Black History Month
“Black History Month 2020 is a time for people to come together and hopefully learn lessons for the present and the future. It’s a time to honour the commitment to learning and standing united against racism. It’s a time to reclaim history and re-imagine how our shared history will be told in the future.”
October is Black History Month in the UK, an event that has been celebrated nationwide for more than 30 years.
The month was originally founded to recognise the contributions that people of African and Caribbean backgrounds have made to the UK over many generations.
Now, Black History Month has expanded to include the history of not just African and Caribbean people but black people in general.
What is Black History Month?
Founded by Akyaaba Addai-Sebo, the first Black History Month in the UK was celebrated in October 1987. He conceived it as “an annual celebration of the contributions of Africa, Africans and people of African descent to world civilisation from antiquity to the present”.
It took its cue from the established Black History Month that had taken place in the US every February since it was first adopted by staff and students at Kent State University in Ohio in 1970, and which had built into a national movement.
Its origins go back to 1926, when the second week in February was designated as a week to celebrate and discuss African-Americans’ contribution to history.
One of the key reasons for starting Black History Month in the UK was the under-representation of Black people in the mainstream British history taught in schools, and to ensure that the history and heritage of the African diaspora (the dispersion or spread of any people from their original homeland) was preserved and celebrated.