Black and British – KQ4 – When so many Black people rushed to fight in the two world wars, why then is it only recently that their sacrifice has been properly recognised?

When so many Black people rushed to fight in the two world wars, why then is it only recently that their sacrifice has been properly recognised? The stories of Walter, Lilian and Ulric.

Following an introduction putting events in context, pupils work in groups to investigate the lives of three significant Black figures: Walter Tull (World War One), Lilian and Ulrich in World War Two. Their task is to come up with three things their individual’s story tells us about attitudes to Black people during the wars before attempting an ‘explanation builder’ giving the most important reasons why Black people’s contribution has only recently been recognised. The session ends with pupils creating their own blue plaque to commemorate one of the chosen individual’s achievements.

Learning objectives

  • Pupils grasp that there was a bar on Black soldiers fighting in the army in WW1 and can list the types of jobs they did;
  • they can explain why Walter Tull was an exception;
  • they grasp that bar on entry to the armed forces was less stringent in World War Two;
  • they understand that many joined the RAF;
  • they are aware of the promising recent trend to explore black history.

Learning sequence

Step 1

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