a distant memory, especially when so many of us were not born at the time. However, some of our parents and grandparents would have been alive in the 60’s, and did witness these events, perhaps even engaged with them.

With that being said, it’s not too late for us to engage with social action causes, and be changemakers in our own communities.

After the Second World War, Britain experienced major labour shortages. As a solution to this, they invited people from their Caribbean colonies to help fulfil labour demand and work in Britain. This was an exciting economic prospect for many Caribbean people- Britain had been portrayed as a haven, a place of economic opportunity and prosperity. So many agreed, and families of Caribbean people boarded boats like the HMT Empire Windrush from the Islands to the British Isles.

British life was far from what the Caribbeans had expected. There were many challenges in finding work and housing. At times, they were forced to live in squalid conditions, as a result of low paying jobs, and lack of access to good housing. Attitudes towards West Indian citizens were also negative, with many people believing immigration was not being controlled well by the government. There was a belief that the young Caribbean men had come to “steal” jobs from the white population. Stereotypes like these were used to harass and victimise people of colour around Britain.

In 1955, the Bristol branch of the Transport and General Workers Union passed a resolution, banning ‘coloured’ people from working as bus drivers and conductors. It was argued that white bus conductresses should not work with Black bus drivers, and that the Black workers were not good enough to work as drivers or conductors on Bristolian buses. The operators of the bus group, Bristol Omnibus Company, did nothing to stop this.

In response to this resolution and other discrimination faced by People of Colour, a lobbying group established by Owen Henry, Roy Hackett, Audley Evans and Prince Brown. These men wanted to campaign for equal rights in Bristol, whilst raising awareness of the discrimination faced by their community. They called themselves the West Indian Development Council (WIDC). They partnered with a Black Youth Officer, Paul Stephenson, to raise awareness for the racist policies of the Bristol’s Transport Union.

In April 1963, a boycott was called by Stephenson and the WIDC. A well-qualified young man, Guy Bailey, had tried to get a job as a bus driver in Bristol. However, when the manager realised that Guy was black, he was immediately denied an interview. As a result of this, many people of colour and allies protested in support of Guy, staging large scale demonstrations in the city centre. Students at the University of Bristol also took to the streets in protest, refusing to use the buses and demonstrating in support of the WIDC and Guy Bailey.

The boycott quickly garnered attention from the media throughout the Spring and Summer, with news publications across the world sharing the story. Many famous names supported the campaign, including Prime Minister Harold Wilson, the Bishop of Bristol and the famous West Indian cricketer and diplomat, Sir Learie Constantine.

With growing pressure and scrutiny from the public and government, the Bristol Omnibus Company were forced to recede the racist ban in August of 1963, and allow People of Colour to access jobs as bus drivers. This was a historic victory for West Indians in the South West.


Roy Hackett, one of the campaigners in the Boycott, passed away earlier this year, aged 93. I hope that even in his passing, the story of his actions can continue to be shared.

Works Cited

Black British Fashion Designers - Written by Rachel

Black people have contributed to trends in fashion, culture and media for centuries- from the introduction of new colours and pigments, to curating brands and aesthetics tied to their backgrounds and history.

Recently, more and more of these brands are being represented and given credit in the fashion industry. Finding their communities through social media, many independent businesses build loyal audience through their virtual world. This can help them get the attention of the influencers and celebrities globally. Department stores like Selfridges are also partnering with Black owned brands to introduce them to a new audience, by giving them a platform to sell their garments and accessories.

Below are some Black-British Businesses making an impact in the fashion scene in the UK.

Ozwald Boateng
Oswald Boateng is a prodigy within the tailoring and menswear industry. A British fashion designer of Ghanaian descent, Boateng is known for his interpretations of classic British tailoring and bespoke style. Often incorporating colour and traditional African prints (such as ‘Kente’ cloth from his native Ghana) it’s clear to see how his heritage influences his style.
He also founded the ‘Made in Africa Foundation’ and provides first-stage funding business development of large-scale projects in Africa.

Kai Collective
Gaining major interest during the coronavirus pandemic, Kai Collective is an abstract fashion created by Fisayo Longe. The brand is well known for the consideration of different shapes and bodies, as well as their iconic ‘Gaia’ print, which is a bestseller and winner of ‘Dress pf the Year’ by Okay Africa. They pride themselves on creating distinctive and colourful prints, which are emblematic of the brand.

Vitae London
Created by William Adoasi, Vitae London is a high-end watch brand, with a philanthropic focus. With each purchase of a classic watch, a child in Africa receives two sets of school uniform, a bag and footwear, which should last them a school year or electricity for a rural village. Adoasi’s success in social entrepreneurship speaks to the message of his brand, “Time, and its opportunities, belong to all of us, wherever we are in the world, we can live without limits.”

Farai London
Farai London is a premium womenswear brand, based in London. Known for their bright, abstract designs, it’s clear to see why the likes of Megan the Stallion, Kylie Jenner and Gabrielle Union have worn their garments previously. The bright, bold colours used in their designs are adventurous and a clear selling point of the brand.

Benjart is a premium fashion and streetwear brand, based in the UK. Sold both online and in department stores like Harvey Nichols, the brand focuses on creating high quality streetwear for men, women and children. The brand also has ties to the rap scene, with popular British grime and rap artists wearing the garments on social media, and collaborating to create limited edition collections. Most recently, the brand is known for featuring in Stormzy’s ‘Mel Made

Bristol Bus Boycott - Written by Rory

The Montgomery Bus Boycott, and the actions of Rosa Parks at the height of the Civil Rights Movement in the United States is a well know course of events, that have been retold repeatedly, especially in the US, but are also well know in the UK. What is less know, are the story of Guy Bailey, and the actions of Paul Stephenson in 1963, sparking the Bristol Bus Boycott (Mansour, 2014).

In 1963, Guy Bailey, a Bristolian of West-Indian descent applied for a job at the Bristol Omnibus Company, and was offered an interview, with the company unaware that he was black. Upon arrival at his interview, despite being more than qualified to be a bus conductor, he was turned away on account of his skin colour. This was entirely legal at the time, with no law preventing racial discrimination existing in the UK at the time. However, it transpired that the whole situation had been set up by Paul Stephenson, who was the spokesperson for the West Indian Development Council, in order to call public attention to the rampant racial discrimination that existed across the United Kingdom (Nasar, 2020).

Following Bailey’s interview rejection, the West Indian Development Council (WIDC), led by Stephenson, and WIDC youth workers: Roy Hackett, Owen Henry, Audley Evans and Prince Brown, a four-month boycott of Bristol’s buses took place. The effects of this were so crippling, that the Bristol Omnibus Company had to overturn its colour bar and allow black people to work on their buses. This took time for such integration to settle in with all of the general public, but a big battle had been won (Nasar, 2020).

However, overturning to colour bar was not the only victory won by the boycott. Led by Tony Benn, the Labour Party began to campaign for increased racial equality across the United Kingdom, and in 1964, the ran on a manifesto that included pledges to introduce legislation combatting racial discrimination. Upon coming to power in 1964 the Wilson government introduced the Race Relations Act (1965). This legislation banned discrimination based on skin colour, which whilst not perfect legislation, was a massive step in the direction of racial equality in the UK (Mansour, 2014).

