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History podcast shines light on inspirational black figures

Students take part in the History Podcast Project

During the year the SGS History department are making a series of podcasts which will be released at certain points throughout 2021-2022.

Each episode will be researched and recorded by people within the Stockport Grammar School community and each podcast will have a different theme that explores history not always taught in the classroom.

History Podcast Project

The focus of the first podcast was Black History Month and the theme was “They were an inspiration…”. Pupils were invited to research a person or event that was an inspiration and record their findings.

Student Hannah Cope spoke about how black people affected the music industry – reflecting on the jazz and rock and roll genres in particular. She was inspired by the story of Sister Rosetta Tharpe, an American singer, songwriter, guitarist and recording artist. The musician attained popularity in the 1930s and 1940s with her gospel recordings, characterised by a unique mixture of spiritual lyrics and electric guitar that was extremely important to the origins of rock and roll.

Mae Carol Jemison was the focus of Afaf Noor’s research. Mae is an American engineer, physician, and former NASA astronaut and she was the first black woman to travel into space when she served as a mission specialist aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour.

Joshua Bell and James Brace looked into the story of Jesse Owens. The American track and field athlete, whose real name was James Cleveland Owens, won four gold medals at the 1936 Olympic Games – a competition that took place in a Berlin which was under the rule of the Nazis.

Elinor Wise covered American blues singer Bessie Smith. Bessie was widely renowned during the Jazz Age and was the most popular female blues singer of the 1920s and 1930s.

American abolitionist and political activist Harriet Tubman was the centre of Lucy Thompson research. Born into slavery, Tubman escaped and made missions to rescue enslaved people using the network of antislavery activists and safe houses known as the Underground Railroad.

Finally, Tom Williams spoke about Mansa Musa, the ninth Mansa of the Mali Empire.

The 20 minute podcast can be accessed on Spotify and Anchor.

Head of History Mr Tom Leng said: “The aim of this project is to open the eyes of our students, and beyond, about different and diverse histories. Our aim is also to encourage independent research and investigation, as well as making some fantastic podcasts. We hope you enjoy!”

Black History Month window display

Upcoming podcasts will coincide with awareness days and months including LGBT History Month, International Women’s Day and South Asian Heritage History Month.