Black History Month is a favorite of ours to celebrate here at EBV and this month we wanted to focus on Black excellence. Often in the classroom, there can be a cacophony of repeated stories that reflect very little of our history beyond a specific date or time. The truth is Black history happens every single day! It is important to recognize the stories of the everyday icons who have made incredible contributions to the UK and the world. We hope that these stories of resilience, courage, and determination will continue to inspire future generations. Thus, this Black History Month we wanted to reflect upon the history behind the month as well as shed light on some amazing people.
So While the founder of Black History Month may have started earlier in the U.S., what events led to this being celebrated in the United Kingdom?
This all began with a refugee from Ghana named Akyaaba Addai-Sebo, who came to the UK and recognized this very heartbreaking reality of Black children in the U.K. not wanting to own their identity as Black. This crisis led to Race awareness campaigns and eventually, the moth being implemented in educational systems. The first Black History Month in the UK took place in 1987, the 150th anniversary of the abolition of slavery in the Caribbean.
This month was chosen because the main group Black History Month focused on was instilling a sense of pride in young Black children. October is the perfect month, just a few weeks into the school year and the weather is still quite nice… young children would be engaged in learning and have the chance to see themselves represented in history.
The Civil Rights Movement, slavery, and Black Lives Matter - all of these aspects of the Black experience are often discussed in schools, but rarely does Black history take center stage. In contrast to the typical focus on Black pain and trauma, today we are focusing on Black joy in the U.K. I have learned about a lot of amazing, up-and-coming activists, artists, and poets. We wanted to recognize incredible Black people whose names might not be well known.
Suli Breaks Spoken Word Artist/ Poet/ Writer/ Speaker
He is a London-based creative, whether telling stories, showcasing poetry, or writing, his work always seems to emphasize education, entrepreneurship, and storytelling. His best-known visual poem is “Why I hate school but love education”. Check out poems and more here
Anne-Marie Imafidon~ Computer scientist/Speaker/ Author/ Leader
At the age of 11, Dr Anne-Marie Imafidon passed her computing A-Level. By 20, she was one of the youngest to ever receive a Master’s Degree in Mathematics and Computer Science from the University of Oxford. She is now the CEO of Stemettes, a social initiative that promotes girls and women into STEM fields and careers as well as the author of “She’s in Ctrl: How Black Women Can Take Back Tech”
Lavinya Stennett~ Writer/Founder of The Black Curriculum
Only 22 years old, this impressive young woman has done quite a lot. Aside from her B.A. in African studies from SOAS University, she founded her organization with the goal of providing resources to teach Black history in schools all year round in an empowering way for young people. Get to know Lavinya.
A climate justice activist based in Edinburgh, Scotland, Loach was a medical student at the University of Edinburgh and has now become well known for her role in the climate crisis campaign. She is also the bestselling author of “It’s Not That Radical: Climate Action to transform our world”
These are just some of the countless, amazingly talented, intellectual, and unique Black creators and changemakers. Black history happens every day and should not be limited to just a few weeks in the year, but, rather, it should be celebrated through a lifelong journey of learning. We wish y’all an amazing Black history-filled year!