So, from the actions of Stephenson, and Roy Hackett, Owen Henry, Audley Evans and Prince Brown, the youth workers of the West Indian Development Council, massive leaps in racial equality were achieved across the UK. Starting in Bristol with the removal of the colour bar at the Bristol Omnibus Company, and then spreading to the UK Government with the Race Relations Act (1965), what began as a small action of protest by a few black Bristolians, spread into nation change and improvement for Black people across the UK.


Mansour, C., 2014. The Cross-National Diffusion of the American Civil. OpenEdition Journals, Volume 10.
Nasar, S., 2020. Remembering Edward Colston: histories of slavery. Women's History Review, 29(7), pp. 1218 - 1225.

Black Climate Activists - Written by Rory

Climate activism is now a decades old form of activism, culminating in the UK’s context in the school strikes in 2019 and 2020, led by Greta Thunberg, who has become a household name, and Time Magazine’s Person of the Year in 2019 (Jung, et al., 2020). Yet climate activists in the UK, and across the Global North, are portrayed as almost entirely white, to the point that they are cropped out of photos, as happened to Vanessa Nakate in reporting of the World Economic Forum in 2020 (Barnes, 2022). With the theme of Black History Month in 2022 being “Time for Change: Action Not Words”, it’s a perfect opportunity to explore the action and activism of three black climate activists.

Vanessa Nakate
Vanessa Nakate (25) was born in Kampala, Uganda in 1996. She graduated in 2018, and began climate strikes outside of the Ugandan Parliament, inspired by Greta Thunberg (Barnes, 2021). Nakate has quickly become one of the leading Sub-Saharan climate activists, and has risen to the same levels as Greta Thunberg, her inspiration, who, she stood alongside at the World Economic Forum in 2020 (Barnes, 2021). In 2015, at COP26 in Glasgow, Nakate spoke alongside Thunberg and other climate activists (CIWEM, 2021), bringing highlight to the damage being done to her country and others, urging her government to act, and urging governments around the world to make a concerted effort to put political differences aside, and focus on the grave challenge at hand. She went on the be named People’s COP’s Breakout Star of COP26 (CIWEM, 2021).

Aniya Butler
Aniya Butler (15) is part of the climate activism network Youth vs Apocalypse, based in Oakland California (Tineo, 2021). She is a Lead Circle Member, as well as a Hip Hop & Climate Justice Coordinator. In this role she leads protests of tens of thousands of people, as well as helping to improve people’s abilities to communicate the need for action on climate change. She focuses on the intersectionality of climate change, not limiting her activism simply to the straight science and politics of climate change, and rather linking in all the associated issues, such as gender and race prejudice and systematic disadvantage (Youth VS Apocalypse, 2020).

Reverend Dr. Ambrose F. Carroll
Reverend Dr. Ambrose F. Carroll is a senior pastor the Church by the Side of the Road, in Berkely California. He created the Green The Church organisation, which aims to create a US-wide campaign for churches to address climate change in their own practices and buildings, as well as spreading the message that climate change is an issue that everyone needs to tackle (Tineo, 2021). This has spread across the US, and black faith communities are now working closely through their churches to make their own communities more sustainable, from the ground up (Tineo, 2021).


  • Barnes, B., 2021. Reimagining African Women Youth Climate Activism: The Case of Vanessa Nakate. Sustainability, 13(23).
  • Barnes, B., 2022. Racism, climate activism, and the politics of apology: the image exclusion of Black youth activists. Psychological Society of South Africa.
  • CIWEM, 2021. ‘We can’t eat coal. We can’t drink oil. We can’t breathe natural gas’. [Online]
    Available at:
    [Accessed 23 October 2022].
  • Jung, J., Petkanic, P., Nan, D. & Kim, J. H., 2020. When a Girl Awakened the World: A User and Social Message Analysis of Greta Thunberg. Sustainability, 12(7).
  • Tineo, A., 2021. 11 Black Climate Activists You Should Know and Support. [Online]
    Available at:
    [Accessed 23 October 2022].
  • Youth VS Apocalypse, 2020. Aniya Butler. [Online]
    Available at:
    [Accessed 23 October 2022].

Mwaita is a postgraduate law student from Harare, Zimbabwe. Having grown up in one of the most interesting periods of politics in Zimbabwe, she is passionate about law, commerce and politics. She is an aspiring solicitor who hopes to advocate for black excellence within the legal sector and impact a generation of strong, black, female leaders.

I am sure you have heard about Martin Luther King or Malcom X, the male faces of the black movement in the United States. Have you ever stopped to think who else was instrumental in these movements, who might have done more for black people than we have ever been taughtI have, and my thought centred around wanting to know the women who played their part. There are many to choose from and I have narrowed the list down to three phenomenal women who have made a great contribution in their own regard. These women are Madame CJ Walker, Mamie Till Mobley and Claudette Colvin.  This article will give a brief introduction to these women and tell you exactly why you should want to know them.  

I will begin with the exceptional Madame C.J. Walker:   

Madame C.J. Walker 23 December 1867 – 25 May 1919 

Madame CJ was one of the first American self-made millionaires. She owed this fortune to her hair care products that she manufactured to help African Americans keep their hair healthy and growing. She then used this product to franchise her brand, Madame CJ Laboratories, and train other women as beauticians and sales agents. With the proceeds from this business she was able to make the largest contribution to the construction of the YMCA in Indianapolis in 1913.  Due to her large financial contributions, she was one of the first black individuals who created the space for black entrepreneurs and business owners.  

She did not conclude her mission through business alone but was an activist in her own right. The lynching of black people caused a lot of outrage at the time, particularly after the lynching of 17 year old Jesse Washington in Texas during May 1916. In August 1917 she travelled with members of the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People) to Washington to present an anti-lynching petition for the criminalization of lynching of black people.  Though this petition was delivered, no law was ever passed and that is the case until today. The existence of the BlackLivesMatter movement is surely one that would surprise  the delegation of this day as they aimed to have matters of crimes against black people halted before the 21st century.  

She passed away at the relatively young age of 51 of hypertension but her legacy did not end there. Sephora currently sells hair and beauty products under the name Madam C.J Walker Beauty Culture and are truly inspired by her range of products. Netflix has recently released a four-part docu-series entitled ‘Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C.J Walker’; while many parts are dramatized, the main story line remains the same: black entrepreneur and activist, the first on the list of women who made black history.  

SecondlyMamie Till Mobley 

Mamie Till Mobley 23 November 1921 - 6 January 2003  

A mother’s love truly knows no bounds and that is the story of Mamie Till Mobley. The reason we know her is because she refused to remain silent about the brutal murder of her son, Emmett Till (aged 14), and by doing so became the catalyst for the Civil Rights Movement in America. Mamie was an educated black woman living in very difficult times for black people in America. Having married at the age of 18 and shortly after getting a divorce, Mamie was a single mother whose ex-husband had been killed while in the army in Italy for inappropriate behaviour towards women. This fact would later be held against Emmett Till and add to the delay in justice for his death.  

