Diverse Magazine Group

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BLACK HISTORY MONTH CAN ONLY BE DECLARED A SUCCESS ONCE IT’S REDUNDANT

Uplifting stories of individual triumph, like those of Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu and Mary Seacole, don’t do nearly enough to fill the knowledge gap When Vladimir Putin’s spokesman dismissed Britain as “a small island no one listens to”, David Cameron defended our nation’s honour by mentioning among its triumphs “that Britain helped to abolish slavery”. He made this statement without any apparent irony, or awareness that Britain was also one of the originators of the institution of slavery, certainly in the Atlantic context. As we have just ended Black History Month 2013 statements like this make it clear how much it is...

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THE MEANING OF MARTIN LUTHER KING’S SPEECH

I was asked what relevance King’s speech has in 21st-century Britain. Have you looked the employment market, or the so-called ‘war on drugs’ recently? I did a slew of radio interviews last week, marking the 50th anniversary of Dr Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech. Disorientating in its way because the various stations came down the same phone line one after the other: BBC Leeds, Devon, Scotland, Berkshire, Hereford and Worcester. Still, the conversations were a pleasure. Inevitably, presenters asked similar things – why was King’s speech such a great one? What was it about him? Why do we...

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HAS MARTIN LUTHER KING’S DREAM COME TRUE?

When I helped draft that 1963 speech, none of us imagined an African American president. But US society is far from post-racial… In 1963, I had a contentious meeting with Robert Kennedy. In defending the civil rights achievements of his brother John and the Justice Department during his tenure as attorney general, RFK predicted that, “in 40 years”, a negro might be president of the United States. Those of us who worked closely with Martin Luther King Jr never contemplated the possibility of a black president in our lifetimes. Kennedy turned out to be off by only five years. In...

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BAYARD RUSTIN: THE GAY BLACK PACIFIST AT THE HEART OF THE MARCH ON WASHINGTON

Though he was chief strategist for King’s march, Rustin was kept in the background as some organizers considered him a liability. He died in 1987, and is sometimes forgotten in civil rights history When civil rights leaders met at the Roosevelt Hotel in Harlem in early July 1963 to hammer out the ground rules by which they would work together to organise the March on Washington there was really only one main sticking point: Bayard Rustin. Rustin, a formidable organiser and central figure in the civil rights movement, was a complex and compelling figure. Raised a Quaker, his political development would take him...

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MUSLIM DEFENDANT NOT TO WEAR BURQA IN COURT

21-year-old woman from Hackney will not be allowed to enter a plea in court until she shows her face A judge has refused to allow a Muslim woman to stand trial in a full-length burqa as he said it would be possible for another person to enter the dock pretending to be her. Judge Peter Murphy told the 21-year-old defendant from Hackney in east London that he would not allow her to enter a plea in court until she showed her face. The woman, who is facing an allegation of intimidating a witness in Finsbury Park in June, told Blackfriars crown court she could...

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ENOUGH DONE BE ENOUGH – WOMEN, ENSLAVEMENT AND EMANCIPATION

The following is an excerpt from the Memorial Lecture that was delivered by Professor Verene Shepherd at the Liverpool Town Hall on August 22, 2013 as part of the annual Slavery Remembrance activities organised by National Museums Liverpool. I ask myself:  how did Liverpool become so mixed up in this crime against humanity? Prof Kenneth Morgan gives us a partial answer, writing that after Parliament ended the London-based Royal African Company’s official monopoly in England in 1698, private merchants in London, Bristol and Liverpool entered the transatlantic trade in Africans. By the 1740s Liverpool overtook Bristol and London to become...

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COMBATTING MODERN DAY SLAVERY

A comprehensive approach through laws, education and international cooperation is needed to end modern-day slavery, the President of the General Assembly, Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, said recently. “The terrible impacts of slavery and the slave trade are still felt to this day,” Mr. Al-Nasser said in remarks delivered on his behalf to a General Assembly meeting to commemorate the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade. “They have devastated continents and countries. They have led to profound social and economic inequalities, and have given rise to hatred, racism and prejudice.” In 2007, the General...

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BRITAIN’S DIVERSITY WAS LAUDED DURING THE OLYMPICS. BUT NO LONGER

There’s a glaring gap between the chants we heard at last summer’s Games and where Britain has subsequently arrived… Nostalgia for something that happened only a year ago must surely represent our accelerated culture reaching warp speed. But here we are: marking the first anniversary of the London Olympics, and the magic of that event and the subsequent Paralympics are once again being celebrated. “Will anything ever feel this good again?” read a wonderfully understated headline in the Telegraph. To which the answer is: perhaps not, but 120,000 tickets for the Anniversary Games sold out in 75 minutes, which suggests that even the...

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RAMADAN IN NUMBERS

Why does the duration of Ramadan change? How long will Muslims in different countries have to fast? Get the key numbers here… 7,504,984 tonnes of dates produced Photograph: Murad Sezer/AP Muslims traditionally use dates to break their fast, so sales of this sweet fruit soar during Ramadan. Medjool and Halawi may sound exotic but there are some more surprisingly named date variants because sellers often give the best crop gimmicky names. In 2009, the Obama date could be found after the US President’s trip to Egypt. In 2011, buyers could purchase the Tahrir Square date and this year, according to Al Arabiya...

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CHRISTIANS’ DISCRIMINATION CASES REJECTED

Shirley Chaplin, Gary McFarlane and Lillian Ladele lose legal tussle at Strasbourg court over workplace discrimination Three British Christians who argued that their beliefs saw them wrongly disciplined by their employers for actions such as refusing to counsel same-sex couples have lost their legal battle at the European court of human rights. Shirley Chaplin, Gary McFarlane and Lillian Ladele had their appeals to the Strasbourg court rejected in January as part of the same ruling as that in which Nadia Eweida, a British Airways check-in attendant, won her fight against being banned from wearing a cross at work. The three sought to resolve...