A Balham academy became one of 600 UK schools to receive a copy of a black British history book on Monday after an ex-teacher’s campaign raised nearly £13,000.
Retired head-teacher Yvonne Davis FCCT presented Chestnut Grove Academy with a copy and accompanying poster of 100 Great Black Britons, after her initiative to send a copy to all 8,205 secondary schools in the country gained momentum.
Davis, 64, launched a GoFundMe campaign in September to distribute the publication, authored by Patrick Vernon and Dr Angelina Osborne, which highlights the achievements of black Britons including David Lammy, Idris Elba OBE and George the Poet.
Davis said: “It was a great pleasure to deliver a copy of 100 Great Black Britons.
“The tool is to inform and to educate all pupils and adults through the life stories of our forefathers and contemporary figures.”
The academy’s head-teacher, Christian Kingsley welcomed the resource as the school seeks to broaden its history curriculum.
Kingsley said: “There has never been a more important time to relaunch the 100 Great Black Britons book and we are honoured to have received a copy.
“Reading this book will empower and motivate our staff and students as we continue to work together to raise awareness, challenge historical barriers in society and embed the celebration of the history and achievements of people of colour to Britain and British history.”
Also attending the event on Monday was Carly Lewis, a representative from the insurance company Fidelis Insurance, whose employees have generously donated to Davis’ initiative.
In a statement, the company revealed: “We are proud to support Yvonne’s 100 Great Black Britons campaign and play our part in educating the younger generations on the strong representation of black culture in the UK’s history.”
This comes as Fidelis Insurance pledged to participate in anti-racism and advance diversity and inclusion within their industry and beyond.
Davis hopes the company will be the first of many organisations to support her efforts as she stressed the importance of the book’s message for young people given the context of the global pandemic and a worsening mental health crisis.
She said: “I believe this book will inspire all children to be resilient and determined when faced with challenges.
“100 Great Black Britons provides examples of individuals who have made outstanding success of their lives even when faced with prejudice and racism.”
Davis is encouraged by the progress made so far but revealed that her campaign would not stop until every secondary school in the country has received their copy.
To donate to the GoFundMe page, click here.
You can read more about Yvonne’s project here.