In August 1955, Emmett Till had gone down to Mississippi to visit his cousins when he was accused of making inappropriate advances at Carolyne Bryant, the wife and sister in law of Roy Bryant and J W Milam, who were responsible for Emmett’s murder. After hearing that he had made these advances, the two men took Emmett from his uncles home in the middle of the night and he was found dead and in a tortured state three days later. During the funeral, Mamie Till Mobley decided for her son to have an open casket  and to invite journalists from all around, so that the world could see the damage that had been done to her son. Unfortunatelyeven after taking the matter to trial, the two men who were responsible for the murder were acquitted. Despite Mamie’s efforts in getting the attention of the White House and the FBI to help get justice for her son, this was never achieved.  

In January 1956, the two men admitted their crime in a publication of Look Magazine but were never charged for this crime. Carolyne Bryant also later admitted to the fact that Emmett had not actually made these inappropriate advances towards her. What these parties later admitted was what Mamie had known from the start, it is what she fought to get justice for her whole life. Mamie spent the rest of her days fighting for justice and educating people about love and equality. She died two weeks before the premiere of the film, The Murder of Emmet Till but made sure that even on this piece of work, her voice was heard. She was more than just a mother to Emmett;  she was a mother to generations of black people who would not remain silent about injustice. A true heroine and the embodiment of female strength.  

Last but not least, Claudette Colvin 

Claudette Colvin 5 September 1939 – Present   

‘Two roads diverged in a wood, and I took the road less travelled by, and that has made all the difference,’ wrote Robert Frost. That is a quote that best describes little Miss Claudette, who at 15 years old defied the segregation laws on the bus and found herself in an adult prison for a few hours and later on probation. On March 2 1955, Claudette was on her way from Booker T Washington High School with three of her friends. After being on the bus for a while, a white woman came on board and the black girls were required to stand to make room for her to sit. The other three girls did exactly that, but Claudette refused to move. Having just learnt about the strong women who had fought against black slavery, Harriet Tubman and Sojourner Truth, she refused to move. As one can imagine, the teenager was dragged off the bus and even kicked by police officers as they came to arrest her. Naturally, one would think that a child would abide by the laws of the landbut Claudette knew that there was something wrong with this law.  

Subsequent to this unjust treatment, she became one of the plaintiffs in Browder v Gayle where the plaintiffs argued that bus segregation laws were unconstitutional. She continued to play a major role in the NCAAP Youth Council and fight for her rights as a  black person. Nine months after her bus stand-off, Rosa Parks became famous for the very thing that Claudette had done. Many know the story of Rosa Parks but not of Claudette Colvin. Rosa was an advisor to Claudette so the women were connected. Claudette went on to become a nurse until she retired in 2004. As the years go by, many more people discover her story and hail the little girl who spoke up before Rosa Parks.  


Those are the stories of the lives of three different but amazing women who played their part. Women were not recognised much back then but these women, despite their age and social standingwere able to make a name for themselves. There is much more to be discovered about these women and about black history, but I am certain that this offers a solid start.  


  • A’Lelia Bundles, ‘On Her Own Ground: The Life and Times of Madam C. J. Walker’ (A’Leila Bundles. Com)< > accessed 25 September 2020.  

For me, Black History Month is a time for reflection, and as a Human Geography student, I tend to reflect by considering the impact that recent events have on communities. Advertising is something that we all see every day, but just how advertising impacts communities is an issue that we don’t really tend to explore. To this end, in this article, I will investigate how the BAME community is underrepresented in advertising and how some advertisers are “woke washing” events for their economic advantage (Sobande, 2019). I will then discuss how this has affected the BAME community and what we can all do to encourage advertisers to become more diverse and celebrate stories from all communities.

Advertisers have national – and often global – platforms to share stories. In recent times, some advertisers have attempted to capitalise upon campaigns, such as the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, in order to highlight their brand as being ‘woke’ and on trend. One such advertising campaign was the PepsiCo advert that depicted Kendall Jenner intervening in a protest to give a police officer a can of Pepsi (YashYadav, 2017). Commentators, such as Victor (2017) argued that the advert trivialised the BLM movement, in part because it was released so quickly after some of the most devastating protests that America had seen (Banks, 2018). In a world that was raw from protest and when relations between the police and the community were at their lowest, Pepsi decided to release a commercial that suggested conflicts could be solved by simply passing over a drink. This ‘woke washing’ arguably shows the contempt that the advertising industry has for the BAME community: how can Pepsi suggest that one white supermodel can solve the issues at the heart of a protest? The actual message behind the BLM movement was not at the heart of the commercial at all, which is why some people viewed it to be so insulting (McKenna, 2017). As the commercial gained notoriety, people began to highlight how the ad was far from the reality of protests. One Twitter user compared a still of Kendall Jenner from the commercial to a picture of Ieshia Evans, a woman who became famous for standing still in the face of police dressed in riot gear, and argued that the comparison was “the best example of white and economic privilege/ ignorance [they had] ever seen” (@mayaelysee, 2017: n.p.). What is rather telling is that Pepsi were attempting to capitalise upon the momentum of the BLM movement without using a person from the BAME community, which some people suggested mocked the BLM movement (Stewart, 2017). However, what the Pepsi ad did do is start a conversation about how advertisers can completely focus on the wrong thing, and the conversations that came out of that helped to unify communities (Shankar, 2019). As a result of the Pepsi advert being so ‘off the mark’, the strength of the BAME community was highlighted. Rather than attacking Pepsi for their error, many decided to simply boycott buying their goods, showing that the advert was indeed counterproductive (Tillman, 2018). The Internet, and indeed the BAME community, came together to voice their disgust at the disregard that Pepsi gave to BLM protestors (Watercutter, 2017), and the brand suffered as a result. The lack of thought in the creation of this advertising campaign resulted in communities coming together to voice their disdain. Where advertisers fail to use their global platform for good, audiences know it and act accordingly.

Another noteworthy area where advertisers are failing to do their bit for the BAME community is within the casting of adverts itself. Diversity in advertising still has a long way to go. A YouGov study conducted in 2019 showed that just 37% of adverts featured black people, with just 7% of ads featuring a member of the BAME community as its main protagonist (Robinson, 2019). One such British advert that falls into the 7% category was a Jo Malone advert that featured Star Wars actor John Boyega as the main protagonist (Newsfeed, 2020). This shows some progress. A black man being used in a primetime advertising campaign demonstrates that advertisers are finally beginning to move in the right direction. However, this example of success was immediately countered by Jo Malone’s Chinese arm. In China, the advert featuring Boyega was remade and heavily adapted for the local market (BBC News, 2020); instead of the advert celebrating multiculturalism and telling the story of Jo Malone’s business from the point of view of a black man, the Chinese ad was made without a black cast member in it at all (Baker-Whitelaw, 2020). The BAME community have historically been underrepresented in the world of advertising (Green, 1997), but what the case of Boyega and Jo Malone in China shows is that there is inconsistency around the world when it comes to the BAME community being in advertisements. From a geographer’s point of view, it appears that some countries have used the previous two decades to become more progressive, whereas others have not. This is supported by the evidence that John Boyega was miniaturised in a Star Wars movie poster in certain geographic areas (Khatchatourian, 2015). It is noteworthy that companies are bowing to the pressure of different countries by effectively changing their product to meet their values. This shows how the BAME community are still being side-lined in advertising: just differently around the world. Boyega is just one man, yet these stories represent the struggles that the BAME community have in the global media industry. At a recent BLM demonstration in London, Boyega emotionally shared his pain about the hardship and racism that he and his loved ones have endured (Grobe, 2020) – an act that could have risked his job (Puchko, 2020) – highlighting just how passionate he is on the issue. Indeed, since the Chinese version of the Jo Malone advert was released, Boyega has quit his role as brand ambassador for the company (Shoard, 2020). What is clear is that the examples discussed in this article have added to the racism that artists, such as Boyega, must endure. Advertisers could use their global platform to right the injustices that the BAME community must endure, yet in these cases, they have been seen to bow to political pressure, which demonstrates how advertisers are part of a global problem. Doing something right in one part of the world, doesn’t mean you can do wrong elsewhere.

