Honorary returns to campus to celebrate Black History Month

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A leading UK scholar on the heritage of black people will deliver a thought-provoking lecture at Edge Hill University to celebrate Black History Month.

Former Edge Hill student and honorary graduate Dr Richard Benjamin will be guest speaker at the next Alumni Networking Event on Monday 29th October.

A passionate voice in the campaign against racism and discrimination, Richard is Head of the International Slavery Museum in Liverpool and Co-Director of the Centre for the Study of International Slavery.

Throughout Richard’s career he has combined academic research with community work and it is this distinctive combination of international and local, of public and private that has defined the role and remit of the Museum under his leadership.

Affinity Officer Caroline Mitchell said: “We’re delighted to invite Richard back to campus to help us celebrate Black History Month.

“Richard’s lecture will explore the origins and importance of Black History Month, discussing the role of the International Slavery Museum as one of the world’s first national museums to tell the story of transatlantic slavery. It’s a great opportunity for our alumni to listen to a fascinating piece of history and to network with old friends and make new contacts.”

Richard said: “For me personally, Edge Hill not only shaped my career but my philosophy on life. I was brought up in a small Yorkshire town and although I was always aware of my family background and always proud of it, it was not until I came to Edge Hill and met students from an array of cultural backgrounds that I truly had a sense of my black identity.”

Born in Tadcaster, his studied Urban Policy, Community and Race Relations at undergraduate level, which included the history of race relations. It was the first time Richard had heard anything about Africa other than colonialism, the slave trade and apartheid. He cites his time at Edge Hill as the ‘epiphany’ moment he discovered black and African history and the turning point in how he thought about his own heritage.

This gave Richard the confidence and conviction to follow his boyhood interests in the early history of British peoples and in 1997 began an MA in Archaeology. His PhD Black Identity and Social Inclusion through Archaeology and Heritage looked at how archaeology failed to present black people as active citizens in British history.

To listen to Richard’s talk in the Business, Law and Criminology Building on 29th October, book your free place by emailing alumni@edgehill.ac.uk. Arrival is 5.30pm, ready for a 6pm start and networking with drinks and canapés afterwards.