Black Heroes Foundation opens Black History Month 2021 at the Grand Hall, Battersea Arts Centre, with The Story of John Archer and an exhibition of Black Heroes
The Black Heroes Foundation has received funding from Wandsworth Council, Arts Council England, and the National Lottery Heritage Fund to share the story of John Archer, the first Black mayor of Battersea
Thanks to support from Wandsworth Grant Fund, The National Lottery Heritage Fund, and The Arts Council England, this year’s Black History Month will share the story of the life of John Archer the first black mayor of Battersea (elected 1913), and the first Black mayor appointed in London. He was also a black rights civil campaigner and activist for labour rights and other social issues. Wandsworth Council are intending to erect a statue of him. A postal stamp was created in his honour in April 2013 and in November of that year English Heritage set up a plaque at the site of his home. In 2018 Highview Primary School in Battersea was renamed to Ark John Archer Academy.
Black Heroes Foundation’s activities bring joy using the Arts to tell the stories of our Black Heroes. On 1st October, opening Black History Month, there will be a Gala Luncheon event at The Grand Hall, Battersea Arts Centre for Wandsworth’s Windrush Elders from local community centres, followed by an evening performance, which is for the general public. The doors open for the evening performance at 6:30pm. Both events will house a mini exhibition of Black Heroes and Windrush artefacts; followed with a performance of the play The Story of John Archer.
The Windrush Gala Luncheon is a FREE event for Wandsworth’s Windrush Elders. A refundable deposit of £5.00. Wandsworth residents please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for further details regarding the Gala Luncheon event.
The evening performance is open to the public. Tickets cost £5.00 and can be booked on Eventbrite/Black-Heroes-Foundation https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/black-heroes-foundation-14915287242
The Story of John Archer was first performed at Wandsworth’s Arts Fringe Festival Link – https://www.blackheroesfoundation.org/2021/05/18/wandsworth-art-fringe-2nd-of-july-2021/ on 2 July, in the presence of the Mayor of Wandsworth and the Mayor of Liverpool. “It was a wonderful journey through the life of John Archer and what he did for the good people of Battersea in Wandsworth. It was a terrific piece of acting and I thoroughly enjoyed it….The cast and the organisation need to be congratulated on a wonderful production” Mayor of Wandsworth
Listen to what the audience said:
The events exhibition draws on some of the exhibits that were displayed at this summer’s “Black Heroes @ The Gallery,” Link https://www.blackheroesfoundation.org/black-heroes-the-gallery/ which launched on Windrush Day 22 June in London Piccadilly, the space and support was provided by Westminster Council, as part of their Pop-Up program for artisans. This is what some of the 1,000+ visitors had to say “Joy, such joy….I hope this endeavour is sustained and becomes a permanent fixture in the future…I feel energised and invigorated…..It was inspiring and good to see representation from all walks of life. It was good for the children to see all the artefacts and be able to speak with the dress maker. Fantastic exhibition. We need more of this. Thank you…..Gained so much today – lots of information, an inner strength, pride in all that I saw black men and women had achieved but I was unaware of….So proud too belong to our culture and heritage – reminds me of how far we’ve come….So much work has obviously gone into this exhibition. It should be made permanent, either in dedicated premises or perhaps as part of a better-funded institution.” This Black History Month exhibition is a mini version, containing some of the Black Heroes and Windrush artefacts from Black Heroes @ The Gallery.
Other activities taking place in Black History Month include weekly online virtual events:
1. Virtual Locomotion – Windrush Café
Lunch Time – 12:30 – 13:30 every Thursday throughout October
Song, dance, chatting, quiz, and sharing of a story about a Black Hero
2. Black Heroes Virtual Soul Food Café
Evenings – 19:30 – 20:30 every Friday throughout October
An evening of fun. Song, dance, chatting, and interviews with persons celebrating Black Culture and Life.
Joyce Fraser, Chair of Trustees at The Black Heroes Foundation, said “We are thrilled to open Black History Month 2021 and run this series of events. Unlocking history and continuing to tell our important stories. Celebrating the contributions of the African diaspora to the fabric of society, bringing joy, enlightenment, and empowerment.”
Written By: Joyce Fraser