Ultimately, advertisers have a massive global platform that many are not currently using in a way that advantageously benefits or represents the BAME community. The case studies explored in this article show how advertisers are not yet fully embracing the BAME community in their work and even when they are, there are hurdles that one must face. The question that follows all of this should therefore be: how can we all encourage advertisers to become more diverse? What we all need to do is call advertisers out when they don’t hit the mark. When they do something wrong, we need to shout about it! And that’s everyone. We all need to celebrate each other’s stories and support one another. If we all do that, then the culture within advertising will have to change to reflect the communities that they are trying to sell to. We all have the agency to make change happen – so let’s make change happen!


@mayaelysee, 2017. The best example of white and economic privilege/ ignorance I've ever seen. Never forget Ieshia Evans. #Pepsi. [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed 1 October 2020].

Baker-Whitelaw, G., 2020. John Boyega quits as brand ambassador after Chinese ad replaced Black actors. [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed 1 October 2020].

Banks, C., 2018. Disciplining Black activism: post-racial rhetoric, public memory and decorum in news media framing of the Black Lives Matter movement. Journal of Media & Cultural Studies, Volume 32, pp. 709-720.

BBC News, 2020. John Boyega: Perfume brand Jo Malone London 'deeply apologises' over ad cut. [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed 1 October 2020].

Green, C., 1997. Globalization and Survival in the Black Diaspora: The New Urban Challenge. New York: State University of New York Press.

Available at:
[Accessed 1 October 2020].

Khatchatourian, M., 2015. ‘Star Wars’ China Poster Sparks Controversy After Shrinking John Boyega’s Character. [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed 1 October 2020].

McKenna, M., 2017. This Is Why Kendall Jenner’s New Pepsi Commercial is Problematic. [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed 1 October 2020].

Newsfeed (2020) Star Wars' John Boyega quits Jo Malone after Chinese ad [video] Available at: [accessed 01/10/20]

Puchko, K., 2020. John Boyega Knows He's Risking His Career By Joining Black Lives Matter Protest In London, But 'F*ck That'. [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed 1 October 2020].

Robinson, R., 2019. When will BAME protagonists take centre stage in our ads?. [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed 1 October 2020].

Shankar, S., 2019. Nothing Sells like Whiteness: Race, Ontology, and American Advertising. American Anthropologist, 122(1), pp. 112-119.

Shoard, C., 2020. John Boyega quits role as Jo Malone brand ambassador. [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed 1 October 2020].

Sobande, F., 2019. Woke-washing: “intersectional” femvertising and branding “woke” bravery. European Journal of Marketing.

Stewart, R., 2017. Kendall Jenner Pepsi ad accused of 'mocking' Black Lives Matter movement. [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed 1 October 2020].

Tillman, L., 2018. Case study: pepsico & kendall jenner’s controversial commercial, Nashville: Astute.

Victor, D., 2017. Pepsi Pulls Ad Accused of Trivializing Black Lives Matter. [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed 1 October 2020].

Watercutter, A., 2017. Pepsi’s Kendall Jenner Ad Was So Awful It Did the Impossible: It United the Internet. [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed 1 October 2020].

Yash Yadav (2017) Full Pepsi Commercial Starring Kendal Jenner [video] Available at: [accessed: 01/10/20].

Mwaita is a postgraduate law student from Harare, Zimbabwe. Having grown up in one of the most interesting periods of politics in Zimbabwe, she is passionate about law, commerce and politics. She is an aspiring solicitor who hopes to advocate for black excellence within the legal sector and impact a generation of strong, black, female leaders.

Have you ever wondered what was going on in Africa while the Civil Rights Movement was taking place or who was responsible for the progression of black people there? Did you know that the people there had their own struggle for liberation? In 1884 at the Berlin Conference, the scramble for Africa began. Fourteen western countries including Germany, France, Great Britain and many others negotiated for the control of several African countries. They opted to colonise these African countries, firstly to show dominance and secondly, to create a space for their population to go when the effects of industrialisation began to surface. From 1945, these African countries began to regain their independence with the Republic of Ghana being the first to do so on March 6 1957. In this article I will introduce two women who had a big impact of the liberation struggle and as such make a significant contribution to black history. These women hail from two different African countries: South Africa (independent 31 May 1961) and Nigeria (1 October 1960).  

Winnie Madikizela -Mandela  

September 26, 1936 - April 2, 2018 

I will begin with the late Winnie Mandela, the ex-wife of the late former president of South African, Nelson Mandela. I am sure you have come across him before, but we will take this opportunity to tell you about her. Winnie was a woman whose reputation is too controversial to discuss in detail in a few words; as such I will focus on her aid in the fight against apartheid in South Africa. Apartheid is what the Americans called segregation as it meant that the black people were treated differently from the white people. Winnie was a social worker by training and her first act of leadership and diligence towards the people was in refusing to study overseas in America and working in Baragwanath Hospital in Johannesburg. It was while working there that her interests in ensuring better conditions for black South Africans began as she noted how her people were living.  

She then proceeded to marry a leader of the struggle, Nelson Mandela but the couple were only together for six years before Nelson was sentenced to life imprisonment in 1964. The marriage can hardly be said to have much of an impact on her legacy because most of the strides that Winnie made for the South African people occurred while Nelson Mandela served his 27 year long sentence. She attended rallies, she organised meetings and she herself was tortured and imprisoned for speaking up. At the same time, Winnie was raising their two children, Zindzi and Zenani. She came under a lot of controversy but managed to rise to being known as the ‘Mother of the Nation. In 1994, she was the president of the ANC political party’s women’s league and shortly after served as a deputy minister in the cabinet. In 1996, she and her husband divorced but Winnie continued to speak up for her people until the time of her death in 2018. She suffered greatly for her time being detained and imprisoned during the years that Nelson Mandela was imprisoned and it is unknown if she ever recovered psychologically. She was a woman who gave everything to the struggle and left nothing more. This was Nomzamo Winifred Zanyiwe Madikizela, Winnie Mandela, Mother of the Nation.  

Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti 

25 October 1900– 13 April 1978 

Funmilayo was an activist and even more than that, a feminist. A woman who was highly educated, having attended Wincham School for girls in Cheshire, England, she had experienced racism in England and seen the colonial plight of her people in Nigeria. She went on to become the leader and founder of the Abeokuta Women’s Union where she advocated for equal and fair taxation for underrepresented black people, particularly black women. She made a note that unfair tax tariffs were being imposed by the colonial government. She led campaigns and made her case before the British government whose control her country was under. Most of her concern was in the fact that she felt that small traders were being taxed way more than was necessary and she chose to challenge that, successfully.  

