Jeremy Corbyn in Bristol today to mark Black History Month by hailing Bristol hero Paul Stephenson

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Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn will be in Bristol today (Thursday, October 11) to mark Black History Month.

Corbyn and Shadow Cabinet Minister for Women and Equalities, Dawn Butler, will meet and pay tribute to Bristol civil rights activist Paul Stephenson and visit the 'Alone with Empire' film installation at the Vestibule Art Space at Bristol City Hall, which is focused on understanding the history and legacy of colonialism.

In a speech, Corbyn is expected to call for Black British history to be taught in schools, as well as the history of the British Empire, colonialism and the slavery.

The 69-year-old is also expected to hail Paul Stephenson - the civil rights activist who played a key role in infamous anti-discrimination Bristol Bus Boycott in the early 1960s.

Paul Stephenson

Paul Stephenson founded the West Indian Development Council to campaign against racism in Bristol in response to the ‘colour bar’ on employing Black and Asian people on Bristol’s buses in 1963.

The bus boycott was supported by local MP Tony Benn and Labour leader Harold Wilson, who passed the Race Relations Act in 1965 outlawing discrimination on the grounds of colour, race, ethnic or national origins.

Mr Corbyn in expected to emphasise the importance of the stories of Black British heroes and heroines, and role models such as Paul Stephenson, Walter Tull and Mary Seacole, who campaigned for racial equality in Britain.

Jeremy Corbyn will also outline Labour’s plans to support a new Emancipation Educational Trust, aimed at educating future generations about slavery and the struggle for emancipation.

Peros bridge was named as a reminder of Bristol's historic association with the slave trade. This month celebrates the culture and history of black and ethnic minorities who have fought to make the city a more equal and inclusive place.

Labour says the trust would 'tell the story of how slavery interrupted a rich African and black history' by delivering school programmes, organising visits to historical sites, as well as focusing on African civilisation before colonisation, the resilience and sacrifice of those enslaved and the struggle for liberation.

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“Black history is British history, and it should not be confined to a single month each year. It is vital that future generations understand the role that Black Britons have played in our country’s history and the struggle for racial equality," said Mr Corbyn in announcing his plans.

“In the light of the Windrush scandal, Black History month has taken on a renewed significance and it is more important now than ever that we learn and understand as a society the role and legacy of the British Empire, colonisation and slavery.

“Black History month is a crucial chance to celebrate the immense contribution of Black Britons to this country, to reflect on our common history and ensure that such grave injustices can never happen again.

“That’s why the story of Paul Stephenson and the Bristol Bus Boycott is such an inspirational reminder that our rights are hard-won, not given – and of the fantastic example set by so many Black Britons."

He added: “Paul is a true British hero and his story should be as widely known as Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott. It was the bravery and determination of people like Paul, standing up against injustice, that paved the way for the first Race Relations Act and the outlawing of such discrimination in our country.”

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