The First World War a Black & Ethnic Contribution
Mothers Against Violence (MAV) started a new project in October 2014. October is the UK’s black history month and we used this month to start the new project which has been titled The First World War a Black & Ethnic Contribution (FWWBEC). The project which has been funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund highlights the positive contribution black people have made securing communities and upholding the right for all to live in peace. Sadly sometimes war has been the only way governments have felt this could be achieved. MAV are a charity that promotes nonviolence. However we understand that daily there are people who lay down their lives to secure positive futures for the rest of us, without them we would not be able to strive for communities which are built on the right that all people live in peace. MAV are committed to seeking the ideal of love and respect for all. It is with this in mind that MAV will explore with groups of young and older people the positive contributions historical figures have made to secure better communities for us all. We understand and sympathies with the view that for many war is never the answer. However we also value those who serve in our armed forces. We also encourage those young people in our communities that choose to serve in the armed forces as a career option.
Lieutenant Walter Tull.
At the beginning of black history month MAV start to explore the life of Lieutenant Walter Tull. FWWBEC project provides opportunities for groups to look at the vast contribution Walter Tull and other black and ethnic groups made 100 years ago during the 1st World War. The project will also explored the many other contributions made since the first world war by black and ethnic groups. We hope it will help inspire young and old people in our community. We hope it will help and encourage them to continue making positive contribution, providing a sense of achievement and value for those black and ethnic group in the community. We also hope it will help remove negative image being promoted by small groups of people who think that black and other ethnic groups have only been takers from the Britain and not contributes to Britain.
A Profile of Lieutenant Walter Tull – Black History Month
On the 8th November MAV’s Youth Dance Group completed the Walter Tull Workshop and then set out for London to attend the Remembrance Day Service Lead by the Queen at the Whitehall memorial London. They then visited the Poppy Memorial at the Tower of London. At the end of the day the young people decided to leave their framed Walter Tull reflection presentation at the London war memorial alongside the reeves left by members of the Royal Family and Commonwealth leaders. MAV will continue to commemorate the Positive Contributions made by Lieutenant Walter Tull and others until July 2015.
Walter Tull was the son of joiner, was born in Folkestone in April 1888 Walter’s father, the son of a slave, had arrived from Barbados in 1876. In 1895, when Walter was seven, his mother died. Walter’s father remarried but he died two years later. The stepmother was unable to cope with all six children and Walter and his brother Edward were sent to a Methodist run orphanage in Bethnal Green, London. Walter was a keen footballer and played for a local team in Clapton. In 1908 Walter’s talents were discovered by a scout from Tottenham Hotspur and the club decided to sign this promising young footballer. He played for Tottenham until 1910, when he was transferred for a large fee to Northampton Town. Walter was the first black outfield player to play professional football in Britain. When the First World War broke out, Walter abandoned his football career to join the 17th (1st Football) Battalion of the Middlesex Regiment. During his military training Walter was promoted three times. In November 1914, as Lance Sergeant he was sent to Les Ciseaux in France.
In May, 1915 Walter was sent home with post-traumatic stress disorder. Returning to France in September 1916 Walter fought in Battle of the Somme, between October and November, 1916. His courage and abilities encouraged his superior officers to recommend him as an officer.
On 26 December, 1916, Walter went back to England on Leave and to train as an officer. There were military laws forbidding ‘any negro or person of colour’ being commissioned as an officer, despite this, Walter was promoted to lieutenant in 1917. Walter was the first ever Black officer in the British Army, and the first black officer to lead white men into battle. Walter was sent to the Italian Front where he twice led his Company across the River Piave on a raid and both times brought all of his troops back safely. He was mentioned in Despatches for his ‘gallantry and coolness’ under fire by his commanding officer.
He was recommended for the Military Cross but never received it.
After their time in Italy, Walter’s Battalion was transferred to Somme Valley in France. On 25 March, 1918, Walter Tull was killed by machine gun fire while trying to help his men retreat. Walter was such a popular man and several of his men risked their own lives in an attempt to retrieve his body under heavy fire but they were unsuccessful due to the enemy soldiers advance. Walter’s body was never found and he is one of thousands of soldiers from World War One who has no known grave.
MAV started the project by completing a number of presentation on Lieutenant Walter Tull in October 2014 in different venues across Manchester. They included Holy Name Primary School, African Caribbean Care Group Hulme, Inspire Church Levenshulme and with the MAV Youth Dance Group. We presented each group with a book on the life of Walter Tull and a framed written reflection. In each session the groups looked at the positive contribution made by Walter Tull. They also reflected on how they made a positive contribution in their community. The children at Holy Name Primary School in Hulme Manchester completed art work and with the help of MAV added new books about Walter Tull to their school library. The children had never heard of Walter Tull and after the session said they felt pleased they could add this British service man to their collection of black heroes alongside Martin Luther King JR, Nelson Mandela, Mary Seacole and President Obama.
MAV are pleased that the project will continue in January 2015 with a Walter Tull presentation at the Manchester Art Gallery. This will lead onto a school based art project and Walter Tull memorial presentation event scheduled for June 2015.
