A University of Sunderland professor has teamed up with students and graduates to launch a new app to shed light on the city’s Black History.

Sunderland Black History Walk is a geolocation app that offers a guided walk through the city, marking points that offer insights into its historical ties to enslavement, anti-enslavement and anti-racism.

The app has been developed by Professor Angela Smith with Dr Michael Pearce as part of Project North Star, an initiative that brings together teachers, academics and educational consultants from around the region to increase knowledge about Black History.

The project also includes voiceovers from graduates Endurance Idowu and Godstime David as well as an illustrative map produced by student Sara Heraoua, who studies Illustration at the University.

Endurance, who studied MA Radio, Audio and Podcasting, said: “I’m always passionate about bringing to light stories that are not widely known, especially Afrocentric stories.

“When Angela reached out to me to get involved in a project, I knew the best way I could contribute was by lending my voice to the script for the app.

“It was truly interesting because, in addition to using my voice, I was learning about the Black history of Sunderland—something I wasn’t aware of before.

“I knew Sunderland was becoming a cosmopolitan city, but I never realized its history of diversity ran deeper than what is visible today.

“It was so important to get involved with this project because, as much as the world is gradually becoming a global village and Sunderland itself is becoming more diversified and inclusive, sometimes people in the Black community can feel lost in the midst of everything.

“It’s important to know that these historical sites once existed and to recognize the efforts made to help people see beyond skin colour.

“These sites are now being celebrated, and it was essential for me to contribute my own little part to the journey that started decades and centuries ago.

“It was a privilege and an honour to get involved in a project that brings to the fore stories that might otherwise go extinct. I’m truly grateful for the opportunity to help preserve these important narratives.”

The app was launched with a special event at Hope Street Xchange which saw academics, historians and teachers from around the region share insights about Black History.

Angela Smith, Professor of Language and Culture at the University of Sunderland, said: “The global attention to issues of racial equality that were highlighted by the murder of George Floyd in 2020 inspired us to think more about the history and heritage of Black and minoritised people in Sunderland.

“Very little had been written about Sunderland’s history in this respect, so the Black History Walk emerged following our research into this.

“Making this accessible to more people also led to it developed into a geolocation app that is free to download and free to use.

“Through this, we hope to show that there is a very long history of minoritised people in Sunderland, and a concurrent anti-racism activism that remains strong to this day.”

If you want to find out more about Sunderland’s Black History, download the app here: https://explore.echoes.xyz/collections/3BNqcoWjCV2ChbkJ