What is Black History Month?
Dr. Richard Dune
In the UK, October is Black History Month, a time to celebrate the contributions made by black people throughout history. Even though Black History Month might not be as well known to you and your friends as St Patrick's Day or Christmas, it offers an opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of individuals who shaped our society.
Throughout this article, you will learn more about Black History Month and gain a better understanding of its importance.
What is Black History Month?
Black History Month was first observed in 1926 as part of Negro History Week, a national effort to teach black history in American public schools. Black history became increasingly important as the Civil Rights Movement gained momentum and support in the 1960s.
The US Black History Month was officially established in 1976 by President Gerald Ford. Since then, every US president has recognised Black History Month in February. In addition to Canada and the United Kingdom, many other countries are also celebrating Black history.
Akyaaba Addai-Sebo and other local community activists launched Black History Month in the UK in 1987. In response to the festival, many cities and regions across the UK began to recognise October as Black History Month.
In recent years, Black History Month has embraced African, Asian, and Caribbean contributions to British history.
What is the theme this year?
Every year, Black History Month features a different theme. Making a difference through unity is the theme of this year's celebration. Black people often face the double burden of experiencing racism and discrimination and then being expected to fix them.
In celebration of Black History Month this year, let's go beyond black history, heritage, and culture. Now is the time for action, not words.
Why is Black History Month important?
A key objective of Black History Month is to raise awareness and appreciation of the contributions of black people to British society in all areas, including sports, politics, entertainment, science, and technology.
It is during this time that we discover forgotten heroes and events from our shared past that have been 'whitewashed'. We can plant seeds that will have a lasting effect both inside and outside black culture by raising awareness of these rich stories. By gaining an understanding of what many black people went through during slavery, we can see how far we have come since then.
Through learning about the past achievements of individuals who have had a profound impact on the world, young generations can be inspired to reach their full potential despite adversity.
How is Black History Month celebrated?
Individuals of African or Caribbean heritage are recognised for their achievements and contributions during Black History Month. Additionally, people will learn how racism affects people and how stereotypes can be challenged.
There was a strong focus on black American history during Black History Month's earliest years in the UK. There has been an increasing interest in black British history and key black figures from the UK in recent years. Museums, care homes, and workplaces also celebrate the month and discuss topics ranging from British colonial history to migration and music. In addition to food festivals, music workshops, and educational seminars, several events will be held across the country.
In order to mark Black History Month in their area, local organisations can apply for government funding. There are a number of organisations across the UK leading the celebrations, including the National Archives, Windrush Foundation, and 100 Great Black Britons.
Influential people who have influenced black history
Some of the most influential African American leaders who overcame adversity, faced challenges head-on, and fought for justice are listed below.
Dr Martin Luther King, Jr.
One of the most well-known civil rights leaders, Dr Martin Luther King, Jr., fought against racial inequality. His influence as a world leader was unsurpassed.
A civil rights activist in Alabama, Rosa Parks was the secretary of the Montgomery chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). She is most famous for refusing to give up her seat to a white passenger on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama, which led to the Montgomery Bus Boycott.
He is one of the most successful British athletes of all time. He announced his retirement from the sport in 2004, after winning 41 of his 44 professional fights against Ukrainian boxer Vitali Klitschko.
Born in England, he was the only black student at his school. Being black and English were sometimes seen as two very different things when he was a child. By becoming Bristol's first black social worker, he improved relations between black and white people.
She is the first African American woman to own a television production company. She has also founded and funded numerous non-profits that support, educate, and empower women and children.
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