Clichéd, perhaps: but the metaphor of history as a tapestry bears weight. Picture a rich panel of interwoven narratives, events, and symbols that come together to form a larger image of the world. And in the story of Walter Tull, a mixed heritage footballer and World War I army officer, we find one of these connecting threads between past, present, and future.
In a happy coincidence, my own discovery of Walter Tull’s story came during both Black History Month (marked each October in the UK) and my teaching of a World War I unit to a GCSE History class. It was an unmissable opportunity to open dialogues with my students on a number of fronts, and to encourage them to use history to reflect on today’s society.
Walter Tull: a life less ordinary