Express & Star

Black Country flag row: Apology demanded when historian visits

The man who branded the Black Country flag 'offensive' because of the connection between chains and slavery has been urged to apologise when he visits the area next week.


Historian Patrick Vernon is coming as part of Black History Month to give a talk on the Windrush Generation of Caribbean migrants.

And he is facing calls to spend time finding out more about the Black Country's industrial history while he is visiting from London.

The Wolverhampton born campaigner sparked fury in July when he branded the flag, which was designed by a 12-year-old schoolgirl to celebrate the Black Country's industrial heritage, as insensitive.

Mr Vernon, who faced calls to hand back his OBE after sparking the row, will host two events.

On October 10 he will give a talk on the Windrush generation at Wolverhampton Art Gallery, before presenting a film about the life of Jamaican Second World War pilot Eddie Martin Noble at the Light House Media Centre the same day.

The arrival of the SS Empire Windrush in 1948 was the beginning of post-war mass migration.

UKIP MEP Bill Etheridge said: "I welcome the talk about the Windrush generation and while he is here perhaps Mr Vernon can take the opportunity to learn more about Black Country history and understand the real relevance of the chain to the flag.

"It would not be amiss for him to apologise for the offence he caused."

Ian Austin, Labour MP for Dudley North, said: "Perhaps while he is in the Black Country Patrick Vernon will see the deep sense of pride that people from all backgrounds have and see how this region lit the spark that fired the industrial revolution."

Mr Vernon, aged 54, and who grew up in All Saints said: "I have no other additional comments about the Black Country flag. I am doing a talk on the Windrush Generation and the Caribbean contribution to the Second World War.

"I am very familiar with the Black Country industrial heritage and history. However, if local people wish to learn more about the slave trade and its links with the Black Country I would encourage them to visit the various archives and museums in Dudley, Sandwell and Wolverhampton."

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