UK Black History Month at a Glance: What’s in Store Near You
October brings a special focus to our mission at MoSaF, as the country honours the legacy of Black men and women throughout time. UK Black History Month is here, and with this year’s theme being ‘action not words’, we’ve picked out some unmissable events, so you can get involved wherever you are.
Black History Month celebrates the huge contribution of the Black community over the centuries. UCL’s Dr Victoria Showunmi will be discussing how silence harms future generations. Hear her speak at Oxford University’s Black History Month Lecture on the 20th October. If you’re Bristol-based, join Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng and the Rt Hon Lord Boateng on the 5th, as they seek to understand the links between hidden histories and contemporary racism.
There’s no better way to engage with these histories than to walk in the footsteps of figures from the past. At MoSaF, we shed light on the significance of Deptford to the transatlantic slave trade and the abolitionist movement – join us for an eye-opening historical tour of the area on the 15th. These free walks are part of the Greater London Authority programme – helping Londoners learn about the areas they live in – and if you can’t make the October heritage walk, you can catch the next ones on the 6th and 19th of December and into 2023. If you’re a little further east, take a step back in time in Norwich on the 7th October, on a walking tour that illuminates the contribution of Black individuals to the city’s history.
Many influential historic figures have been overlooked in mainstream histories. So, while you’re uncovering forgotten stories, join Pamela Roberts as she details the remarkable life of Kent’s Black Edwardian priest, James Arthur Harley, in Canterbury on the 11th. Further north, in Stirling, The Smith Art Gallery’s Black History Month series explores the portrayal of race in Victorian Britain. Book tickets for the 7th or 21st to learn about the three unnamed Black sitters in Thomas Stuart Smith’s paintings.
The existence of a racially diverse Britain pre-Windrush is under-appreciated. ‘The Voices of Black Folk’ stage production highlights the experiences of Black individuals in the British Isles from the Roman conquest onwards. Watch it in Leicester on the 27th and 28th, then continue the theatrical theme with a dramatic reimagining of the true story of two African women in the 16th-century royal Scottish court. See how the tale unfolds at ‘James IV – Queen of the Fight’ in Aberdeen from the 26th to the 29th.
Finally, celebrate Black History Month by diving into the UK’s rich African culture, woven into the fabric of British life over centuries. Introduce little ones to the mischievous spider we can’t help but love in ‘Grandad Anansi’ on the 12th in Oldham. If you’re in London on the 8th, be dazzled at Africa Fashion Week – featuring catwalks, talks, and demonstrations. And on the 15th, delve into the beauty and historic significance of natural hair, from plaits to cornrows to dreads, at the Curlytreats Festival in Hammersmith.
There’s so much going on this October for Black History Month, and you can find a calendar of many more special events taking place over the next 31 days on the Black History Month website. Behind the festivities is a serious mission: furthering the continued fight for racial equality in the UK. Recognising the long and vibrant contribution of Black men and women to Britain’s story is one way to help future generations feel represented, included, and inspired.
Addressing this lack of recognition and education surrounding Black history is at the very heart of what we’re campaigning for at MoSaF. So, join us this Black History Month as we celebrate the cultural diversity that’s always existed in the UK and amplify Black voices from across the ages.
Ready to get involved? Register for the MoSaF heritage walk on October 15th 2022 here. It’s free!
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