About Black History Month
First celebrated in 1987, the event aims to explore African and Caribbean culture and history across the nation, from the Black communities that were present in Britain thousands of years ago, to the Black servicemen that aided the UK during the Second World War and the Windrush generation that arrived after them.
After visiting America in the 1970s, Ghanaian-born Akyaaba Addai Sebo, a special projects officer at the Greater London Council, founded the UK's version of Black History Month in 1987.
There are two reasons thought to be behind why Black History Month is celebrated in October in the UK.
Traditionally, October is when African chiefs and leaders gather to settle their differences, so Akyaaba chose this month to reconnect with African roots.
Additionally, many thought that since it was the beginning of the new academic year, October would give black children a sense of pride and identity.
Th Aim of Black History Month
The intention behind Black History Month is to celebrate the contributions of Black heritage and culture to UK society as well to expand our understanding of Black history in the UK.
Black history in the UK is often met with the common misconception that Black communities have only played a part in British history since the 1940s and the arrival of the Windrush generation, but this is untrue.
Black history has been a fundamental part of British history for thousands of years, with Black communities being present in the UK since at least 1500. But despite Black communities playing a vital and extensive role in the history of the UK, many believe that this is still often overlooked, particularly in the education system, which has been criticised for a curriculum that focuses strongly on the events of white figures in history and where Black history is underrepresented.
Black History Month provides the opportunity to learn, share and celebrate the importance and impact of the Black heritage and culture that can be overlooked.