A strong advocate for women’s rights and equality, she also travelled to other countries spreading the word about emancipation and the rights of women that were to be secured. She was extremely active in organisations such as the  Women’s International Democratic Federation and travelled to countries in Eastern and Western Europe to spread this word. For Funmilayo, the greatest legacy she has left has been through her children who continued to be active in the movement and inspired the rise of black communities in their own ways. Her children were Beko, Olikoye and Fela. Fela Kuti is one of the most influential artists for the movement of black liberation in the world and I am certain that the lessons taught by his mother seeded this passion within him and his siblings. Funmilayo inspired many in her stride and managed to make a great name for those whom she led. She inspired more than one generation and teaches about the importance of owning who you are and seeking to obtain justice for what is truly yours.  


These two women embody strength and dignity. African societies were incredibly unfair towards women and often wanted them to be quiet and obedient. Despite this notion, these women spoke up and made a name for themselves. They were brave and used their education to their advantage. This is a lesson that we can all put into practice now: use your education and use your voice, you never know what that will inspire. No, it’s not women’s month but as we celebrate black history, let us remember the women who were strong enough to be heard even when it seemed no one would listen. ‘Strong women, may we know them, may we be them and may we raise them. 


  1. Editors, ‘Winnie Mandela Biography’ (The website, 2 October 2020) <> accessed 1 October 2020.  
  1. Cheryl Johnson-Odim, ‘Funmilayo (Anikulapo) Ransome-Kuti: Nigerian Anti-Imperialist, Humanist, and Feminist Activist’ (African History, June 2018) <> accessed 1 October 2020.  
  1. David Beresford and Dan van der Vat, ‘Winnie Madikizela- Mandela obituary’ (The Guardian, 2 April 2018) <> accessed 1 October 2020.  
  1. PASCAP Trust, ‘A Short History of Africa’s Liberation’ (PASCAP Organisation Website) <> accessed 1 October 2020.  
  1. South African History Online < > accessed 1 October 2020.  
  1. Tayo Agunbiade, ‘ Remembering Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti: Nigeria’s lioness of Lisabi’ (, 1 October 2020) <> accessed 2 October 2020.  
  1. The Editors of the Encyclopaedia Britannica, ‘Apartheid’ (Encyclopaedia Britannica, 23 July 2020) <> accessed 1 October 2020.  
  1. The Nelson Mandela Foundation <> accessed 1 October 2020.  
  1. UNESCO, ‘Women in African History: Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti’ (UNESCO) <> accessed 1 October 2020.  

Dan is a final year History and Politics student from Canterbury in Kent. He is half English, half Ghanaian. Dan is a committee member of the University’s Gig Rowing Society, and after university hopes to work on environmental policy and climate change issues which affect developing countries.

Climate change is arguably the biggest issue of our time. While scientists have been aware of the effects of climate change for decades, we have seen in the last 10 years a phenomenal rise in awareness of the issues, and activism at a local and international level.
However, with the rise of groups such as Extinction Rebellion and the popularity of figures like Greta Thunberg and the Youth Strikes for Climate which took place around the world last year, it is easy to forget how the issues of climate change uniquely affect different parts of the world. Not only have the unique issues which face Africa often been forgotten, but the climate movement itself has often neglected black, minority, and ethnic voices. Here are just a few examples of how environmental issues uniquely affect BAME people in Africa and internationally.

Even though Africa only accounts for approximately 2%-3% of the world’s carbon emissions, the continent is arguably the region most vulnerable to climate change. The effects of climate change such as warmer temperatures, higher rainfall, rising sea levels, and flooding make Africa particularly vulnerable due to its unique and diverse geography. This vulnerability manifests in many different ways:

Reduced rainfall and lack of infrastructure affects different parts of Africa in different ways. For example, Central Africa has 48% of Africa’s internal water supply, whereas North Africa has only 1.25%. However, because of the uneven standards of infrastructure across Africa, 90% of North Africans have access to drinking water, as opposed to only 65% of sub-Saharan Africans.

The problem of access to water also had knock-on effects in the agricultural industry. Africa is particularly reliant on rain-fed agriculture. With 60% of workers in Africa involved in agriculture, two thirds of whom in subsistence farming, the security and sustainability of agriculture is a pressing issue. On top of this, African economies are facing competition from global producers such as Brazil, India and China which has raised food prices across Africa.

While Africa has an industrial sector which includes large mining, manufacturing, and construction operations, the sector accounts for only 15% of Africa’s workforce. Further, despite numerous projects to stimulate growth such as the United Nation’s Millennium Development Goals, Africa’s industrial output actually shrank between 2000-2009. A very important issue in the context of the global climate movement is how Africa can grow its industrial sector while minimising the impact on the environment. Many of the world’s largest economies industrialised so rapidly because of the use of fossil fuels such as coal and oil. However, international climate policies emphasise more sustainable but more expensive renewable energies. This raises the question of whether it is fair to demand that countries in Africa minimise the use of fossil fuels when more developed countries have done so for hundreds of years without consequence or limitation.

The problem of access to energy and the use of renewable energy has far reaching impacts for Africa outside of industrial development. 40% of the world’s population without access to energy live in Africa. Moreover, two thirds of energy consumption in sub-Saharan Africa comes from traditional sources such as firewood. While Africa does produce a lot of commercial energy in fossil fuels, much of this is often exported leaving countries such as Nigeria relatively energy poor despite high production of crude oil. Even though there are many opportunities for renewable energy in Africa such as wind and solar energy, developing countries are caught in a balancing act between cheaper more rapid growth through the use of fossil fuels, and the new international effort to shift to renewable energies which are more expensive to build and maintain.

All of these factors which affect Africa highlight the importance of diversity in international climate change policy, but there is a lack of diversity in both the policy and people involved in the environmental movement. Not only are the unique challenges and needs facing the African continent often overridden by more general ‘global’ goals, but black, minority, and ethnic climate activists are also frequently left out of the international movement.

This happens in multiple ways. At the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Madrid in 2019, efforts to agree rules that would make renewable energy cheaper in developing countries failed. Schemes such as `carbon credits’ help poorer countries finance the more expensive renewable energy sources, but yet again the UNCCC failed to establish rules to allow this scheme to be rolled out across Africa. This has only deepened the inequality felt in Africa of the burden of climate change.

This inequality also affects climate activists themselves. Earlier this year, Ugandan climate activist Vanessa Nakate was cropped out of a group photo from the Davos International Conference in Switzerland of herself, Luisa Neubauer, Greta Thunberg, Isabelle Axelsson, and Loukina Tille. With Vanessa being the only black activist in the group, many saw this as indicative of the ignorance of African climate issues and the ignorance of black voices in climate negotiation. Vanessa was at the forefront of the protest movement in Uganda which started in 2019 to draw attention to the deforestation of the Congo Basin, a vital part of the ecosystem in central Africa, and the rising average temperatures in Uganda. She also founded the organization Youth for Future Africa which campaigns through activism for greater awareness of the impacts of climate change in Africa.

However, sometimes the inequality faced BAME people is not so obvious. While Extinction Rebellion has become prominent as a major climate activist organization that has gained widespread coverage in the news, some have pointed out how their tactics are insensitive to minority activists. In particular, Extinction Rebellion’s advocacy of protest emphasising the significance of being arrested ignores how BAME people are disproportionately profiled, targeted, and questioned by police. This is just another aspect of climate change which makes it more difficult for black voices to be heard.


