Albert Adomah has no doubt about the most significant date in his black history – March 6th, 1957.
That was the day that Ghana gained independence from Britain to become the first sub-Saharan nation to break free from colonial rule and united the Gold Coast, Ashanti, the Northern Territories, and British Togoland as one single country.
By the time Adomah was born in 1987 Ghana had been independent for 30 years but he never forgot his heritage, going on to make 19 appearances for the country between 2011 and 2018.
Former City players Jojo Wollacott and Antoine Semenyo followed a similar path to play for the Black Stars, while City’s current Head of Strength and Conditioning Derek Bonsu works with the national team.
Adomah reflects on the black history he was taught when he lived in Ghana and London, saying: “I suppose what you learn about black history depends where you are from. When I was living in Ghana we learnt about the leaders who fought for our independence. That’s what I remember growing up and now Ghana has been independent or 66 years.
“Going to school in the UK we learnt about African-American history and names like Rosa Parks and Muhammad Ali. But we didn’t really hear a lot of black names from the UK – who were the leaders or who was the black people that paved the way here?”
The winger who grew up in Lambeth, London, arrived at Ashton Gate in the summer of 2010 from Barnet, signing a three-year deal which saw him make 136 City appearances and score 17 goals.
After leaving City the winger would go on to represent Middlesborough, Aston Villa, Nottingham Forest, Cardiff City and Queens Park Rangers where he still plays today.
Now 35 and with three children of his own, Adomah believes it’s important to celebrate black history, saying: “It’s important so people can know who paved the way for black people, whether it’s a woman or man, who stood up for something that they believe in strongly. For example, my children will probably know about Nelson Mandela soon and what he did in South Africa and how he went to jail for what he believed in.”
For Adomah the role models were closer to home, his father and brother who also played football, and strikers such as Andy Cole, Dwight Yorke, Paul Furlong, Patrick Agyemang and Junior Agogo though he stresses it was more about them being goal-scorers rather than their colour.
“I didn’t see colour in that sense – I just wanted to score goals like them!” said Adomah. “All I can say is ‘be yourself’, whether you are black, white or mixed. Others can show you the way and be role-models but I say to young people ‘it’s about hard work and commitment and ultimately down to you’.”