News & Opinion

The Guardian launches six-day black history timeline to mark the Black Lives Matter movement

The news brand celebrates the world-shaping individuals and momentous events of black history starting with a six-part series of wallcharts.

Starting on Saturday 11 July, The Guardian will publish a black history poster series in the newspaper until Friday 17 July.

The series will document key historical moments and the Black Lives Matter movement of the past decade.

The poster series and the accompanying data interactive celebrates some of the greatest stories almost never told: stories of world-shaping individuals – from emperors to writers, freedom fighters and inventors. A timeline which shows that, from the Romans onwards, Africa’s story has been intertwined with Europe’s and others around the world.

The wallcharts series was first devised by Gaverne Bennett and The Guardian’s deputy opinion editor, Joseph Harker, in 2008 to celebrate Black History Month. They have now refreshed the series to highlight the importance of the Black Lives Matter movement of the past decade and capture recent events including the death of George Floyd in the US and the fall of the Edward Colston statue in Bristol.

Joseph Harker, deputy opinion editor, The Guardian, said: “In 2008, when The Guardian first printed the wallchart series which we’re updating this week, the 60th anniversary of the Empire Windrush was being celebrated. The name of that ship lives on in the present, now synonymous with the scandalous treatment of a generation of migrants.

“Today, the death of George Floyd has provoked deep global soul-searching about racial equality. As the tearing down of slavery and confederacy statues shows, for all of us to understand where we are, and how we got here, it’s clear we need to understand our history. And that must include the contribution of Africans and their descendants to the story of Britain, and the world. This wallchart series celebrates some of those stories: of world-shaping individuals and momentous events.

“This is not about creating a separate history; it is about adding to the history we are already familiar with. A story which shows that, from the Romans onwards, Africa’s story has been intertwined with Europe’s and others around the world. It’s a story well worth knowing.”

Katharine Viner, editor-in-chief, The Guardian, added: “There’s a big gap in public understanding of black history, as the Black Lives Matter protests have highlighted. We hope the wallcharts and interactive will be used by families, schools and teachers who are looking to discuss the movement and how it connects with British and world history.”

In recent weeks The Guardian’s journalists in the US, UK and around the world have reported on the Black Lives Matter movement, the debate on monuments to slavery, and the broader social and political questions they raise with clarity, authority and calm. The publisher has given voice to protesters calling for justice, given readers facts and powerful perspectives about the grim response from the Trump administration.


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