Thursday, November 10, 2011

Black London versus Black Paris

London is one of my favorite cities in the world. I was recently thinking about the riots that began there a few months ago and spread across the UK, similar to what happened in France in 2005. When the problems in London first started, I remember reading initial accounts on the Internet and wondering whether the underlying issue was race. It was only after concerted searching that I was able to discern that the inciting incident was the fatal shooting of a man of African descent.

This got me thinking about how little I know about black history and contemporary life in London. It also made me wonder whether African Americans who visit Europe visit London with the intent to explore the black experience there. In all the times that I have visited London, I only focused on black history and contemporary life once – and that was because I wanted to write an article about it.

Dr. King – 20th Century Martyr at Westminster Abbey
© Discover Paris!


Electric Avenue Market – Brixton
© Discover Paris


Plaque honoring C. L. R. James
© Discover Paris!


Chef Ashbell McElveen, former owner of Ashbell’s in Notting Hill
© Discover Paris!


In comparison, it seems that many (if not most) African Americans who visit Paris want to experience at least one aspect of black history and / or contemporary life here.

I admit that I may have a biased opinion on this issue because Entrée to Black Paris walks and activities are Discover Paris’ most popular service. But I have done some casual polling among clients and they agree that London does not draw African Americans the way that Paris does.

Do you think of London as a black heritage destination? Leave your comments in the space below. I’d love to get more opinions on this!

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1 comment:

Urbandoggs said...

I'd rather be in Paris :)