Press release from the City of Wolverhampton Council, dated 12 October 2021
Schools across Wolverhampton have been presented with a free copy of a landmark book co-written by Wolverhampton-born author Patrick Vernon which honours the achievements of Black people throughout history.
100 Great Black Britons celebrates the lives, stories and contributions of key Black British individuals over the past few centuries.
Among those featured are pioneering nurse and heroine of the Crimean War Mary Seacole, artist and film director Steve McQueen, rapper Stormzy, Booker prize-winning author Bernardine Evaristo, Formula One megastar Lewis Hamilton, comedian Lenny Henry and Wolverhampton singing sensation Beverley Knight.
The City of Wolverhampton Council and the Wolverhampton, Bilston and District Trades Union Council supported a national campaign by Yvonne Davis, a retired primary school headteacher from Wolverhampton, to get books into every school in Britain by purchasing a copy for each of the city's schools and libraries, and they have now been distributed to schools.
Pennfields-born author, broadcaster and social commentator Patrick, who wrote the book with Dr Angelina Osborne, said:
"It is a fantastic honour that the council has acquired copies of the best-selling 100 Great Black Britons for all schools and libraries in Wolverhampton.
"I am proud of my roots in Wolverhampton, and I hope the book and my achievements will inspire young people that they can make a difference with their lives and be proud of our shared history."
Mark Heywood, Principal of the Royal School, said:
"We were very pleased to receive a copy of 100 Great Black Britons for our school library. One of our Year 10 students led a series of brilliant assemblies on Black History Month, delivering a strong but eloquent message which had his audience of 900 pupils rapt in attention. The 100 Great Black Britons book will enable students to continue their learning on this important subject."
Louise Bradley, Principal of St Michael's Catholic Primary Academy and Nursery, added: "I was delighted to receive our copy of this lovely book and would like to pass on my heartfelt thanks and appreciation to all those involved in providing it."
Councillor Dr Michael Hardacre, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Cabinet Member for Education and Skills, said:
"As we mark Black History Month I am delighted that we have been able to present copies of 100 Great Black Britons to our city's schools.
"The book is an important investigation into the role Black people have played in our island’s history and brings both well-known and unjustly neglected figures vividly to life.
“We hope that, by making this book available in our schools and libraries, readers of all ages will enjoy discovering more about the impact that 100 very important individuals have had, and continue to have, on British history.”
Nick Kelleher, Secretary of Wolverhampton, Bilston and District Trades Union Council, added:
"100 Great Black Britons celebrates the continued legacy and achievements of Black people in Britain and given that Patrick Vernon is also a local role model, our delegates felt that this was a perfect campaign to undertake in Wolverhampton."