Making Children & Young People Matter Event
by Jessica Swanston & Beulah Tomlin
On Saturday 12thJuly 2014 Mothers Against Violence (MAV) hosted their annual Making Children and young People Matter event in Manchester’s City Centre. This year’s theme for the event ”MAKING A POSITIVE CONTRIBUTION” was taken from on one of the five outcomes of the Every Child Matters framework for children in the UK.
MAV ensured they paid tribute to those in the community that had made positive contribution in the community helping guide children in the local community to in making a positive contribution. In addition there were activities such as face painting, stalls with specially designed T-shirts with the word PEACE on it, Jewellery, giant mascots, childrens’ craft activities and our very own Queen of Hearts.
Our main headliners, BBC’s The Voice runner up, Chris Royal, gave beautiful renditions and in support of our event was The Absolutes (a pair of giant mascot) in the bright orange and brown. We also had Lady Scarlet on stilts a vision in red, which captured the audience attention. We had a young group of dancers from a Dance School in Stockport, who captivated the audience along with many singers, dancers and poets. The event was a success. There was a huge turn-out and the weather was kind to us. We had many people and organisations that were able to help make a positive contribution at the event, which included sponsorship and donations, some of these included Siemens Manchester, Manchester City Council, Virgin Lounge on Kings Street and Kro Bar which is based in the city centre Piccadilly Gardens.
The children’s activities worked well. We do think next year there should be more active activities and more mascots and children’s entertainers as this proved positive at this year’s event. The acts on the stage were fabulous and people felt there was a good range of different types of music. We hope next year more acts will bring some of their CDs and merchandise to sell and give away.
We featured a list of war heroes as an introduction to the FWWBEC project and remembered people such as Lee Rigby from Middleton. We also presented certificates to past volunteers for their support and positive contributions to MAV and local services since 1999 when MAV started.
One of the new features of the event which were of great success was the Prayer Tent. Which offered support to people of all faiths. Many people came and asked to be prayed for. They went away with contact details and other information for further support. MAV’s aim is to continue putting on programmes and events which will give the youth of our city the time and space to engage in community programmes and to focus their energies in doing positive things in our communities.
MAV Awarded Certificates to those who have made a Positive Contribution in our local community and beyond. They included:-
Previous MAV Workers: For the work they have done in support of the service since 1999
Refinery: For supporting Mother Against Violence with art work and promotional activities
Dr. Erinma Bell MBE DL: For her work with the local community of Moss Side
New Testament Church of God: For the faith and spiritual support in the community
Barbaken: For the support it gives to Mother Against Violence
Peace FM: For their commitment to PEACE in the local community
Youngblood: For his artistic achievement in the local community
Xcalibre: For the commitment to making the community a safer place
Asda Hulme Manchester: For the support given to Mother Against Violence
Rev. David Gray: For his work in the local community
Mr. Tony Lloyd: For his national contribution in supporting the inner city of Manchester.
Lee Rigby: For the positive contribution he made in the armed forces and for the dignity of his family and friends in dealing with his tragic loss of life.
Tribute From MAV Founder Patsy Mckie
In 2004 a march was organized to raise awareness and also to address the young men who were causing fear in the community with gang wars. After some consultation with local people MAV felt it was important to work with our local authority and use the “Every Child Matters Framework” to be a guide to what we wanted to achieve. MAV questioned local people and services to young people and children asking “If you believe every child matter, how do you show every child matter?” We felt it was important to do something to show as a group how we will make children and young people matter in our community. As a result of this question meetings were arranged with the Deputy Manager of Manchester City Council and our first Making Children & Young People Event took place in the city centre in 2009. In 2010 at our second event we used one of the Every Child Matter outcome for our theme. We have now completed all five outcomes our final being “Making A Positive Contribution”.
Our last two events saw the largest crowd of children and young people taking part using their talents and gifts and fulfilling their potential and having the confidence to do so. Children and young people suggestions were valued. The feedback given on the event suggested the crowd felt it was a lovely family day. The artist were able to perform and enjoyed event and develop their performance abilities. The children and young people that took part felt valued and more confident and left with a sense of achievement. Overall every one made a positive contribution on the day.
Other issues raised were a lack of volunteers on the day and the late start which meant some performers had a longer wait than necessary. The Making Children & Young People Matter Team would like to thank all the people who contributed on the day this made the day a success. This year we had support from Manchester based Shaw Star who provided MAV with many of the local artist and performers. This is the second year we worked with the promoters. We also worked with London based t-shirt company Indigo Pink Clothing. for the first time. They are keen to promote the message of PEACE. Their t-shirt designs inspired the MAV team. We welcomed them to the event with Photographer JC Candanedo aka Grey Pistachio who provided photos for this article. We found their work and commitment in supporting the event inspiring. We would also like to thank the funders with special thanks to Awards for All Big Lottery Fund
MAV Garden Party August 2014
MAV also put on a Garden Party that took place at the Claremont Centre Hulme. The event was supported by the local community, Manchester City Council and Greater Manchester Fire Service. The focus was Manchester Africa Caribbean Care Group who are currently based at Claremont Centre. The service supports the elderly in the local community. MAV have worked closely with the service for over 3 years. We have provided activities for the elderly which includes working with young people from local schools. The aim is to bridge the gap between the elderly and young people. The free event provided entertainment and food for many of the older people in the area. 150 people attended. Many of the performers from the Making Children & Young People Matter Event also volunteered their services and support for the Garden Party.
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