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Festival aims to celebrate black ancestors

HISTORY LESSON: Some of the historical moments to be explored at family history festival, East London Routes

A FESTIVAL celebrating the ancestry of ethnic minority people is urging support from those with similar interests.

The family history festival called East London Routes, will take place on November 4 and the organisers want people to come out and share stories of how they came to live in the area.

Event organiser Patrick Vernon said the festival would give east London residents a chance to explore their ancestry and discover how the area’s diverse community has shaped local culture.

Vernon said he has planned the event to coincide with the 10th anniversary of social enterprise, Every Generation Media and Foundation (EGM).
The event, “is a chance to discover and celebrate our ancestors from the Caribbean and Africa”, he said.

EGM has been at the forefront of developing websites, publications, workshops and films around family learning and cultural heritage, particularly among people of ethnic minority heritage.

The organisation’s aim is to help promote knowledge about family history spanning several generations of the Britain’s African Caribbean community.


Vernon, who heads EGM and is the former chair of the Afiya Trust, a charity that tackles health and social care inequalities, said the event will be a “creative and interactive way of capturing the lives, history and migration stories of local communities and families using music, film, story-telling, art activities and literature.”

There will also be an opportunity to see some rare photographic images of the Caribbean as part of the National Archives’ Caribbean Through a Lens project to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Independence of Jamaica and Trinidad.

EGM has organised other projects and campaigns based on family history, including the 100 Great Black Britons campaign, which highlights and celebrates the achievements of black people in Britain.

Vernon said the November event would include a debate exploring some of the challenges and issues that have affected the community such as poor mental health.

The event will also explore questions such as: What has the impact of the 100 Great Black Britons campaign been? What are the key issues and challenges standing in the way of black achievement in Britain today? And what can we learn from the Windrush Generation?

The East London Routes event will be held on Sunday November 4 from 10am - 6pm at Rich Mix, 35-47 Bethnal Green Road, London, E1 6LA.

For more information, visit, email or the Rich Mix booking office

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