What is Black History Month?
Celebrated every October in the UK for more than 30 years, Black History Month is an annual celebration and commemoration of the history, achievements, and contributions of black people in the UK.
In 1987, Akyaaba Addai-Sebo, a Special Projects Officer at the Greater London Council developed the concept for the first official Black History event. His vision was to boost the self-esteem of Black children and young adults in the UK by educating them on the historical achievements of black people in the UK.
Since then, Black History Month has grown to the annual event we now know it as.
Why is Black History Month important?
Many people feel that the contributions of black Britons are often overlooked or ignored. Black History Month provides an opportunity to highlight those contributions and draw attention to the many ways that black people have contributed to the UK socially, politically, economically, and culturally.
The events of 2020, including the disproportionate effects of the pandemic on black people and the Black Lives Matter movement in the wake of George Floyd’s killing, has meant many people have discussed racism and its institutionalised place within society for the first time. The idea of providing a space for discussion, conversation, educating, and learning is an important aspect of Black History Month and is part of the process of working to dispel negative beliefs and stereotypes.
Importantly, Black History Month is a time to celebrate and share the culture of black people and inspire future generations.
How is Black History Month celebrated?
Typically, Black History Month is celebrated with an exciting calendar of events all across the country, including exhibitions, concerts, and talks. In light of the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, many events have adapted in accordance with social distancing guidelines and many have instead taken place virtually.
In Gloucestershire, the Gloucester History Festival have curated a collection of videos, talks, and an interactive map for Black History Month. This includes an exhibition of black photographers which you can view in person at Kings Square, Gloucester. You can explore the content that Gloucester History Festival has curated for Black History Month here.
Find out more
Mental Health Network and Black History Month – taking place on 5 November, Steve Gilbert OBE and Dr Shubulade Smith CBE will examine the current policy context for mental health in Black communities and a look towards the future as to what can be achieved.
BME Leaders Network – find out more about this important network, launched by NHS Confederation in March 2019