Black History Month - Brief History and Overview of why its important
Black History Month, from a week long event to a month long event originating in the United States in 1976 when president Gerald Ford extended the recognition to honor the too often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans throughout history (National Geographic Kids). In the UK Black History Month didn’t become an official event until 1987 when activist Akyaaba Addair-Sebo organised it who at the time was a coordinator for special projects for Greater London Council (Awareness Days). Starting from London celebrations spread across the UK to the now annual month long event we know today as Black History Month in the month of October in the UK.
Stemming from the American creators with a focus on black history specifically in America, across the pond over in the UK for example with a focus on events such as the Windrush generation who were Caribbean settlers who came to the UK 70 years ago (History).
Created with a focus on the contributions of African Americans to the US (National Geographic Kids). The main aim of BHM (Black History Month), is to celebrate the achievements and contributions of people from African and Caribbean heritage (History) not just in the UK but throughout the world, educating on black history (Awareness Days) inspiring future generations.
Focusing on the UK, for example in most schools with the history curriculum there has been a focus on traditional events highlighting the achievements of white figureheads, BHM brings opportunity to educate, share and celebrate the impact of black heritage and culture within the UK (BBC News). For example October 2021 a new campaign for BHM was released on social media encouraging people to share what they are proud to be (Guardian). Following last year's events such as the death of George Floyd in May 2020 there has been an increased awareness of the need to learn more about the effects of racism and challenging negative stereotypes (BBC News). Following the Black Lives Matter Protests in 2020 there has been a renewed focus on Black British resistance to racism celebrating key figures who have made substantial contributions to the country (Guardian). For example prominent figure Lewis Hamilton a Black British high profile competitor in Formula 1 racing and the only black driver (BBC News). In schools special classes and celebrations are carried out educating the youth, museums and art galleries have special exhibitions, African and Caribbean societies at universities put on events and informed lectures (Awareness Days) all centered around the main aim of BHM, educating and celebrating the contributions of Black People to the country.
BHM acts as a reminder of the rich and diverse cultural heritage the UK has (History), and we should continue to learn from our history in order to continue to educate and inspire long into the future. Black is beautiful.
Happy Black History Month.
If you would like to learn more about Black History and find out more information on events taking place across the UK this can be found on the https://www.blackhistorymonth.org.uk/ website.
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