“Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” (President Barack Obama)
The penultimate film screening and discussion by our Film Appreciation Club (FAC@JGC) will be held on Thursday, October 27th, 2016 in the Star Room. Our theme this time commemorates Black History Month. Black History Month is celebrated in October every year. It focuses on the history of Asian, African and African Caribbean peoples. Since October 1987, when it was inaugurated in the United Kingdom, many communities and organisations have celebrated Black History Month, with events such as lectures, conferences, concerts, and specialist activities in the community, schools and libraries.
In Scotland, Black History Month provides us with an opportunity to promote knowledge of Black history, culture and heritage, and to disseminate information on positive Black contributions to Scottish society. It celebrates this contribution and helps us to learn about and value the role that Black and Minority Ethnic people have played in shaping Scotland’s history. Black History Month also provides us with the opportunity to discover hidden stories, question assumptions and debate the importance of history and how it shapes our future.
The Scots played a leading role in the slave trade and by 1817 it was estimated that one third of all enslaved people in Jamaica were held by these Scots. This role in slavery led to more documented Black population in Scotland, as slave owners brought their slaves back to serve as household servants. Some of the population was from the earlier history of the Moors presence in the United Kingdom, mostly in Scotland and Ireland. In some cases, the enslaved people were officially freed. According to the 2011 UK Census people self described as African, Caribbean, Black or any other Black background make up around one percentage of Scotland’s population, as compared to three percentage of the overall UK population. A report in 2000 also suggested that Black people in Scotland had difficulties in feeling a sense of Scottish identity, whilst there has also been criticism that Black people are not well represented in Scottish society generally.
The film we are screening is a very famous one, adapted from a prize-winning epistolary novel. It tells the story of a young African American girl and the problems African American women faced during the early 20th century. Discussion on the film will include issues such as domestic violence, incest, paedophilia, poverty, racism, and sexism. We will also briefly discuss film literary adaptations.
Licensing and copyright restrictions prevents my blog from announcing the film title on the JGC website and social media. The selected film, however, has been made known through promotional posters and the FAC 2016 brochure which are available at the John Gray Centre itself, libraries and museums across East Lothian and several other public venues. So do come and join us for an evening of visual pleasures and vibrant conversation. Screenings are open to non-members of the club for a donation of £3 towards costs. And do look out for my final film blog this year on our forthcoming memory and remembrance themed film, as well as for information on other Christmas and end-of-year activities scheduled at the John Gray Centre on our website.