Discover what Black History Month is for – and why it matters…
When Did It Start?
Black History Month first started in the USA in 1976 where it’s also sometimes known as African American History Month. It’s observed in February in the US – you may have seen many of your favourite American celebrities sharing content on their socials to mark the occasion. In the UK, we honour Black History Month for the whole of October.
Why Is It Important?
Black History Month is a time to remember, honour and recognise the valuable and important contributions African and Caribbean people have made for centuries. Much of the history we learn at school focuses on important white people in history – Black History Month shifts the focus to black history, culture and heritage.
Black History Month is also a chance to focus on the issues black people still face today. There is never space or a place in this world for racist abuse. Sadly, there have been many horrendous and completely unacceptable acts of racism raging across the globe and many people are in pain and afraid for their own safety. We want our Hidden Strength community to know we stand against racism, and we promise to create an inclusive, safe space for all.
No-one in our community should ever feel afraid, sad or targeted because of the colour of their skin. That’s why we’re dedicated to stamping out racism. We ask our community to do the same – to call out racist comments or bullying wherever they see it, to report and block racist accounts and comments, and to give compassion, kindness and support for anyone who is suffering racial abuse. Together, we can unite and show the world that our Hidden Strength is love.
How Is Black History Month Celebrated?
Many museums, schools and places of education will celebrate Black History Month by shining a light on key black figures throughout history, such as John Edmonstone (1793-1822). John, a freed slave, became a scientist who went on to teach Charles Darwin at Edinburgh University. Sir Learie Constantine (1901-1971) became the UK’s first black peer, meaning he could sit in the House of Lords and debate important political issues.
In more recent history, there are icons like Lewis Hamilton, Sir Trevor McDonald, Lennox Lewis and Diane Abbott, all of whom have fought racial prejudices and made ground-breaking changes to the world of sport, politics and journalism.
This year’s theme is ‘Proud To Be’ – a campaign to encourage brown and black people to share what they are proud to be. To read more about how you can get involved and to find Black History Month events happening in your local area, click here.