Image credit: Nick Harrison via Flickr CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/

A Salford Now investigation has found that none of Salford’s 48 blue plaques commemorate any black figures from history.

The investigation comes after a Guardian report showed only 2.1% of London’s blue plaques celebrate black figures, and a further 4% across the country have been from a black, Asian or minority ethnic (BAME) background.

Salford’s BAME community accounts for 15.6% (36,488) of the population, with figures set to rise to 31.7% (90,000), according to the 2011 census.

Guy Bochar of New Step for the African Community (NESTAC) works to empower disadvantaged BAME communities across the Greater Manchester region.  He said: “It’s very sad because we need to see black people more integrated into our community.

“It feels like these black figures are invisible. People don’t know how to be visible, there is not a strong enough community and it can lead black people to feel isolated. It’s very frustrating.”

The blue plaque scheme was first introduced in 1866, aiming to commemorate figures who have lived, worked and stayed in buildings across the country, such as John Lennon, J.B Priestly and Freddie Mercury.

In order to be commemorated by the service, a nominee must be sufficiently famous to be familiar to the succeeding generation or be regarded as sufficiently significant within their field, and their achievements must have made a lasting and significant contribution to the community.

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Bochar also added what NESTAC is doing to help BAME communities feel recognised in the area. He continued: “We at NESTAC are trying to guide people. We need to be pushed and encouraged on community appreciation. This is one of the areas we are working on: for black people to believe in themselves.

“We need to be proud of who we are. There are a lot of accomplishments, we need to believe in our ambition. We also need to use all the possible areas we can to encourage these beliefs: social movement, research etc. We need to let people know we exist.

“More and more people want to know about our future, our value. We are one of the oldest cultural communities in the world, we need to be aware of that, this can help us believe in ourselves and share, teach and appreciate.”

Salford City Council have been made aware of the issue and a spokesperson said: “We have a plaque scheme in Salford to commemorate and celebrate notable aspects of Salford’s heritage, including buildings, people and events.

“This is a public-led initiative, so nominations from the public go to a panel who apply a set of criteria to all nominations. This is a self-funded scheme so people must meet all costs, which range from about £500 to £800 for the successful applications.

“All nominations are considered by our panel and they along with our equality team recognise a lack of diversity in this area. So, we will be calling on the public to nominate recipients that represent their communities across the city, and we’re excited to see who they want represented via our plaque scheme.”

Nominations for the Blue Plaque initiative can be made via the Salford Council website.

One Comment

  1. Mack Chris Mackenzie

    This is a very good and important initiative and we thank you Nedtac for launching this across the BAME communities

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