Sharing The Past: Northamptonshire's Black History

Book Review

By Reviewed by Alf Wilkinson, published 24th November 2008

Northamptonshire Black History Association Pub 2008; ISBN:978 0 9557139 1 0; £12.95 [+£2.30 p and p] from: NBHA, Doddridge Centre, 109 St James Road, Northampton, NN5 5LD.

How fortunate Northamptonshire history teachers are! With the current emphasis on community cohesion and diversity in the New Secondary Curriculum, they are presented with a mass of material on a plate! ‘Sharing the Past'  has been co-operatively written by members of the NBHA, and it gives an overview of local links to the wider world, and chronicles the black presence in Northamptonshire since the first evidence, of Peter the Saracen, crossbow maker, in the early C13th.

All the evidence is presented, both in a local and a national context, to help make sense of everything. The material is presented in chronological chapters, helping teachers find examples to ‘drop in' to their teaching programme. Amply illustrated with contemporary and modern pictures, the text provides a fascinating glimpse of Northamptonshire through the ages and the interplay of migrants and residents. From Tudor servants for the rich, via ship-less sailors requiring relief, to penniless touring entertainers, all of history is here, and plenty of stories to grab students. The book is particularly strong on post-WW2 immigration, making excellent use of the NBHA oral archive. Supporting reading and references to local and national archives round out what this excellent example of local collaboration has to offer. A model for other areas to adapt and adopt perhaps?

This resource is FREE for Secondary HA Members.

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