Black History Month is well and truly in full swing. And while you should celebrate Black history all year round, there are lots of events over the next few weeks to help celebrate, educate and explore the stories of remarkable Black people.
Black History Month is celebrated every October in the UK (and every February in the US) as a platform for Black people to celebrate their history, heritage and culture through different events and initiatives. The theme this year, which has been picked by Black History Month magazine is ‘Proud To Be’ and they’re encouraging everyone to celebrate on social media. They’ve also sent 500 resource packs to UK schools with information on key moments in Black British History and a wide variety of lesson plans. Here are a few other ways you can get involved.
1. Shop books of Black origin
A new bookshop is opening in Brighton this month, and it’s not just any old bookshop. Afrori is the first ever Black bookshop to open in the UK and its doors will be swinging open on the 26th. But if you can’t get down to the store to see it in action, all of the books are online. There’s everything from well-known greats like Zadie Smith, David Olusoga, Maya Angelou, and Chinua Achebe, to children’s books such as ‘Bold Women in Black History’ in the Little Leaders series.
2. Support Black-owned businesses
There are loads of ways to support Black-owned businesses including in your local area, in local markets and also online. The website Jamii is one such marketplace that brings together a curated selection of Black British businesses, with everything from jewellery and fashion to chutneys, crumpets and gins! You can buy straight online or become a Jamii member. The Jamii membership card, which costs £14.95, offers you up to 40% off products and events. Enjoy your spending spree!
3. Watch films that celebrate Black culture and history
Disney+ has a dedicated section on their streaming service to watch all films related to Black History Month. You can watch everything from real-life stories of Belle and Hidden Figures to The Help and Black Panther. There’s also a Black Lives Matter section on Netflix that also has a mixture of hard-hitting educational documentaries and inspiring fiction.
4. Listen to these podcasts
We’ve already made a neat round-up of the 10 best podcasts to listen to this month. They will make you question the history we were taught at school and offer inspirational talks from young black thought provokers. This is one way to better educate yourself on issues and questions that, in some cases, might be hard to swallow, through the tapestry of Black history, the untold narratives and the people making change.
5. Go to a series of events at libraries and museums around the city
Lots of big British Institutions are hosting an array of speakers and events to educate around and celebrate Black History Month. The British Library has a whole host of events planned both online and offline. Learn about influential figures throughout history including the British-Jamaican nurse Mary Seacole and Toussaint Louverture, dubbed the Black Spartacus. There’s also a whole host of events happening elsewhere, including at the Horniman Museum and a James Barnor exhibition at the Serpentine.
6. Donate to anti-racism charities
You can also donate money or time to causes that actually make a difference. There are so many charities that are looking to raise awareness and educate people around racism. Some of these include: Black Lives Matter, mental health charity Black Minds Matter, gender-related violence support centre Southall Black Sisters, or youth charity The Reach Out Project, the anti hate crime and discrimination charity Stop Hate UK; an organisation that celebrates African, Asian, Middle Eastern, Latin American and Caribbean-heritage LGBTQI+ people UK Black Pride.
7. Checkout other events around the city
From Hackney to Hillingdon, Black History Month has a whole directory of all the amazing events taking place this month. Whether it’s a small talk for children in a library, an educational book group or simply a big market stall, they’ll all be on this list!