3 Important things to know… 1066 = crucial to English history as it marked the take over of English society by the French.Nanny de Maroon = (Maroon is a general term used to describe black slaves who escaped from slavery and lived in remote places within the areas they had been transported to.Nanny de Maroon led the maroons to victory in Jamaica against British rule.Dick Whittington = a poor boy with nothing but a cat who became Lord Mayor of London – mentioned in fairy tales and pantomimesLord Nelson = famous English admiral who inflicted a massive defeat on the French which meant the British Empire was strengthened.Touissant L’Ouverture = the black leader of the Haitian revolution against French Colonial rule. He abolished slavery in Haiti and turned it into an independent republicThe Battle of Waterloo 1815 = the final defeat of the French army led by Napoleon which made Britain a world super power
4 Shaka = an influential leader of the Zulu nation Shaka = an influential leader of the Zulu nation. He united the Zulu people against other tribes and the increasing presence of the white settlersRobin Hood = legendary English hero made famous from supposedly stealing from the rich to give to the poor.Mary Seacole was a Jamaican woman who looked after soldiers in the same way that Nightingale did – a black woman who made a unique contribution to our history but has been forgotten.Caribs and Arawaks = the original inhabitants of the West Indies at the time when Columbus ‘discovered’ the islands. They were killed off by the war or through exposure to European diseases that they had no immunity to.Crimean War = Russian Empire vs Britain, France and the Ottoman Empire. Lots of deaths occurred from fighting bit also from outbreaks of disease.Florence Nightingale = a famous British nurse. Famous for her work in the Crimean War and her innovations in hygiene.Old King Cole and The Cow Jumped Over the Moon = nursery rhymes
5 What do the following mean? Dem -Me -Bout -Dat -Lick back -De –See-far woman –-Them-My-About-That-Defeated-Of-A woman who has a vision of the future
6 Brief notes about the poem Agard is pointing out how in the English Curriculum students only seem to learn about white people because he believes it is written by white people for white peopleHe believes history in the English Curriculum deliberately leaves out information about black men and women who deserve more recognition
7 Stanza one… What’s the stanza about? These three words are used at the start of all the stanzas that rhymeDem tell meWha dem want to tell meAgard believes that if you control what people learn about the past, then you can control how people think and what they think about themselvesThe repetition highlights the control that white people have over history
8 Stanza two…The alliteration on ‘b’ at the start of these lines shows that Agard believes that information has been deliberately distorted and hiddenThe use of the ‘b’ creates an angry toneBandage up me eye with me own historyBlind me to me own identityThe use of non-standard English is used to show his own culture and background which he feels is not acknowledged by the English CurriculumWhat’s the stanza about?
9 Stanza three…This quatrain is repeated throughout the poem – in each one a different famous white figure is mentioned. Each quatrain usually ends with the mention of a black historical figure who isn’t taught aboutDem tell me bout 1066 and all datdem tell me bout Dick Whittington and he catBut Toussaint L’Ouvertureno dem never tell me bout datThe childish rhyme shows how he feels about what he has been told about the past – this is why he mentions characters from nursery rhymes and myth – he is mocking what he has been toldWhat’s the stanza about?
10 Stanza four…These longer verses serve to concentrate on someone famous in black historyToussainta slavewith visionlick blackNapoleanbattalionand first BlackRepublic bornToussaint de thornto de FrenchToussaint de beaconof de Haitian RevolutionThe lines are shorter and they are written in free verse – Agard is using an unconventional form to write about unconventional ideasWhat’s the stanza about?The mocking tone is not apparent in these sections. They are italicised so that they stand out visuallyThese section are filled with metaphor and positive imagery to convince the reader about how amazing these people areThe use of occasional rhyme in these sections is irregular
11 Stanza five…Note the lack of punctuation in the whole poem. Agarad is choosing to reject the rules of punctuation – the poem is therefore purposefully full of enjambment – this represents how he is rejecting white history tooDem tell me bout de man who discover de balloonand de cow who jump over de moonDem tell me bout de dish ran away with the spoonbut dem never tell me bout Nanny de maroonWhat’s the stanza about?
12 Stanza six… This language is unusual and original What’s the stanza about?Nannysee-far womanof mountain dreamfire-woman strugglehopeful streamto freedom riverThe metaphors create a positive image of NannyWhat do the metaphors suggest to you about Nanny de Maroon?
13 Stanza seven… What’s the stanza about? Dem tell me bout Lord Nelson andWaterloobut dem never tell me bout Shaka de great Zulu
14 Stanza eight… Dem tell me bout Columbus and 1492 but what happen to de Caribs and de Arawaks tooWhat’s the stanza about?
15 Stanza nine… What’s the stanza about? Dem tell me bout Florence Nightingale and she lampAnd how Robin Hood used to campDem tell me bout ole King Cole was a merry ole soulbut dem never tell me bout Mary Seacole
16 Stanza ten…This metaphor describes Mary Seacole in a positive light – a yellow sunrise is full of hope and promise for the dyingFrom Jamaicashe travel farto the Crimean Warshe volunteer to goand even when de British said noshe still brave the Russian snowa healing staramong the woundeda yellow sunriseto the dyingWhat’s the stanza about?
17 Stanza eleven…The repetition of ‘dem tell me’ could represent how Agard felt nagged when he was at schoolWhat’s the stanza about?Dem tellDem tell me wha dem want to tell meBut now I checking out me own historyI carving out me identityNow that he knows about Toussaint; Nanny de Maroon and Mary Seacole he feels he is able to understand something about the culture he comes fromHere the second line highlights how angry Agard is
18 The poem… Is cleverly constructed to reclaim black identity Makes the reader aware that British history is only a point of viewIntroduces the reader to famous black peopleReminds us that whoever controls the past, controls the present
19 The poem…Cleverly uses two types of stanza to show the differences between ‘official’ and ‘non-official’ historyShows that without a history and without a distinctive voice we may have no identity
20 Stanza two… Bandage up me eye with me own history Blind me to me own identity
21 Stanza two… Bandage up me eye with me own history Blind me to me own identity