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Schools should teach more about British Empire and slave trade – Jeremy Corbyn

The Labour leader visited Bristol to mark Black History Month.

Learning about the legacy of the British Empire, colonialism and the slave trade makes communities stronger, Jeremy Corbyn has said.

The Labour leader is calling for schools to give pupils a greater awareness of the role played by black Britons in shaping the country’s history.

He has set out plans for an Emancipation Educational Trust aimed at educating future generations about slavery and the struggle to end the trade.

During a visit to Bristol – a city which grew rich off the back of the slave trade – Mr Corbyn said far more should be taught about the subject.

“I think we need to understand the history of empire, the treatment of black people across the empire and the enormous contribution made by the black community to this country,” Mr Corbyn said.

“The Windrush scandal in a sense has highlighted all of this. I think its important that all our children understand our collective history and that way we actually make communities stronger.”

Mr Corbyn met Paul Stephenson, a civil rights activist who played a central role in the Bristol bus boycott in 1963 aimed at overturning a ban on ethnic minorities working on the city’s buses.

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Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn during his visit to the Alone with Empire exhibition at City Hall in Bristol (Andrew Matthews/PA)

He viewed an installation entitled Alone with Empire at Bristol’s city hall, where he met Bristol West MP Thangam Debbonaire and councillor Asher Craig, the city’s deputy mayor.

The politician called for the British Empire, colonialism and the slave trade to be “more centre stage” in the curriculum.

When asked how a Labour government would enforce that change, Mr Corbyn replied: “We’re not keen on enforcing things on curricula, we’re more keen on encouraging people and promoting it.

“Let’s understand our history, let’s understand the brutality that went with it and let’s understand the immense bravery of people that spoke out against the slave trade at a time when the wealthiest in Britain were making a vast amount of money out of that trade and eventually Wilberforce’s bill was passed in parliament.”

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