Raising funds for a statue to honour the footballer denied an England cap in 1925, just because he was black.
Black History Month-a Review
It’s been a phenomenal month for The Jack Leslie Campaign, and we have been very busy throughout October, with a range of activities for Black History Month!
Of course our fund-raising continues, to enable us to deliver the best possible statue. However, the aims and objectives of the campaign have always included sharing the Jack Leslie story, and using that to challenge prejudice and discrimination. We will do that throughout the year, but here are some of the things we achieved this month:
We have partnered with the ACT to deliver an exciting educational project throughout schools in Devon – and will he happy to roll this out to other areas next year! Read more here.
The Box, Plymouth
We did some amazing work in Plymouth during half-term, in partnership with the stunning new museum “the Box” , led by our committee member Hayley Kemp and cartoonist Rob Bullen, with support from the amazing Hope FC – read more here!
We continue to engage with schools, presenting the Jack Leslie story as part of an assembly, sometimes in person for tier 1 areas but usually delivered remotely.
We present at corporate level, as a discussion platform for companies or organisations who are interested in engaging with black history. In October that included e.g. presentations with the CPS, the General Dental Council and Kingsley Napley solicitors. Our presentations are interactive, challenging but fun. Contact us for details!
To allow us to continue presenting the Jack Leslie story and interact with schools and organisations, we need specific funding, and are happy to work with organisations or companies interested in sponsoring our work. This month eg we were delighted to partner with they Football Supporters Association – see here. Commercial sponsors can be credited on our website and on the statue plinth, so for further details contact Greg or Matt by email.
For Black History Month Sky Sports were keen to cover the campaign and tell Jack’s story. Reporter, Jonathan Oakes, and his team did a fine job including interviews with Plymouth Argyle‘s Frank Nouble as well as Sol Campbell and Micah Richards with fantastic images from The Box and the brilliant children of Whitchurch Primary School. The film’s a great watch…
The wonderful photos were recently unearthed by archivist Stacey Anderson at Plymouth’s new museum/art space, The Box. Incredible to see pictures of Jack in action – the glass plates nearly went in a skip.
Educational activities take place at The Box this half-term week with Hope FC, an incredible football team attached to the charity that encourages social inclusion, campaign cartoonist Rob Bullen and curated by committee member, Hayley Kemp.
Most importantly the film showcased some of the educational work we are doing, with Greg talking to primary schoolchildren in Devon. They were attentive, enthusiastic and asked challenging questions.
The Jack Leslie Campaign hit its original fundraising target and has secured enough money to ensure there will be a statue of Jack Leslie outside Home Park. However, fundraising continues, as we seek to deliver the best possible statue.
In addition to installing a statue, the aims and objectives of the campaign include telling the Jack Leslie story, and using his story to challenge prejudice and discrimination. Although we are committed to those objectives throughout the year, there is no doubt that Black History Month (October) has triggered renewed interest in Jack Leslie and the Campaign. We set out below how we are responding to that interest.
Jack Leslie-part of black history
Jack Leslie played professional football in the 1920s/30s, and for much of that time was the only black player in the league and became, we believe, the first black footballer to captain a professional team (Plymouth Argyle).
Jack was the first black footballer to be selected to play for England (1925) but then denied his opportunity to play. He really is part of black history and is one of many figures whose story should have been recognised sooner. At last people are learning about figures like Jack Leslie who were significant in their time, who sufferered injustices and were later forgotten. And, although the treatment he received by the England selection committee would not happen today, racism in football persists. These are the type of issues that our campaign reflects and challenges.
We are happy to engage with schools presenting the Jack Leslie story as part of an assembly, delivered remotely.
We are able to present at corporate level, as a discussion platform for companies who are interested in engaging with black history month. We are booked for presentations with the Crown Prosecution Service, Environment Agency, and local businesses. Our presentations are interactive, and challenging but fun. Contact us for details!
For Football Clubs
There are still issues of discrimination and inequality throughout society and sport, from the professional level to grassroots. We are happy to engage with and present to football clubs.
To allow us to present the Jack Leslie story, and interact with schools and organisations, we need specific funding, and are happy to work with companies interested in sponsoring our work. Get in touch!
For further detail, contact:
Greg Foxsmith, email@example.com 07980846330
Matt Tiller, firstname.lastname@example.org 07887616408