Black History Month is celebrated in the UK every October, it originally started in the US in 1926 and came to the UK in 1987. Black History Month is aimed at celebrating the culture, origins, histories and achievements of African and Caribbean communities and their diaspora.
Hi, I’m Malaika, I’m studying events management and I’m a BAME Ambassador, this is why I love Black History Month; it’s more exciting to me than Christmas because it’s a time where we highlight black history, black genius, black joy, and black excellence.
As a black woman, I often feel underrepresented and practically invisible in the media, but every October I am seen. As I'm sure you can all agree, when black people are actually in the media we’re not always portrayed in the best light, but October is one month of the year where we’re celebrated.
Black History Month is so much more than stories about racism, it is a time where I can appreciate my blackness, learn about my ancestors and help other people get a better understanding of what it’s like to be black.
After World War 2, Britain was in ruins and there was a shortage of labour, so the UK asked immigrants from the commonwealth to come and work, the first-ever ship that arrived to the UK was called the ‘Empire Windrush’ and so people who came across at this time were known as being in the Windrush generation. My Grandparents came to England from the West-Indies as a part of the Windrush generation in the 1960’s. My Granddad was from Barbados and worked as a mechanic and my Grandma came from St-Kitts and Nevis and worked as a receptionist.
In 1994 my Mum (who was born in Manchester) took a welfare case to the High Court that established case law around the residence rules for people coming to the UK - known as the Habitual Residence Test. She also took a disability case to court that ensured that people with hearing impairments have a right to extra financial support to enable them to function effectively in their day to day lives. And she took a case to the European Court of Human Rights that gave the same rights to widowers as is the case for widows.
I am extremely proud to say that my mother, a black British woman, has changed the lives of other people in the UK.
Black History Month is an opportunity to collate modern black history as well as that from the past. Black people are present all over the world and have made huge contributions to modern life in the UK. Black history is a crucial part of this nation’s history, but unfortunately, it’s not taught enough and so Black History Month is extremely important for all of us to continue to learn.
Every October I challenge myself to read two books written by black people, this year I have chosen “Slay In Your Lane by Yomi Adegoke” and “Becoming by Michelle Obama” – both books can be found in our library.