The poster series and the accompanying data interactive, celebrates, says the Guardian, some of the greatest stories almost never told: stories of world-shaping individuals – from emperors, to writers, freedom fighters and inventors. A timeline which shows that, from the Romans onwards, Africa’s story has been intertwined with Europe’s and others around the world.
The wallcharts series was first devised by Gaverne Bennett and the Guardian’s deputy opinion editor, Joseph Harker, in 2008 to celebrate Black History Month. They have now refreshed the series to highlight the importance of the Black Lives Matter movement of the past decade and capture recent events including the death of George Floyd in the US and the fall of the Edward Colston statue in Bristol.
Joseph Harker, deputy opinion editor, the Guardian, said: “In 2008, when the Guardian first printed the wallchart series which we’re updating this week, the 60th anniversary of the Empire Windrush was being celebrated. The name of that ship lives on in the present, now synonymous with the scandalous treatment of a generation of migrants.
“Today, the death of George Floyd has provoked deep global soul-searching about racial equality. As the tearing down of slavery and confederacy statues shows, for all of us to understand where we are, and how we got here, it’s clear we need to understand our history. And that must include the contribution of Africans and their descendants to the story of Britain, and the world. This wallchart series celebrates some of those stories: of world-shaping individuals and momentous events.
“This is not about creating a separate history; it is about adding to the history we are already familiar with. A story which shows that, from the Romans onwards, Africa’s story has been intertwined with Europe’s and others around the world. It’s a story well worth knowing.”
Katharine Viner, editor-in-chief, the Guardian, said: “There’s a big gap in public understanding of black history, as the Black Lives Matter protests have highlighted. We hope the wallcharts and interactive will be used by families, schools and teachers who are looking to discuss the movement and how it connects with British and world history.”
The wallcharts will be promoted across the Guardian website; there was also a full-page advertisement in the Guardian newspaper on Saturday and videos will run across social media this week.