Beth is a medical student from the University of Exeter, currently studying in Truro. Last year, she was fortunate enough to be the Welfare Officer of MedSoc, running the first fundraiser for ‘Show Racism the Red Card, an educational charity. This year, she has taken on the role of Events Co-ordinator in Truro for the Medical School’s BAME society. She loves to sing, bake and, most importantly, volunteer and campaign. Her hope is to go on to join the medical profession and be a doctor who betters people’s quality of life.

I think it can be agreed by a large majority of BAME students that sometimes it can feel like trying to just live life authentically can feel like an uphill battle, with one of the hardest periods being the teenage/ young adult years. These challenges come in different forms. The greatest realisation, for many, is that racism doesn’t just come in the form of name-calling and aggressive attitudes, but additionally in a cruel underhanded way that is much harder to identify and often feels too small to report. In research commissioned by ‘The Diana Award’, an antibullying charity, it was found that amongst 1000 school children of ages 6 to 15-years-old, approximately 32% of children had heard someone be racist at school, rising by an extra 20% amongst 13-year-olds.1

Children of parents from a BAME background, especially second-generation children (those whose parents were able to immigrate to the UK), are often encouraged and pushed to achieve the best grades and attain the dream that their parents couldn’t quite reach, and although it may be for their own good, it can feel as though society pushes back twice as hard. In grammar school, being black made me one of 7 students in my year and in primary school one of only 5 students, with one of those students being my own twin.

I thought I’d put together a little background of what microaggressions are; the comments which made being a young, black student that bit harder. Please understand: for black students, know you are seen and unfortunately you aren’t alone, but for everyone and anyone else, please read on to learn and understand how we can learn and grow together, because it’s okay to change. Additionally, you’ll notice that these sayings are often modified to comment on different marginalised groups.
What are microaggressions?

The Oxford Dictionary describes a microaggression as ‘an instance of indirect, subtle or unintentional discrimination or prejudice against members of a marginalised group such as a racial minority’.2 Until June 2018, this definition wasn’t printed into the Oxford Dictionary, although it’s a term that has been around since 1970 when Professor Chester M. Pierce – an American psychiatrist – first spoke of these ‘accumulative put-downs’.3

The definition in itself brings to the forefront a fundamental issue, through the use of the word ‘unintentional’, as it immediately removes accountability from those who say and use these microaggressions, but does not remove the impact of the harm it can have, with studies across the UK and America presenting a strong correlation between racist experiences and poor mental health.

Commonly used Microaggressions:

“You’re not really black”/“You don’t act black” /“You are an Oreo”

Adaptation: Nothing, there is no classification for how a particular group of people must act. Everybody is an individual, this is just rude.
Background/context: There is no other way to make it clear as to why this statement is so wrong than to just state that, in no way is skin colour a defining personality trait. When a person uses this sentence, we know what you’re referring to – the common stereotypes of black people, for example, being loud and aggressive. But unsurprisingly, we are all individuals who have grown up in different environments and who have different passions and our own individualities. So, though we may be different at the end of the day, I AM still black, regardless of how my personality comes across or the activities or interests I have, I will always be black. It’s not a compliment to say a person doesn’t ‘act black’.

“Where are you really from?”

Adaptation: “I’d love to know a bit more about your heritage and your family.” To which the person you ask doesn’t have to say yes.

“You’re so strong!”

Adaptation: “I’m impressed by how you were able to handle that situation; you are strong but don’t feel that you always have to be.”
Background/context: In the case of this microaggression, context really matters. Of course, it helps people feel recognised when you acknowledge their strength, but throughout history, black women have notoriously been called ‘strong women’ in times of suffering. In fact, in colonial times it was believed that black people and women, in particular, were so ‘strong’ that they didn’t really feel anything, that being black meant that our ancestors were built for the purpose of getting through suffering. A horrible explanation that has been programmed into society.

In November 2019, a report into maternal morbidity in the UK from researchers at Oxford University found that black women were five times more likely to die in pregnancy, childbirth or postpartum, compared to white women.4 It was recognised that their pain during labour was often diminished, that they were told to push through and that they were strong. Yes, they are strong because they have had to be, but it doesn’t mean that they should be any less worthy of help and support.
Just as I am resilient, I am vulnerable, I cry, I feel pain and I bleed, sometimes I am not strong.

“You’re so articulate! Is English your first language”

Adaptation: “Do you speak any other languages?” (If you are genuinely interested, if not - say nothing)

Background/context: In total, approximately 700 million Africans speak English out of 1.2 billion people in Africa.5 This microaggression is called an ‘Ascription of Intelligence’; when said, the person assumes that based on the colour of your skin, you are supposed to be somewhat less intelligent and therefore English can’t be your first language. Being that more than half of Africa’s population speak English and that just because you’re black it doesn’t mean that you weren’t born in an English-speaking country, it assumes intelligence is based on a person’s race and that could not be further from the truth. Life, education, and circumstance are components of intelligence, so let’s leave race out of it.

“I wish I could wear/ get away with/style my hair like that.” / Touching hair without permission

Adaptation: “Your hair looks gorgeous” / Don’t just touch, it’s uncomfortable to say no to you. Some people may not mind but never assume.

Background/context: Through the ages, a black woman’s hair has represented different things. In the past, a specific style could indicate the tribe/clan your family belonged to, or your age. But it was during the years of the slave trade that hair became redefined.

In order to break women early on and to make sure that they felt stripped of their culture, slave traders would cut and shave the heads of women, which for many was also a sign of their beauty and part of their humanity.

So on Sundays, which was normally the day slave owners granted their slaves a minimal amount of reprieve, the women would group in a line to braid one another’s growing hair - this was for protective reasons as hair being left out to get dry in harsh conditions damages hair - but also made their hair more manageable for their day-to-day tasks. Then, eventually, braids became a hidden method to pass messages between one another right under their masters’ noses; maps could even be braided to guide people to safety when escaping.6

So, when you ask to touch our hair it’s more than just a symbol of beauty but also pain.

Mispronouncing names even after correction / Just giving people new names

Adaptation: If you aren’t sure of how to pronounce somebody’s name, simply just ask them how to say it. There’s no need to say that it’s strange or foreign.
Background/context: Every name has a meaning and parents choose their children’s names for different reasons that are personal to them. In many African cultures, there are rules and reasons for giving your children their names; in some countries it relates to where you were born, in others the tribe your family belongs to or even the day of the week you were born on.7 Every name is special no matter where you are from, so it doesn’t cost you anything to be respectful and call someone the name they were given, it’s common courtesy.

“All lives matter”8

Background/context: Nobody ever said that everyone shouldn’t matter or be treated equally, but Black Lives Matter was born out of the fact that not everyone was being treated equally and that black people were being discriminated in every way possible. More black people lose their lives, proportionally more black people are incarcerated and for longer periods of time than other racial groups, and we are essentially treated as lesser humans. Until now, black struggles were barely acknowledged and now there’s a platform, so please don’t dismiss the struggles we have faced and do face.
If you take it as an insult to hear ‘Black Lives Matter’, it may be something you need to check in with yourself about and ask yourself why.

