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In its 60 year history, Notting Hill Carnival has become a symbol of Black Britain and its resilience to celebrate cultural pride in the face of oppression and discrimination.

Once used to target the Black community and tarnish Afro-Caribbean culture, Notting Hill Carnival has become a national British icon, honouring multiculturalism and the uniting of diverse identities across London and the UK. However, the origin of Notting Hill Carnival will always be in the Caribbean and with London’s Black British community.

The Notting Hill race riots

Racially motivated violence on Black Londoners occurred throughout the summer and culminated in the Notting Hill race riots. On 29 September, a mob of white nationalists marched on Bramley Road and attacked the homes of the West Indian residents. The riots continued every night until 5 October.

When did Notting Hill Carnival start?

As a social response to the riots, the first Notting Hill Carnival took place the following January in the form of an indoor, BBC televised event at St Pancras Town Hall. The founder of the Notting Hill Carnival was Claudia Jones, a Trinidadian journalist and activist, who worked closely with fellow Trinidadian and influential musician Edric Connor. Connor became a regular performer over the early years of the carnival and Jones is now known as the ‘Mother of Notting Hill Carnival’.

Claudia Jones, Founder of the Notting Hill Carnival

Claudia Jones, 1915-1964.

This first Notting Hill Carnival showcased elements of Caribbean culture and art, taking inspiration from the original carnivals of the Caribbean islands but presented in a more European cabaret style. There is some debate as to whether this event was really the first Carnival, but most agree on its importance in the Carnival’s history and the UK’s Caribbean community.

Over the next few years, the Carnival took place in this format, however another event that more closely resembles today’s extravaganza was being planned. Rhaune Laslett from Stepney was the President of the London Free School, a group of activists and emerging artists based in London. The group, led by Laslett, wanted to establish a festival to bring together the various ethnic groups and nationalities in the then-disadvantaged area of Notting Hill. Laslett felt that;

“although West Indians, Africans, Irish and many other nationalities all live in a very congested area, there is very little communication between us.”

She wanted to change this whilst also challenging the perception that Notting Hill was a run-down slum area, something that’s hard to imagine now, partly due to the success of the Carnival.

The London Free School realised their dream of a community fair for Notting Hill in September 1966. Originally a traditionally British fair, the various identities and ethnicities of the Notting Hill area were given the chance to showcase their culture and interact with others. It’s safe to say, over 50 years on, their more lofty goal of cultural unity has been largely achieved.

Notting Hill Carnival history

The 1966 Notting Hill Carnival hosted famed Trinidadian musician Russell Henderson, who had previously performed at the indoor edition. Henderson’s influence, as well as other musicians who performed in the first few years, shaped the event into what it is today. He moved off the stage and into a precession to bring more energy and excitement. This was a driving force behind the two iterations of the Carnival merging – and why today it epitomises West Indian carnival culture.

The fair continued annually and by the late 1970s it was undeniably Caribbean, and only growing in popularity. In the 10 years after its inception, the Carnival progressed from two bands to a dozen and, after operating out of The Mangrove Restaurant for a time, it attracted sponsorships, introduced generators and sound systems, and the route was extended.

The origins of Notting Hill Carnival costumes

Most of these advancements were credited to Leslie Palmer, Notting Hill Carnival’s director from 1973 to 1975. Palmer encouraged bands, performers and attendees to wear traditional masquerade costumes, a Caribbean tradition that goes back hundreds of years. Enslaved Africans on the British and French West Indian plantations would hold their own festivities when their masters held masquerade balls for lent.

The enslaved would mimic the costumes worn by the Europeans as a way to mock them. After emancipation, these costumes became a symbol of freedom and cultural identity, traditions that survived over two centuries, made it back across the Atlantic with the Windrush Generation, all the way to Notting Hill. By the mid-1970s, the Notting Hill Carnival of today was beginning to take shape, but unfortunately, racist attitudes of the time would still have to be confronted.

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Racism, tension and clashes

The more West Indian the Notting Hill Carnival became, the more it seemed to spark racial tensions and be tarnished by riots. In reality, the Carnival was an easy and large-scale target for those who wanted to harass London’s Black British communities. The policing of the Carnival at this time was harsh and uncompromising. Media coverage was overwhelmingly negative and one-sided, often portraying the Carnival as menacing and attendees as troublemakers.

Notting Hill Carnival riots

Disproportionate coverage of confrontations at the Carnival put tensions on a knife edge every year. Huge numbers of police violently broke up the predominantly Black crowd in 1976, resulting in rioting and arrests. Whilst the violence did slowly diminish as the years went on, it wasn’t until 1987 that the approach to policing the Carnival softened in response to the clashes of that year.

For the first time in 54 years, the Carnival was forced to desert the streets of Notting Hill in 2020 and 2021 due to the Coronavirus pandemic. The organisers replaced in-person festivities with online events. However, the previous few years attracted around one million attendees, making it the largest street party in Europe. The tribute to Caribbean, African and Black diasporic culture has stayed true to its roots through its unmistakable sounds, colours and atmosphere.

The spectacle of the modern Carnival however has changed, its significance is now far beyond the cultural unity of the Notting Hill area. The Carnival is part of the identity of the UK’s Afro-Caribbean community, a symbol of their fight for equality, a huge event in the British calendar and a £93m contributor to the UK economy. The Notting Hill Carnival is one of many ways Black people have made a profound cultural impact on Britain, and perhaps the most fun.

In 2006, the festival was voted into the list of cultural icons of  England by the general public since its beginning in 1959. The success of the Notting Hill Carnival demonstrates the power that culture has in bridging gaps and easing tensions. The festival is held yearly in August during the Bank Holiday.

