BHM heroes

Black History MonthWho’s your hero of Black History Month this year? Visiting the Black History Month website provides us with a great number of inspiring figures and each year I find a few more, including some with links to our local area.

This year whilst looking through some biographies on the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (log in with your Westminster Libraries membership card number), I came across a very inspirational story about someone I’d never come across before: Clive Sullivan. I found him interesting not just because he was the first black player to lead a British national team in any major sport, or that he was such a brilliant rugby player; an amazing try scorer (for instance scoring this great one against, of all teams, Australia in the 1972 Rugby League World Cup). I felt his story was most extraordinary because he managed to make it as an incredibly successful professional in the sport despite having terrible injury problems (for example doctors told him at the age of 14 that he may never be able to walk properly). He spent much of his career Hull where he played for both their major teams and which has named a road after him.

On a sad note, October as well as being Black History Month is also the month that he died at the age of just 42. However, again inspiringly, I discovered that he must have kept playing even whilst suffering from liver cancer – he played his last game for Hull just six months before he died. It’s good to have an opportunity to look back and remember him and his achievements.

If you’d like to find your own BHM hero, take a look at the Black History Month website and the ODNB’s feature on Black Britons.

[Owen]

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