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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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INEC Says 132, 626 Voters Cards Uncollected In Anambra

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has disclosed that 132,626 Permanent Voter Cards (PVC) are yet to be collected in Anambra State.

The commission added that it has relocated six local government area collection centres in the state, as a result of the insecurity ravaging most parts of the country.

The state’s Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Dr Queen Elizabeth Agwu, stated this on Wednesday, during a meeting with stakeholders at the state headquarters of the commission.

Agwu who addressed all the political parties representatives, traditional rulers and civil society groups said the local government areas where the relocation of collation centres took place include Ihiala, Nnewi South, Onitsha North, Orumba North, Awka North and Awka South.

She said:“The collection of PVCs has been extended to Saturdays and Sundays in Anambra State.

“We need enough security to carry out this function. If people fail to collect their PVC, they will be shortchanging themselves, and doing a disservice to the people of their area.

“The 2023 general elections will be free, fair and credible, not only in Anambra State but the entire country. We have done the necessary work, and we hope to deliver.”

She gave a breakdown of the figures of uncollected PVCs in most local government areas as follows:

Ayamelum – 1,960; Dunukofia – 6,222; Idemili South – 4’589; Anaocha – 885; Orumba South -6,656; Onitsha South – 12,274; Idemili North – 16,256; Aguata – 12675; Njikoka – 7,009; Ogbaru – 10,755 and Anambra East – 7,717.

Others are Nnewi South – 1,841; Awka North – 1,153; Anambra West – 1,387; Orumba North – 2,393; Oyi – 7,982; Onitsha North – 9,990; Ihiala – 4,058; Nnewi North – 8,700; Ekwusigo – 3,350 and Awka South – 4,971.

 

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Osun LP Guber Candidate, Lasun Rejoins PDP

Yusuf Lasun, a former deputy speaker of the house of representatives, has rejoined the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

The governor of Osun, Ademola Adeleke made the announcement on Wednesday at the PDP presidential rally in Osogbo, the Osun capital.

“The former deputy speaker has joined the PDP family. He used to be in PDP, but today, he has decided to come and join the PDP family,” the governor said.

Lasun, who was present at the rally, hailed supporters after a terse remark.

Lasun had contested the 2022 governorship election in Osun on the platform of the Labour Party (LP).

Adeleke came first in the election; Gboyega Oyetola of the APC placed second; Kehinde Atanda of the Action Democratic Party (ADP) came third; while Lasun came a distant fourth.

He was a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC) until February when he resigned from the party after losing the party’s governorship ticket.

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I Can’t Contest For President Again; It Will Diminish Me- Jonathan

Goodluck Jonathan, Nigeria’s former president, has said he will never contest for the Presidency of the country again.

The Ex-president said it would amount to diminishing himself if he should decide to begin to lobby people and campaign for election again.

Jonathan said this in an interview published in a book, ‘My Time As Chaplain In Aso Rock,” presented to the public on Tuesday.

The book written by Nathaniel Bivan contains the accounts of the Chaplain of the Aso Rock Villa Chapel during the Jonathan administration, Obioma Onwuzurumba.

“If you wake up tomorrow and see that I am President again, that means there may have been circumstances beyond my control. But not to go and pick one form and go and start lobbying people and running for campaigns; I can’t do that again. If I do that, I will diminish myself,” the former President said.

Jonathan said he enjoyed the drama that characterised the rumour earlier in the year that he had purchased a nomination form of the All Progressives Congress to enable him to contest for the party’s presidential ticket.

Ahead of the June 2022 APC presidential primary, a group, Nomadic Pastoralists and Almajirai Community, led by Ibrahim Abdullahi, purchased the N100m nomination and expression of interest forms in Jonathan’s name.

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