What is Black History Month?

Black History Month is a month-long celebration of the achievements of Black people throughout history right up to today. It is an opportunity for everyone to learn about the history and the Black community while also making strides to eradicate the inequality that still exists in society today.

When was Black history month first celebrated?

Back in 1926 Carter G Woodson, the son of former slaves, founded the first Black History Week in the USA. He worked to promote the history of Black people in schools and wider society his entire life.

Black History Month was then expanded throughout the USA and took place in this context, for the first time in 1970. It was held at Kent State University and for the first few years mainly took place in education establishments, especially those with a high proportion of African-American students.

It wasn’t until 1976 that the then President of the United States, Gerald Ford acknowledged the awareness month and urged Americans to “honour the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavour throughout our history”.

 

“Honour the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavour throughout our history."
Gerald Ford, President of the United States

What Black History Month means to me

This October, Blueprint for All are inviting our supporters, employees, and partners to share what Black History Month means to them.

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Black History Month in the UK

Black History in UK schools has historically been focused primarily within a colonial perspective, with Wales being the first home nation to mandate black history being taught in school. Black ‘stories’ are often omitted from the curriculum despite the UK’s strong connection with Africa, the Caribbean and India. Black History Month was therefore introduced in 1987 as way of focussing education establishments and wider society to recognise the contribution of ethnic minority groups to British society and culture from throughout history.

Whilst it is widely debated that curricula should teach black history all year around, October serves as an opportunity for society at large to recognise those contributions, practice tolerance and learn about racism and inequality.

Why is Black history month important?

The murder of George Floyd and subsequent global reaction in April 2020, resulted in people from all backgrounds and cultures becoming acutely aware that inequality still affects ethnic minorities in Britain today. As a charity determined to embed inclusion in the UK, we understand more than most the lack of opportunity that those from Black and ethnic minority backgrounds still experience.

Still from our CreateChange Campaign Video

That’s why Blueprint for All exists, to help build a fairer future for all. We start by supporting young people aged 13-30 with tangible opportunities to succeed. We work with many Black led community groups and social enterprises who are leading local projects designed to tackle disadvantage and discrimination. You can find out more about what we do here.

We celebrate the achievements of the young people and community groups we work with daily, Black History Month serves as an important moment in time to also remember those that paved the way before us and to prompt important discussions at a national level about what the future could hold for young Black Britons today.

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