Leeds Kirkgate Market transformed into 'human library' as speakers share moving stories for Black History Month event

Human books sitting behind jumbo-sized frames told their stories of inequality, unconscious bias, racial injustice and mental health struggles during an event in Leeds this weekend.

Wednesday, 3rd November 2021, 3:37 pm

Rounding off Black History Month celebrations, the event, titled Never Judge a Book by its Colour, took place at Kirkgate Market on Saturday.

A selection of speakers were invited to tell their lived experiences to 'book borrowers', encouraging one-on-one conversations in the hope of breaking down cultural differences and dispelling stereotypes.

There were craft activities, as well as an array of African and Caribbean cuisine, light entertainment and a Black History pop-up exhibition.

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The event's organiser, Dionne Edwards, right, listening to the story of Sharon Hamilton (Photo: Steve Riding)

The event was organised by Nubian Noire, a not-for-profit organisation that works to support BAME businesses and entrepreneurs, with Leeds business Imageco installing the library set-up.

Its founder, Dionne Edwards, told her own story of racial discrimination that she suffered in a previous job and was moved to tears by a heartfelt conversation with her book borrower.

"The crowd was vibrant and lots of people were asking questions," Dionne said.

"The aim was to ignite and build inter-cultural relationships and challenge unconscious bias, getting authentic stories from authentic people - told in their own words, to dispel stereotypes.

Dionne told her own story of racial discrimination that she suffered in a previous job (Photo: Steve Riding)

"We had new entrepreneurs selling Caribbean cuisine, they ran out of stock and had to get some more!

"We pulled off a successful event and we're really happy with how it went."

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The event was organised by Nubian Noire, a not-for-profit organisation that works to support BAME businesses and entrepreneurs (Photo: Steve Riding)