WE'VE BUILT THE STATUE, NOW WE'RE TELLING THE STORY
Jack Leslie Campaign: A review of Black History Month 2022
We believe that it is important to acknowledge black history every month, but nonetheless we are always happy to present a range of activities for Black History Month in October each year, and 2022 was no different!
With October out the way, you can still book us for in-person or or ”virtual” presentations -for schools, companies, football clubs, associations, businesses or other organisations. Contact us for bookings -contact details here.
We love telling the Jack Leslie story, and ensure that it is relevant to contemporary issues. The reason we do this is to fulfil our objectives to share jack’s story, celebrate diversity and combat racism:
You can read about our previous BHM presentations in 2020 here and in 2021 here !
REVIEW OF Black History Month 2022
1 Jack Leslie Campaign at Wembley
In the build-up to Black History Month we attendied Wembley stadium on 26th September for the England International, where Jack’s granddaughters were special guests of the FA. We were talking about Jack’s story and his England call-up, at a game where there was a special tribute to black football pioneers Benjamin Odeje and John Charles, both of whom played for England at school-boy or under 18 level. (1)
2 Sport In Words
We kicked off the month with our role in a spectacular feature with BT Sports called Sport In Words, compered by Benjamin Zephaniah (pictured below with Jack Leslie’s granddaughters) and Jacqueline Shepherd.
Different spoken word artists performed pieces about black sporting legends and pioneers, and Big Scoop performed a piece about Jack Leslie…..
3 Black History Came to Life: the statue unveiling
Our biggest event for Black History Month happened on the 7th October- the unveiling of the Jack Leslie statue at Home Park stadium- history being made as well as commemorated- detailed here: https://jackleslie.co.uk/news/the-unveiling/
4 Schools and education
We delivered presentations at a number of schools, both on-line and in person, including Holy Cross and St Andrews Primary schools in Plymouth, Ashmount school in London
We also did a presentation for the Student Union at the University of Plymouth (pictured below)
We have a number of bespoke options to make an informative and enjoyable presentation to help those companies who are interested.
(1) Benjamin Odeje attended the game at Wembley as part of a wider plan from the FA to host a table of trailblazers who have a special place in the history of black footballers. We met with the Chief Executive of the FA, and later had confirmation that the Association will be awarding a honorary posthumous cap to Jack’s family!
For Black History Month, BT Sports broadcast a programme in October 2022 featuring Spoken Word Artists performing pieces about black sporting icons.
One of the Artists -Big Scoop- did a piece (called ”Unsung Hero”) about Jack Leslie- and Jack’s grand-daughters were in the invited audience to hear the debut performance.
Big Scoop’s performance that night is available here.
The Jack Leslie Campaign and Jack’s family were so amazed and delighted, they invited Big Scoop to perform as special guest at the unveiling ceremony– and Big Scoop accepted, travelling from London on his first ever trip to Plymouth to wow the crowds from the stage outside Argyle’s stadium at Home Park. His performance was also live-streamed, and can still be seen on you-tube here. (at 31 mins 45 secs in)
You can follow Big Scoop on twitter @BigScoop_ and on Insta
Now Big Scoop has provided us with the words from his piece, reproduced below with his kind permission.
UNSUNG HERO. Words by Big Scoop
Now a lot of you may not know who this is so all I ask is please just try and hear,
Coz I may not be an speakers salesman but I’m putting you on to a pioneer.
This man excelled in the world of football which took his team to a higher tier
In a sense he held back but still showed when you stay grounded your gonna take of like Ryan Air,
In 1901 he was born in canning Town and his first team was barking,
He knew how to score had pace and was wizard at passing,
As a defender you couldnt day dream coz he was a night mare marking,
I mean this man was no joke but if he was on your team you was laughing.
And when he left barking he had silverware but he was just getting started,
You could say that he came from the mud coz right there where the seed was planted,
He wasn’t just known for his skill
But when he joined Plymouth argyle thats seed uprooted and we saw him grow on the field.
At Plymouth argyle a star was born
A black professional footballer in those days wasn’t the norm,
In truth he was the only one and that fact just can’t be ignored,
He played in the 1920,s and that fact still has me floored,
he took his window of oppurtunity and used it open doors.
In 1925 he got that England call and im sure he was loving the fact
But what should be a joyous occasion was about to be taken back,
His name would soon dissappear from records and the irony is he never heard Jack
But we’re talking the 1920s he got denied coz he was black,
And the truth is he could of called a wrap
But he chose to stay in his lane and keep his carrer on track,
This man is a unsung hero, who’s life had such a impact
And for that I take my hat off too him coz he really should of been capped.
but he still left his mark and showed his world class pedigree,
He retired a legend at Plymouth argyle it was there he created a legacy,
And the one thing testament to that fact is the board room is now named in his memory.
This is a man that needs to be recognised
But let his legacy be a reminder that race should never be weaponised,
He played in a time before broadcasting but since then the revolutions been televised.
On 7th October 2022 the Jack Leslie statue was revealed in front of a crowd of hundreds at Home Park stadium, Plymouth, and live-streamed* to the world. The event was a brilliant occasion covered by national and local media, including this BBC feature, and later on the One Show (21:45 mins in)
Jack’s granddaughters Lesley, Lyn, and Gill, who have been so warm, gracious, supportive, and stoic, unveiled the statue. It was an emotional day, topped by news from the FA that Jack is to be awarded a posthumous honorary cap. The campaign Co-founders Matt Tiller and Greg Foxsmith were joined on stage by sculptor Andy Edwards and Argyle legend Ronnie Mauge whose words and support meant a huge amount to us all. Spoken word artist Big Scoop performed his moving poem about Jack which went down a storm.
In the crowd were Argyle legends including Dwight Marshall, Mike Trebilcock, Rommy Bocu, Kevin Hodges and Chris Harrison, as well as the current Argyle men’s team (with manager Stephen Schumacher) and women’s team (including our sponsored player Tiana Campbell). In addition we were joined by representatives from Barking FC and West Ham United (including Carlton Cole)-see their film of the occasion here.
*Argyle TV live streamed the event and you can watch it back here (starts at 10:45)…