Films for Black History Month with Dr. Robert Beckford – 28 Oct 2010

To celebrate Black History Month we’ll be hosting a double bill screening of Robert Beckford’s Channel 4 documentaries, The Empire Pays Back and Great African Scandal. The films will be shown at The Bernie Grant Arts Centre on Thursday 28 October at 7.30pm, and will be followed by a Q&A with Dr. Robert Beckford. The event costs £5 (£3 conc) but is free to TPFF regular givers and annual donors of more than £60. Read on to find out more…

Dr. Robert Beckford

Dr. Robert Beckford is an academic and award winning broadcaster based in Birmingham. He has authored half-a-dozen books in the field of theology and culture and made over 20 documentaries for the BBC and Channel 4, averaging two films per year with Channel 4, becoming a regular fixture on the prime time television slots of Christmas Day and Easter Sunday.

The Empire Pays Back

“I believe African slaves were ripped off by the British Empire,” says Dr Robert Beckford at the outset of this documentary. “I want to know who bankrolled it, who insured it and who made a mint from it.”

Beckford believes that Britain should pay reparations to the descendants of slaves, and hires a team of experts to put a monetary figure on the amount owing. In the process, he details how institutions such as the Bank of England, Guys’ Hospital, HSBC, Barclays and the National Gallery all have slavery in their histories. The final figure put on the amount owing will shock!

Great African Scandal

In this thought-provoking documentary, made with the help of Christian Aid, Robert Beckford undertakes a challenging, emotional journey to Ghana in West Africa. This is where, two centuries ago, Robert Beckford’s ancestors were seized and taken as slaves to Jamaica. Now he is making a journey to the land of his roots to discover the hidden costs of rice, chocolate and gold.

Working alongside local people, Robert struggles to survive on the average wage of 60p a day. He asks why, 50 years after independence, this country, which is rich in minerals and is a stable democracy, is still one of the poorest in the world.

He examines the activities of multinational corporations, as well as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, to find out whether they have actually made countries like Ghana worse off. And, most importantly, he asks how we, as consumers and citizens, can make a difference.

Getting there

The Bernie Grant Arts Centre, Town Hall Approach Road, Tottenham Green, N15 4RX

Seven Sisters (Victoria Line): take Tottenham High Road exit 1, Tesco should be on your right hand side. Walk straight up the road and past CONEL (on left) turn left. Bernie Grant Arts Centre is just past the town hall and before the leisure centre and Marcus Garvey Library. It should take no more than 5 minutes to walk.

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Seven Sisters, Tottenham Hale

Off the A10, continue towards Seven Sisters Junction and then branch off to the left for Town Hall Approach.