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Southwark calls on black African and Caribbean residents to contribute to borough archive

To mark Black History Month Southwark Council has launched a new initiative to encourage the borough's black African and Caribbean communities to contribute to the borough's archive held at Southwark Local History Library in Borough High Street.

Southwark calls on black African and Caribbean residents to contribute to borough archive
Cllr Althea Smith, Mayor of Southwark, with Dr Patricia Dark at Southwark Local Studies Library

The "Building the archive" campaign – which coincides with October's Black History Month – will build a snapshot of Southwark's current African and Caribbean communities in order to recognise and celebrate their ongoing accomplishments.

All sections of the African and Caribbean community are encouraged to take part including community groups, business owners and local social groups.

The archive is also happy to accept photographs, films, newspaper clippings and official documents to help build a picture of the present and changing history of Southwark.

"We want to collect records of the lives of individuals and families, items like personal letters, journals or certificates and photographs and film that show individuals and families at work and play in their homes and communities," said Dr Patricia Dark, local history library and archive manager.

"We don't need posed or professional family portraits that don't show anything about the lives of the people in them, and it helps a lot if you can identify as many people in a shot as possible."

The campaign fits in with the theme of Southwark's Black History Month festivities – 'Celebration' – from the Queen's Jubilee to 50 years of independence for Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago and the amazing Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The Mayor of Southwark, Cllr Althea Smith has already added material to the archive alongside Southwark Olympic torchbearer Ahmed Jalloh-Sheriff and Sunny Lambe from Black Business Initiative.

"As a community we have so much to shout about and celebrate so it is vital that we all contribute to the archive," said Cllr Smith.

"Our successors need to have a foundation to build upon to continue to do great things. Whilst reflecting on all the greatness achieved over the years remember that you too have been part of it so we need your contribution.

"I look forward to looking back in a year's time and seeing all of our wonderful memories."

Cllr Claire Hickson, cabinet member for communities and economic development said: "Black History Month is a good time to celebrate the invaluable contribution our African and Caribbean communities have made not only to Southwark but across the UK and internationally.

"We want to be able to reflect on this in years to come and celebrate these endeavours. This is why we are encouraging business owners; social, community and faith groups and community leaders to come forward with their memories so we can share these and inspire future generations."

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