“It looks like they are in a gang”

Background/context: Sadly, black males and especially young black males are often demonised, a fact that shows like ‘When they See Us’ portray. In any country, the predominant race isn’t called a gang for walking around together, so the villainization of young black boys who are just friends walking together has to be stopped.

In 2016, the Ministry of Justice found that black people are almost 4 times more likely than white people in Britain to be in prison, when they only make up 3.3 % of the population.9 In addition, in 2018 the MET police reported that black people in England and Wales, excluding London, were 26 times more likely to be stopped and searched.10

Finally, this last one is not so much a microaggression, but rather a common discomfort that has to be commented on:

“Today class we will study the slave trade.” *Queue mass dramatic head turn towards one of the only black people in the class*.

As any black student can speak testament to, this is the most uncomfortable lesson you will have to attend. We aren’t the spokespeople for black people and unfortunately, this is one of the only parts of black history that are taught in school, never the successes or the inventions created by black people. So please don’t make the one part of our history we get taught feel so uncomfortable.

In no way is this a conclusive list or some of the worst things I have heard said about myself or others, but it’s a start. I can be the first to say I have brushed so many of these under the carpet to avoid conflict or because I felt uncomfortable, but it is only through honesty and transparency that we learn and evolve.

At the end of the day, nobody is perfect, and we all need a little help sometimes. So please, in the current climate and following on from the steps the world took over lockdown, I believe that it’s time for everyone to take this opportunity to educate themselves and do better in what I hope is the new world we are working towards. Let’s do better from here. If someone says you offended them, hear them.
Think before you speak and learn.

3. Pierce, C. M. (1974). Psychiatric problems of the Black minority. In S. Arieti (Ed.), American handbook of psychiatry (pp. 512–523). New York, NY: Basic Books
4. Knight M, Bunch K, Tuffnell D, Shakespeare J, Kotnis R, Kenyon S, Kurinczuk JJ (Eds.) on behalf of MBRRACE-UK. Saving Lives, Improving Mothers’ Care - Lessons learned to inform maternity care from the UK and Ireland Confidential Enquiries into Maternal Deaths and Morbidity 2015-17. Oxford: National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit, University of Oxford 2019
5. Crystal, David (2006). "Chapter 9: English worldwide". In Denison, David; Hogg, Richard M. (eds.). A History of the English Language. Cambridge University Press. pp. 420
9., page 68; This finding, and others using the general population in England and Wales as a comparator, may lead to a general conclusion that BAME individuals are always over-represented in the system when BAME individuals may or may not be over-represented at each CJS stage.

Student life interview with Austin, an Exeter Student Ambassador, about coming from Botswana to study at Exeter/in the Business School. Click here to read about his experiences and here watch his video. 

The Rest of Us: Student Stories is a collection of varied contributions by students of the global majority at the University of Exeter. 

Articles by University of Exeter Academics

The first of four special blogs written for the Arts and Culture website by University researchers to mark Black History Month. This blog article is written by PhD student Idris Hamza Yana from the Department of English, who has shared with us seven female writers who have helped bring to the fore issues that affect womanhood in postcolonial Africa.

The second of five special blogs written for the Arts and Culture website by University of Exeter researchers and staff to mark Black History Month. This blog article focuses on Black British theatre and performance practitioners and comes to you from Drama lecturer and Artistic Director of Beyond Face, Alix Harris.

Dr Shubranshu Mishra, lecturer in Politics and International Relations at the University of Exeter, explores caste-based prejudice as part of the wider issue of racism in the United Kingdom, whilst reflecting on his own teaching in this article.

The third of five special blogs written for Arts and Culture by University of Exeter researchers and staff to mark Black History Month. This time Dr Kate Wallis, Lecturer in the Department of English and Film, shares seven Black women who, across six decades, have shaped and changed the UK publishing industry in this article.

The fourth of five special blogs written for Arts and Culture by University of Exeter researchers and staff to mark Black History Month. This time PhD candidate in Literature Zakiya McKenzie shares seven newspaper editors and journalists who were among the well-known literary champions of the Windrush era and beyond in this article.

Other online resources

  • The Roots Resistance Project - The Roots Resistance is a student-led project that seeks to support the Black and POC community in Exeter and beyond with a philosophy grounded in anti-racism and decolonial knowledge production. 

  • Kresen Kernow: Black Histories - Kresen Kernow (‘Cornwall Centre’) is home to the world’s largest collection of documents, books, maps and photographs related to Cornwall’s history. This archival centre is currently working on a project to identify key collections and items in their collections relating to Black histories, to make it easier to find items and to reveal previously hidden histories. Take a look at their guide to sources about the Transatlantic Slave Trade, and view their interactive Discovering Black histories in Cornwall exhibition.

  • Louisa Adjoa Parker: Telling the Stories of Marginalised Voices - Louisa is a writer, poet and inclusion and diversity consultant of Ghanaian and English heritage, who lives in south west England. The following article: ‘Black Histories aren’t all Urban: Tales from the West Country,’ reveals that in spite of commonly-held misconceptions, the south west is full of a multitude of hidden black rural histories. In addition, her article: ‘Why Black Lives Matter in the British Countryside,’ explores the issue of racism in the countryside, and why rural communities should work together to tackle racism, and implement tangible and sustainable change. Louisa also address these themes in her poetry. For instance, please see her poem ‘Dear White West Country People,’ and her poetry collection: ‘How to Wear a Skin.’

  • .2’ – Cornwall: The Lived Black Experience - In Cornwall only 0.2% of the population is Black. This is 16 points lower than the national average. Watch students talk about their experiences. ‘.2’ explores the lived Black experience through eight Falmouth-based students, business owners, and locals. This film celebrates community and the transcendence of friendship, despite the weighted proportions.

  • An Interview with Maia Thomas: The Activist behind the Black Lives Matter Protest in Exeter - Exeposé, the University of Exeter’s student newspaper, speaks to Maia Thomas, a Politics student and the co-organiser of the Black Lives Matter Protest in Exeter – to discuss the protest itself and her experiences. 

  • Voices: Student-Led Campaign - Voices is a student-led campaign run through Falmouth & Exeter Students’ Union, providing a platform for people whose voices might previously have been lost in the noise. A multi-channel venture, on and off line, Voices is comprised of impactful events and prestigious volumes, sharing the raw, authentic experiences of our students.

Recommended novels

  • Endgame - Malorie Blackman
  • Girl, Woman, Other - Bernadine Evaristo
  • Black Leopard, Red Wolf - Marlon James
  • Rainbow Milk - Paul Mendez
  • The Hate U Give - Angie Thomas
  • Queenie - Candice Carty-Williams
  • Uprising by Steve McQueen - From Academy Award winner Steve McQueen comes Uprising, a vivid and visceral three-part series for BBC One examining three events from 1981 - in January, the New Cross Fire which killed 13 black teenagers; in March, Black People’s Day of Action, which saw more than 20,000 people join the first organised mass protest by black British people; and the Brixton riots in April. Directed by Steve McQueen and James Rogan, the series will reveal how these three events intertwined in 1981 and how, in the process, race relations were defined for a generation. Click here to access the series.

  • BBC Panorama: Let's talk about Race - The killing of George Floyd last year triggered a national conversation about race and racism in Britain. It’s a subject that can be uncomfortable and sometimes divisive, as BBC presenter Naga Munchetty discovers when she travels across the country to understand what race and racism mean in the UK today. Click here to access the programme. 

