October marks Black History Month in the UK. The event was first recognized in the UK in 1987. This week, we will take a look at its significance in the UK.
Known as the ‘Father of Black History, Carter G Woodson was the son of a former slave. Though opportunity was limited, he worked as a coal miner to save money and attend high school. He gained impressive qualifications, including a Ph.D. from Harvard University. In February 1926, he sent out a press release that signaled the first-ever Black History Month in the US.
Black History was first celebrated in the UK in 1987. It was organized by Ghanaian analyst Akyaaba Addai-Sebo, who invited Dr. Maulana Karenga from the US to celebrate the contributions of Black people throughout history. Addai-Sebo drew up a plan to coordinate with other London boroughs to mark the first Black History Month in the UK.
When it started in the UK, there was a heavy focus on American history. Over time, there has been more attention placed on Black British history and its notable figures.
It’s essential to engage with Black History Month for a multitude of reasons. Firstly, the month provides an opportunity to understand black histories, stories, and impact. Learning parts of history that omitted Black people’s role or success is knowledge is an essential part of knowledge to seek during Black History Month.
In addition, continued engagement with history is vital as it helps give context to the present. It contextualizes previous struggles with discrimination and racism and how we have come closer to equality and opponents – not without the sacrifice of black people who fought for change.
Black history is taught in schools and is celebrated in workplaces and museums. Government funding is available to local organizations to help put events together and celebrate.
Continuing to spread the legacy of icons such as Malcolm X and Maya Angelou is integral to Black History Month, but so is digging deeper to sing praises for heroes who have been forgotten in the history books. Having conversations about the unmissable role of Black people in our society and history is crucial as it allows time for key names to gain recognition and respect.
Throughout the course of this Black History Month, Mont Rose College will be continuing to celebrate cultural names and figures and their successes and aid in developing society into where we are today.