Black history is 365 days a year, however since 1987, October has been observed annually as UK’s Black History Month.
Black History Month (BHM) was initiated in London in 1987 to address concerns about an observable identity crisis in Black children.
Some children struggled with their racial identity and did not identify with their African roots. Being referred to as African could cause offence and some Black children would deny and mask their cultural heritage due to shame and racism.
Those who were part of establishing Black History Month in the UK chose October as they believed it was a significant period of the year to engage the youth: Young people had settled into their new learning environment and they didn’t have to worry about exams and tests taking place during the month.
BHM has always presented the opportunity for all communities to learn about the contributions which Africa, Africans and people of African descent have made to world civilisation. As years have passed this has expanded, and throughout the month we are invited to engage in learning about personal stories; historical and contemporary achievements and events and issues pertaining to Black people in Britain and beyond.
Instilling self-pride into Black children and young people is at the centre of UK’s BHM origin story and this carried through this year’s theme Proud2Be.