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Only 2% of blue plaques in London commemorate black people

Blue plaques

Only 2% of blue plaques in London commemorate black people

Blue plaques commemorating notable black figures still make up just 2.1% of the individuals honoured across London, according to an analysis.

The scheme, run by English Heritage, was started in 1866 with the purpose of commemorating figures who have lived, worked or stayed in buildings across the capital.

More than 1,160 notable people are name-checked on the scheme’s 978 plaques. But of the those awarded plaques, 96% are white, while only 4% of figures have been from a black, Asian or minority ethnic background.

On Tuesday, a husband and wife who escaped from slavery in the US and came to Britain in the mid-19th century, where they campaigned for abolition and social reform, become the latest people to be commemorated by London’s distinctive historical markers.

William and Ellen Craft had been slaves in the southern state of Georgia before managing to escape, with the fair-skinned Ellen posing as a white man and William as “his” servant. After arriving in England as refugees in 1850, they toured the UK campaigning against slavery, before settling in Hammersmith.

Although the scheme was introduced in the 19th century, it was not until 1975 that the first blue plaque to commemorate a black person, the composer Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, was introduced, and a further 11 years until the next was erected at the Leyton home of South African writer and political activist Sol Plaatje.

The majority of the commemorated black figures first achieved this status in the past two decades: 81% of the blue plaques dedicated to notable black figures were erected since 2002.

Disparities also exist within the categories by which black and non-black figures are recognised. Black nominees are overrepresented in the categories that primarily commemorate music and dance, which make up almost a third (30%) of all the plaques dedicated to black people, compared with just 8% of all honourees.

The singers Bob Marley and Elizabeth Welch are both commemorated, as is guitarist Jimi Hendrix.

Other black figures celebrated by the scheme including the footballer Laurie Cunningham, cricketer Sir Learie Constantine and the nurse Mary Seacole. John Archer, the first black person to hold a senior public office in London, is represented, as is racial equality campaigner and founder of the League of Coloured Peoples, Dr Harold Moody.

In 2016, English Heritage launched a scheme to diversify the number of blue plaques after finding that only 14% of blue plaques commemorated women. Since then, more than half of the people awarded plaques have been women.

Anna Eavis, English Heritage’s curatorial director, said: “Black history is part of English history and English Heritage is committed to telling the story of England in full. We want the blue plaques scheme to tell the stories and celebrate the achievements of groups that have traditionally been underrepresented in history, including Black and Asian communities.

“This year, we have unveiled three plaques to minority ethnic figures – the pioneering neurologist Dr JS Risien Russell, the civil engineer Ardaseer Cursetjee Wadia, and most recently Ellen and William Craft, who escaped from enslavement in the US to fight for abolition and social justice. We always welcome nominations of historic figures from the Black and Asian communities, whose achievements deserve recognition with a blue plaque.”

According to English Heritage, the selection of who is commemorated by the blue plaques is driven mainly by suggestions from the public, and at least 20 years must have elapsed since the candidate’s death, among other criteria.

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Osun Transport Masterplan to Be Ready Soon-Governor Adeleke

Governor Ademola Adeleke has announced his administration’s plan to release to the public the Osun State Transport Master Plan to facilitate integrated connectivity for the Osun economy.

The Governor made the announcement on Thursday while commissioning the Osun State Computerised Vehicle Inspection Testing Center at Osogbo.

The Governor who narrated a series of ongoing reforms being delivered by his government said “The test center right here is the first of its kind among other interventions of our administration to reposition the State’s Transportation sector

According to the State Governor, “Our government is pursuing reforms across the transport sector. We ensure that Commercial Motorcycle operators across the State are registered under a database with a rider’s jacket and identification card for safety purposes. Mini-buses, popularly known as (Korope) have also been registered and numbered for easy identification and security.

“We have introduced single ticketing to all commercial drivers in the State through the Osun State Transport Management System (OSTMS) to guide against leakage of revenue.

“It is equally my pleasure to inform the public that our administration is working on a Transportation Master plan for Osun state. We are focused on a multimodal plan that will integrate all modes of transportation within the state. It will lay our objectives and strategic agenda for land, air, and water transportation.

“The plan is to regulate, plan, and develop an efficient and well-integrated transport system that will serve the public interest, enhance mobility, and deliver a secure and environmentally friendly Public Transportation System in different areas across Osun.

“The plan is central to our five-point agenda as it focuses on connectivity within and outside the state. Osun is centrally located in the heart of Yorubaland.

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Adeleke speaks on collapse of OAU amphitheatre

Governor Ademola Adeleke of Osun has promised to pay the medical bills of students injured in the Obafemi Awolowo University(OAU), Ile-Ife, Amphitheatre roof collapse.

The affected students are receiving treatment at the University Health Centre and the Teaching Hospital Complex (OAUTHC), Ile-Ife.

Adeleke, who was represented by the Commissioner for Education, Dipo Eluwole, sympathised with the management of the University and parents of the affected students on the unfortunate incident.

This is contained in a statement issued by the Public Relations Officer of the University, Mr Abiodun Olarewaju, in Ile-Ife on Saturday.

The commissioner was conducted round the scene of the incident by the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Simeon Bamire, and other principal officers of the University, and visited the two health facilities where the students are receiving treatment.

He expressed happiness that the affected students are responding to the treatment.

Eluwole lauded the university management for its quick response to the emergency and prompt medical attention given to the students.

Speaking to the four students being treated at the University Health and Medical Centre, the commissioner commended their bravery and wished them quick recovery.

At the Neurological ward of the University Teaching Hospital where two other students are being treated, Eluwole pleaded with their parents to see what happened as a natural occurrence.

He, thereafter, informed the vice chancellor that the Gov. Adeleke pledged to bankroll all medical expenses that may be incurred in the course of the treatment of the students.

Responding, the vice-chancellor thanked the governor for being so kind and loving, stressing that his fatherly role to the students and the good people of Osun is commendable.

A torrential rain on Thursday morning, accompanied with a whirlwind affected a part of the ceiling of the Amphitheatre as it fell off and injured some students.

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Woman burns stepchildren’s hands for eating rice prepared for their father

The Adamawa State Police Command has arrested one Rachel Geoffrey, a 23-year-old woman and resident of Federal Housing Estate, Girei, for allegedly setting fire to the hands of her stepchildren.

The children, Genesis Geoffrey, seven years old: and Idadai Geoffrey, three years old, now have their affected hands bandaged.

The Police Public Relations Officer in the state, SP Suleiman Nguroje, said in a statement that Rachel intentionally inflicted severe physical injuries on her stepchildren.

In the statement released Saturday, the police image maker said the incident occurred on Tuesday, May 14.

He said the children suffered several calculated acts of cruelty and human rights violations from their stepmother.

He explained that the children faced the wrath of the woman over a plate of rice she cooked and kept for her husband.

“The kids, because of hunger, ate their father’s food and that angered her. She then tied their hands with a handkerchief and set fire to them, resulting in the severe injuries they sustained,” Nguroje explained.

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