From protest to policymaking: join my campaign for reform and ensure Afro-Scottish history is taught in our schools
10 July 2020
Changing the curriculum would be a vital step in anti-racist action, giving children in Scotland a proper understanding of colonialism, slavery and the hidden figures of black history, writes Eunice Olumide
My name is Eunice Olumide. I am an art curator and gallery owner, author, and international model.
When I was at school myself and fellow Scots learned nothing about the history and the role that Britain played in colonising Africa. Nor the way the West benefited financially, culturally, and socially from colonialism and the transatlantic slave trade.
We were also not taught anything about the many prominent Afro-Scottish, Caribbean, and Black British figures who have contributed significantly to the entire UK.
I decided to create a petition to put Afro-Scottish history on the curriculum, as part of my ‘Positive Action: Five Ways to Change the World’ in lockdown campaign.
The goal for me is to make real permanent change, getting a commitment and pledge from policymakers for proactive anti-racist action, creating meaningful steps through the implementation of a thorough and robust account of Afro-Scottish, Black British and African Diasporic history through the national education system.
This would negotiate, rectify, and recognise those real-life events and contributions that continue to shape and support our society today. It is essential to take action that goes beyond our initial protests worldwide.
I am calling on the Scottish Parliament to urge the Scottish Government to reform our education system to include all Afro-Scottish history including artefacts of African diaspora, cultural and economic contributions, the role of the British Empire and the benefits to Scotland from colonies of the Caribbean and Africa.
I would also like the curriculum to focus on pre-colonial African Scottish history. This could include the role of the Moors from the fourth century, at a time when racism did not exist, right through to those historic figures during and post-colonialism such as John Edmonstone (1793-1822), one of the most important figures in scientific research, an expert in taxidermy and teacher at Edinburgh University where he trained Charles Darwin, arguably one of the most profound figures in secular British ideology.
Or black British royalty Sarah Forbes Bonetta, a Yoruba Egbado Princess from Nigeria sold into slavery becoming the much beloved Goddaughter of Queen Victoria.
It is important for us all to learn about hugely important historic figures. People such as Philippa of Hainault, the first Black Queen of England right through to an incredible hidden figure like Katherine Johnson, the African-American female mathematician at the heart of NASA’s space program that put the first man on the moon.
The petition was only approved a few days ago and we have already had more than 1000 signatures as well as support from celebrities including Frankie Boyle.
We have until the fifth of August and then it will close. It is such a fantastic way for anyone who genuinely wants to create change to make a real difference that makes our country a better place for everyone regardless of your race, religion, or class.
The other four pillars in my campaign include:
- Establishing a charity fund to support BME Businesses, the ADBSF (click here to visit)
- Creating the first Scottish BME Heritage Museum (click here to visit),
- Ensuring a monument is built alongside charity One Voice for Freedom, to honour the contribution of diaspora in central London (we have already raised 500k, supported by heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua and fashion designer Ozwald Boateng), and
- Producing the first ever film based on true life stories of systemic racism in Scotland.
We can all make a difference, no matter how large or small. So get involved and click here to sign the petition today!
Further information about Eunice and her work:
- Click here to sign and share her petition to reform the curriculum
- Click here to find out more about the African Diaspora Business Support Fund Charity, a vehicle for companies and individuals to help entrepreneurs and businesses from BME backgrounds who have demonstrated real business acumen and prowess to grow their existing trades and achieve economic stability
- Click here to read about the Empire Museum project
- Click here to visit the website of the Olumide Gallery
Contact Eunice and find out more: email@example.com