Black History Month Recommendations: Rachel Bailey

Rachel Bailey, Pupil Barrister, CPS WessexIt’s Black History Month! As part of our celebrations this October, we are asking our members to share their Black History Month recommendations.

The Black History Month picks recommended by our members are a great way to learn more about the Black experience, identity and culture. You can pick up a new book, discover a new author or performer, or try something new.

We are looking for members who would like to recommend books, movies, TV shows or music that they think our readers should read, watch or listen. Please share your recommendations with us, as we’d love to hear what you’re reading this Black History Month.

A huge thank you to everyone who has taken the time to share their recommendations. We’ve got some great suggestions so far, and we will be publishing them over the next few weeks.

As recommended by: Rachel Bailey, Senior Crown Prosecutor

Read

Slay In Your Lane: The Black Girl Bible by Elizabeth Uviebinené and Yomi AdegokeSlay in your Lane: The Black Girl Bible by Elizabeth Uviebinené and Yomi Adegoke.
Black women are often unrepresented and under appreciated or recognised. This book recognises and celebrates the strides black women have already made, while providing practical advice and inspiration for those who want to do the same and forge a better, visible future. It’s refreshing to hear from women who look like us and understand the trials and tribulations we face. 

And Still I Rise by Maya Angelou
This poem always keeps me grounded and reminds me that no matter how many times life can knock you down, I will rise. The poem concludes with “I am the dream and the hope of the slave”. It’s a phrase I carry with me and try to live up to. I think it speaks for itself.

Watch

Black Panther
For the first time in a long time, we have a film centred around black people, where we have a lot of agency are in a powerful position. It also celebrates the different cultures and traditions across the African diaspora, which we do not see in the mainstream media. Wakanda may be fictional, but it does pose the theoretical question, what would the world have looked like for African and Caribbean people had it not been for slavery and colonisation. The film also highlights that the real-life systems of oppression and privilege that permeate our everyday lives and the norms and institutional cultures that support the status quo are built on a legacy of injustice.
It reignites the conversation and highlights that we need a sustained commitment from people with privilege i.e. those who benefited from centuries of colonisation and slavery to make any real systemic change. It cannot just be those who are oppressed or most affected by the consequences of injustice carrying the burden of pushing society forward all along. Those who live with privilege need to take action to dismantle that privilege.

See and Experience

The International Slavery Museum, Liverpool
It will take you on a thought-provoking, and explorative journey, which starts with life before slavery, looking at the people of West Africa and their rich and varied history and culture before being enslaved. The journey then continues through enslavement, capturing the horrors and conditions endured.

To understand history, we must face it, and too often, we try to shy away from it, but it must be confronted as the legacies still pervade our society today. It’s challenging and at times difficult, emotional and harrowing, especially when looking at the objects used to degrade and dehumanise Black people, but it is a key part of British history that must be held to account.

One of the museum’s aims is to encourage visitors to regard transatlantic slavery and its consequences as a shared history with shared responsibility for addressing its legacy in the modern world.

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