Thursday, 14 October 2010
Black History Month Catherine Johnson
I like Black History Month. Of course it does sound a bit American, and to be absolutely honest I think it should be called British History Month because that's what it is, it's all of our history whatever colour we are. But it does help to know that there is a history of not white people that goes back an awful long way in these islands, and I do passionately believe we should all know about it. At least once a year.
I started writing historical novels because I loved those Sunday afternoon serials we had on the BBC in the 70s. I always loved the clothes and would have diued for an empire line frock, or at a pinch, a long Scottish Widows style velvet cloak I could throw on when I had a delivery to make on my horse.
Basically, I wanted to write stories that had people like me in fancy threads.The only historical outfits I ever saw black people in were slave rags or loin cloths.
Then I found this photo. It's my grandmother, also a Catherine, there on the left, with her mother in the centre, and her sisters. Look at their hats! Aren't they fabulous? This is black people in full late Victorian garb, these people are reasonably well to do and they are sitting there in all their finery for the photographer, just like people do everywhere.
And that's the point of it I suppose, not just Black History Month or history or stories; its that we're all pretty much the same.
PS apologies for the mis post yesterday, I am in Lancashire thanks to the wonderful librarians of the county. If any of you get a chance to go to Shout About Books go! Many thanks to Alison, Allyson, Suzanne and Susan and Sandra. And more apologies to Linda, I tried to reply to your email but postmaster wouldn't let me.