When Colombians elected their first leftist president ever on Sunday, they also elected the country’s first Black vice president: Francia Marquez, a single mother who worked as a maid before challenging international mining interests as a fiery environmentalist. Her victory marks a turning point in a country plagued by social inequalities and historically governed by conservative elites.

“It’s time to move from resistance to power,” the 40-year-old candidate would chant, raising her fist – with a smile.

Cachaça is to Brazil as tequila is to Mexico. Cachaça (pronounced Ka- sha-sa) was first produced in the early 1500s by Enslaved Africans working in sugar mills who created the cocktail by adding fruits such as lime to cachaça (a Brazilian rum made up of raw sugar cane) during their festivities shortly after the Portuguese had introduced cane, the crop that was central to the early development of their new colony.

Cartagena is a must-go city for international tourists in South America. With a rich history, culture, gastronomy and astonishing landscapes, this city can give offer the visitor a plentiful of joy and happiness making it one of the favorite destinations in the region. Besides its unique tourist attractions, Cartagena also holds historic figures that represent the Afro-Colombian people as a most. They are the Palenqueras and carry a very amazing trajectory. Their brightly coloured dresses earned them one of the most photographed icons of Cartagena.

Black people in Argentina have been treated as an invisible minority for a very long time even though they have had a huge influence on Argentina’s history. They played an integral role in shaping Argentina’s culture through their contributions in the field of dance, literature, and religion.

Portrayed as the whitest country in Latin America, the saying “Aqui no hay negros”—There are no Blacks here—has been very popular among Argentine citizens. Ironically, the key person in the fight for independence of Argentina in the 19th century was María Remedios del Valle, a Black Argentine woman

She was known as ‘La Madre de la Patria’— The Mother of the Homeland.

María Remedios del Valle was born in 1766— 90 years before the abolishment of slavery in Argentina— in the capital of the Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata. Although she was Black, she was born free. During her teens, she worked as a cook, but at the beginning of the wars, she found out that she could work as a nurse to help those who defended the city of Buenos Aires during the second English invasion in 1807.

She was enlisted in different battles and soon del Valle achieved the rank of captain of the liberation army due to her discipline, intelligence, courage and loyalty.

Del Valle lost her husband and two sons in combat and she sustained countless bullet and saber wounds on her body. In 1813 she was taken prisoner by the Spanish, who flogged her for nine days for helping patriot officers escape from the prison camp. Those scars lasted for the rest of her life.

She was able to escape and join the forces of Martín Miguel de Güemes and Juan Antonio Álvarez de Arenales, to once again fulfill a double role— soldier and nurse.

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Once the war of independence ended in 1817, the Black Argentine woman returned to the city of Buenos Aires where she found himself destitute. As the Argentine writer and historian Carlos Ibarguren reports, after the end of the war, María Remedios del Valle was a “forgotten heroine,” like many other soldiers. She was on the streets begging for money and eating leftover food in churches because she was not awarded the pension for her military career in the army and the loss of her husband and sons.

In 1827, after being recognized by one of the generals of the army who saw her begging for coins in the streets of the Buenos Aires, Argentina, he requested the Board of Representatives of the Province of Buenos Aires grant her a pension for services rendered to the country.

María Remedios del Valle returned to Buenos Aires. She died on November 8, 1847, without having received in life recognition for her collaboration in the Wars for Independence. Almost 200 years later, Law No. 26,852 was passed in her memory, which commemorates the National Day of Afro-Argentineans and Afro-Culture. A historic milestone in the path of visibility of the contributions of the Afro community in the construction of Argentina.

For almost 150 years, historians had not given her the place she deserved alongside those committed, brave heroes and heroines who put their entire lives at the service of the country.

Source: Travel Noire

Tremé is one of the oldest black neighborhoods in the United States’and is home to restaurants that have fueled the Civil Rights Movement and gone on to win James Beard Awards. In Tremé, you’ll find delicious New Orleans cuisine, landmarks with fascinating pasts and museums that help tell Tremé’s history.

Tremé was a plantation in the late 1700s. Hat maker and real estate developer Claude Tremé owned and subdivided this land, and in 1810 he sold it to the city of New Orleans. This new subdivision became home to several free persons of color and residents of European descent. This historic community is where many Enslaved obtained, bought, or bargained for their freedom were able to own property.

In the 1800s, the city designated a portion of land for free persons and black slaves to congregate, play music, and sell goods. This gathering place later became known as Congo Square.

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Tremé is also home to one of the oldest African-American Catholic parishes.

St. Augustine Church is located on the corner of Governor Nicholls and Henriette Delille streets and was created by free Blacks in 1841.

Resting next to one of the walls of the St. Augustine Church sits a metal cross made of thick chains, and smaller crosses are planted on the ground. This is known as the Tomb of the Unknown Slave ­– a landmark that commemorates the lives of slaves of African descent who died in New Orleans and were buried in unmarked graves.

Like many Black neighborhoods around the country, Tremé was ruined by the highway building boom in the 1950s and 1960s.  This was a time when city officials ruined neighborhoods they considered to be “slum areas” to make space for highways.

With the federal government backing a majority of these projects at the time, these “urban renewal” projects displaced more than 1 million Americans, many of whom were reportedlylow-income minorities, including in New Orleans.

When Interstate 10 was built in New Orleans, the elevated expressway project wiped off many businesses in the Tremé neighborhood. Despite that, Tremé is still one of the most vibrant neighborhoods in the city that holds some of the best Creole architecture in the city.

There are two cultural museums, the Backstreet Cultural Museum, which guides guests on a journey of Black contributions made to the City of New Orleans, as well as the Tremé’s Petit Jazz Museum.

Tremé was also one of the first 26 sites designated on the state’s Louisiana African American Heritage Trail.