'Fighting for King and Empire' still

As we join in celebrating Black History Month, it’s instructive to learn of the contribution that Black and minority ethnic communities have made to British society over the course of history and the multicultural legacy thus created.

Our eStream online resource features a recent BBC TV programme, ‘Fighting for King and Empire’, that highlights, with first-hand accounts, the fascinating stories of the Caribbean veterans who volunteered to help Britain and her allies defeat Hitler in the Second World War, from direct involvement in battle to exposure to the culture shock of finding themselves in an unfamiliar environment, the curiosity of the British public and the prejudice of white American GIs as they made their brave sacrifice.

Black recruits and volunteers from the Caribbean and African colonies also played a significant role in the First World War, supporting the British Empire against her enemies, and an article on the Black History Month website provides details of this, including the formation of the separate British West Indies Regiment within the British Army.

From a more particularly ‘Cambrian’ perspective, BHM features accounts of the Welsh Abolitionists, who campaigned for an end to slavery, and, from the other side of the argument, Richard Pennant, a slave owner and anti-abolitionist, whose fortune gained from sugar plantations in Jamaica funded economic development in North Wales through his slate quarry and related industry, and the building by his heir of Penrhyn Castle.

Related to this topic, each of Coleg Cambria’s Libraries will be running Anti-Slavery Workshops during the week 19th – 23rd October, with speakers providing talks and discussing issues relating to slavery, including the issue of trafficking and forced labour in modern times – keep in touch with our ‘News Daily’ for further details nearer the time.

Finally, BHM also highlights a Welsh Rugby League pioneer amongst its sporting ‘Firsts’, Clive Sullivan, the first black player, in either of the game’s codes, to captain both Wales and Great Britain, and another sporting hero, Wales’ first black footballer, Eddie Parris.

Remember, our e-resources are available online 24/7.