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John Simkin

Black History Panel

5 posts in this topic

I have been a history teacher (students aged 11 to 18) for 25 years. I am the author of the books Ghandi (1987), Race Relations in the United States (1988) and Slavery: An Illustrated History of Black Resistance (1988). I am also the author of several websites on the subject:

Black People in Britain

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/BlackPeople.htm

Slavery: 1750 - 1870

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/USAslavery.htm

Civil Rights Movement in the United States

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/USAcivilrights.htm

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I am currently the Head of History at a multicultural inner city boys school in London and have been teaching for 11 years. I studied History in the school of African and Asian studies at Sussex University and subsequently have been interested in teaching Black History as part of the school curriculum. I have written a webquest about Black British history: http://www.webquests.comptonhistory.com/ and plan to write more teaching material soon. I have also run a very successful Black History Month at my school for the last four years, examples of which can be seen here: http://www.comptonhistory.com/rh.htm

The latest proposals for this years celebrations can be read here http://www.comptonhistory.com/bhm2004.htm

inlcuding a quiz that you can download

Edited by Dan Lyndon

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Martin Spafford is a teacher of History in Waltham Forest and a member of the Black and Asian Studies Association (BASA), currently helping plan their Education Conference for Saturday 5th March. Co-writer of 'Whose Freedom...?', an education pack on African, Caribbean and Indian soldiers in WW2. Previously taught in South Yorkshire, Swaziland, Egypt and Paddington/Marylebone. I speak Spanish, French, Arabic and some German. Also on the management committee of CODA International, an NGO that helps community based organisations in Southern Africa, Central America and Palestine build their capacity; and of the Women's Self Education Fund, that supports women in Latin America effecting change. In my school I am the Special Abilities (Gifted and Talented) Coordinator and have developed a student-led anti-bullying peer support scheme.

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My name is Douglas Hainline and I am an American living in the UK, near Guildford.

I was raised up in Houston Texas in the 1950s, by liberal parents in a conservative city in conservative times. I became active in the Civil Rights movement as soon as the first sit-ins started in Houston, and was actively involved in it for the whole of the 60s, including doing voter registration work in the South during Freedom Summer (1964). My experiences led me to the conclusion that the problems with American society were far deeper than the denial of civil rights to Black people, and I became a Marxist early on. I was also very involved in the opposition to the war in Vietnam. I was a member of SDS and watched that organization self-destruct due to in-fighting.

When I graduated university in 1967 (Cornell, majoring in History) I was drafted, despite my professed support for the military victory of the other side. Trained as a combat infantryman, I deserted on the way to Vietnam and remained in hiding for 18 months. I eventually turned myself in and was tried and convicted of being Absent Without Leave, a lesser charge than desertion, resulting in a sentence of six months at hard labor. When I finished my sentence I was in the Army for a few more months, then thrown out with a Bad Conduct Discharge. I am barred from re-enlistment.

I came to Britain in 1976. I left my communist organization in 1980. I have since rethought my original political beliefs, which I do not, however, find entirely without value. I read a lot and try to approach each new problem and development with an open mind.

I hope to see the spread of liberal democracy throughout the world. I would like to live long enough [but probably will not] to see the first Muslim President of the United States. (And if she's gay it wouldn't bother me a bit.)

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