Write a letter; pass a motion 2019
I/We am/are writing to you to express my/our grave concern over the school education programme of Mayflower 400, which appears to be presented on your website as now finalised. As the commencement date of the 28thNovember 2019 for Mayflower 400 Commemorations approaches, hardly anything of substance has been done to ensure that issues of colonialism and slavery in North America and the Caribbean are to be covered by teaching and subject guidance and educational materials.
As you will be aware, large scale land appropriation, war, slavery and slave trading are central not marginal issues to the teaching of British colonial history in the Americas.
Starting with the Plymouth Mayflower Museum in 2015, and continuing with documents posted on your website, the preparations for the Mayflower 400 commemorations are conspicuous by the absence of slavery and the Caribbean and the marginalisation of 300 years of colonial massacres and land grabbing. These omissions and acts of sanitisation, coupled with the misleading and obsessive focus on the ‘Pilgrim Fathers’, act to de-contextualise events. This is not what history education should be.
Though you have chosen to adopt the colonial narrative about the Mayflower journey for your education project, perhaps you are not aware of how controversial and excluding this approach is as you have also expressed a wish to have inclusive commemorations.
I/we am/are writing to you to propose that you suspend your education project as a matter of urgency, until the views and narratives of Indigenous American, African American, and Caribbean groups in relation to Mayflower are sought. I/we would be grateful if you could address our concerns.
Heather.Ogburn@plymouth.gov.uk; Tom.Cox@plymouth.gov.uk; Judith.Harwood@plymouth.gov.uk; firstname.lastname@example.org