  • The Guardian: After the Windrush Betrayal - The Windrush scandal broke in April 2018 after months of investigation by the Guardian journalist Amelia Gentleman. It provoked the resignation of the then home secretary, Amber Rudd, and the government was finally forced to apologise. This 25 minute video is the story of just one of the many affected, Paulette Wilson. Click here to watch the video on the Guardian's website. 

  • Black & British: A Forgotten History - Historian David Olusoga explores the enduring relationship between Britain and people whose origins lie in Africa. Click here to be taken to the BBC iPlayer page. 

  • Ghetto Britain: 30 Years of Race - Dr Robert Beckford embarks on a polemical quest exploring the legacy of the Race Relations Act. Click here to be taken to the documentary on All4. 

  • The Unwanted: The Secret Windrush Files - David Olusoga opens secret government files to show how the Windrush scandal and the ‘hostile environment’ for black British immigrants has been 70 years in the making. Click here to be taken to the documentary on BBC iPlayer. 

  • The School That Tried To End Racism - BAFTA-winning documentary series that follows a British school as it helps its students uncover and eradicate hidden racial biases, exploring how this can affect us all and what we can do to tackle it. Click here to be taken to the series on All4. 

  • 13th - Combining archival footage with testimony from activists and scholars, director Ava DuVernay's examination of the U.S. prison system looks at how the country's history of racial inequality drives the high rate of incarceration in America. Click here to watch the full feature for free on Netflix. 

  • The House I Live In - The House I Live In, directed by Eugene Jarecki, is a 2012 documentary film about the War on Drugs in the United States. Click here to watch it for free on YouTube.

  • The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution - The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution is a 2015 American documentary film directed and written by Stanley Nelson Jr. The film combines archival footage and interviews with surviving Panthers and FBI agents to tell the story of the revolutionary black organization the Black Panther Party. Click here to watch it for free on YouTube. 

  • Arena - Nelson Mandela talks to Arthur Miller - Documentary from 1991. For the first time since his release from 27 years of imprisonment Nelson Mandela opens up about his life and the turbulent times he's faced in this momentous, in-depth and revealing interview with Arthur Miller. Click here to be taken to the programme on BBC iPlayer. 

Recommended Films

  • Akeelah And The Bee (2006)
  • Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012)
  • Been So Long (2018)
  • Belle (2013)
  • BlacKkKlansman (2018)
  • Black Panther (2018)
  • Daughters of the Dust (1991)
  • Django Unchained (2012)
  • Do the Right Thing (1989)
  • Fast Color (2018)
  • Girls Trip (2017)
  • Gone Too Far (2013)
  • Hair Love (2019)
  • The Hate U Give (2018)
  • Hidden Figures (2016)
  • If Beale Street Could Talk (2018)
  • It Comes at Night (2017)
  • Malcolm X (1992)
  • Ma Rainey's Black Bottom (2020)
  • Moonlight (2016)
  • Selma (2014)
  • Sorry To Bother You (2018) 

Recommended TV Programmes

  • Dear White People (Netflix)
  • Chewing Gum (All4)
  • Meet the Adebanjos (Netflix)
  • Small Axe (BBC iPlayer)
  • Sister Sister (Netflix)
  • Sunny D (BBC iPlayer)
  • Timewasters (ITV)
  • Top Boy (Netflix)
  • Watchmen (Sky Atlantic)
  • The Wire (Sky Atlantic/DVD)
  • Youngers (All4)
  • BBC Witness Black History Podcast - These downloadable podcasts feature a selection of interviews with people who witnessed key moments in black and civil rights history. 

  • ‘About Race' with Reni Eddo-Lodge - Reni Eddo- Lodge received an honorary degree at the University of Exeter in 2019. She is the author behind the bestselling book Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race, and this podcast series takes the conversation a step further.

  • Channel 4: Ways to Change the World - How can you change the world? Join Krishnan Guru-Murthy and his guest of the week as they explore the big ideas influencing how we think, act and live. Click here to access the podcast series. 

  • 1619 - ‘1619’ is a podcast series from The New York Times which explores how slavery has transformed America, connecting past and present through the oldest form of storytelling.

  • Raising the Bar - 100 Years of Black British Theatre & Screen -  Lenny Henry presents a series of programmes tracing a century of black British theatre and screen. Dr Michael Pearce (Senior Lecturer in Exeter University's Drama Department) was the series consultant and features in many of the episodes. Click here to listen to the radio series. 
  • Migration Story - This website presents the often untold stories of the generations of migrants who came to and shaped the British Isles. These stories are told through a diverse range of historical source material and are arranged into four time-period categories: AD43-1500; 1500-1750; 1750-1900; 1900-2000s. Across each period, there are images, quotations, newspaper clippings, Parliamentary reports, videos, poems, extracts from novels, and many other materials that present the successes, challenges, obstacles and surprises faced by Britain’s migrants over more than a thousand years.

  • Forward to Freedom: the history of the British Anti-Apartheid Movement 1959-1994 - ‘Forward to Freedom’ is an online site which shares resources and information about the British Anti-Apartheid Movement, and its campaigns to support the people of South Africa in their fight against apartheid.

  • The Caribbean's Great War - This is one of a number of relevant projects and resources offered by the West India Committee, relating to the contribution of the Caribbean to World War 1. The website contains digitised archive material, and in the ‘Topics’ section there are a range of articles on subjects such as Women and the War, The British Empire, and The Western Front.

  • Where are you Really From - ‘Where are you Really From?’ was a project run by The Inclusion Agency to gather and digitise the stories of black and brown people’s rural lives, with the aim of increasing understanding between people of different ethnic backgrounds living in rural communities, to build empathy, and celebrate diverse histories.

  • What does the Black-British business experience look like in 2018? - This article, published by Real Business, features a series of short profiles on black business owners, including University of Exeter graduate Roni Savage, to explore the contributions of black entrepreneurs to British life.

  • Why Black Lives Matter in education, and beyond - Click here to read a blog post written by primary school teacher, Naila Missous, for the Chartered College of Teaching’s member website in which they highlight the importance of a diverse and inclusive curriculum and the responsibility of educators to "raise expectations of Black pupils and counteract myths and stereotypes". 
  • The Anti-Racist Educator - The Anti-Racist Educator is a collective of educational stakeholders (including students, teachers, parents, academics and activists) working toward building an education system that is equitable, free from racial injustice, and critically engaged with issues of power, identity, and privilege. Click here to explore their website. 

  • The Black Curriculum - The Black Curriculum is a social enterprise that aims to deliver black British history all across the UK. They run a variety of virtual and in-person programmes to schools, young people and corporations to promote the importance of black history. They also have a curriculum and develop free and licensable resources for schools to teach students about black history. Their aim is to prepare students to become fully rounded citizens, ready for an increasingly globalised world. Click here to explore The Black Curriculum website.  

  • Stage Sight - Stage Sight is a collaborative network whose vision is to create an off-stage workforce that is more reflective of our society today, inclusive of ethnicity, class and disability. These roles can be anything from stage management to theatre technicians to members of the creative team. Stage Sight showcases good practice and success in this area, raises awareness of the need to achieve a more balanced off stage workforce, and encourages practical, simple steps to achieve this. They also offer a range of resources. Click here to explore more.