A powerful exhibition about Black freedom fighters and a celebration of His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie I receiving the Freedom of the city of Bath in 1954, are just two activities in a programme of events taking place in Bath and North East Somerset during October’s Black History Month.
Saturday 28th October sees a celebration of the 70th anniversary of HIM Haile Selassie I, Emperor of Ethiopia, receiving the Freedom of the City of Bath, where he lived at Fairfield House from 1936 to 1941.
The event will take place at the National Trust Assembly Rooms from 10am - 5pm, and will see the diverse communities of Fairfield House including the Ethiopian and Rastafari Community host a free, day-long pop-up Black History Month day festival with workshops, talks, poetry, food and music.
From October 12-26, Bath Central Library will also be working with the Bath Preservation Trust and State of Trust on an exhibition telling the story of Tacky’s Rebellion, an uprising of Akan people fighting for their freedom that took place in Jamaica in 1760. The uprising included enslaved people on a plantation owned by the Beckford family. Beckford Tower – now managed by Bath Preservation Trustwas built by William Beckford, whose wealth was gained from his ownership of plantations and enslaved people in Jamaica.
The exhibition explores the work that is being done to turn a book, Cane Warriors by Alex Wheatle, into a performance, while also covering Bath, Beckford and Tacky’s rebellion.
Bath Preservation Trust says the aim is to build awareness around the effects of enslavement and colonialism on the culture and psyche of modern Britain and improve community relations through greater understanding of the shared history.
The library also is hosting a free event on 13th October with Alex Wheatle, Bath Preservation Trust and State of Trust. It is from 10:30am-12:30pm and gives people a chance to hear about this exciting project first hand. You can book here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/cane-warriors-tickets-723377580817?aff=ebdsoporgprofile.
The event is part of a series of events run by partners during Black History Month, which is held every October, all demonstrating the commitment of partners to championing and promoting race equality.
Fairfield House will also be reopening to the public on Sundays throughout October after extensive refurbishment by Bath & North East Somerset Council.
On offer on Sundays is a historical guided tour about the lives of the Ethiopian Royal Family in Bath and a Caribbean Sunday Lunch. Limited Tickets for this experience are available to book each Sunday via www.ticketsource.co.uk/fairfield-house
Other highlights include the 30th birthday celebration of Bath Ethnic Minority Senior Citizens Association (BEMSCA), which has been operating a day service in locally for Bath's elderly ethnic minority communities at Fairfield House since 1993. The celebration of this remarkable service for the elderly people of Bath is on October 2 from 2pm - 6pm at Fairfield House in Kelston Road.
For more information about any of these events or to get in contact with the team at Fairfield House, please visit : www.fairfieldhousebath.co.uk
During this month, other partner organisations across Bath and North East Somerset will also be organising a wide variety of activities, including the Royal United Hospital, with the University of Bath and Bath Spa University arranging events for staff and students and celebrating the lived experience of our diverse communities across Bath and North East Somerset.
Councillor Dave Wood, Deputy Council Leader and Cabinet Member for Council Priorities and Delivery, said: “It is crucial that we bring to people’s attention the accomplishments of Black Britons in all aspects of our history. Black History Month is a national celebration which presents a further opportunity to celebrate, reflect, and learn from Black history in our area. However, our commitment to race equality cannot be limited to one specific month of the year and so it is important that we continue to work closely with our partners to deliver our commitments to race equality across all our communities.”