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Black History Month on my mind

simon-woolleySimon Woolley remembers the history of Black History Month and its’ founder, Dr Carter G Woodson

Welcome to Black History Month, a month long annual event in which schools, colleges, local authorities, community centres and many more celebrate primarily, but not exclusively, African and Caribbean history.

Although it has been going on here for more that thirty years its origins began on North America in the late 1920’s. Back then it was called ‘Negro history month’.

Carter G Woodson

Dr Carter G Woodson

Both in the USA and here, the reason for Black History Month was simple: in a white-dominated world that had, for many centuries, denegrated the Black world and attempted – with some success – to erase our true history, we needed to rewrite history from our perspective.

Great men such as Dr Carter G Woodson began this particularly drive to articulate our Black history.

Woodson, himself was born to parents who were former slaves, and spent his childhood working in the Kentucky coal mines before enrolling in high school at the age of twenty. He graduated within two years and later went on to earn a Ph.D. from Harvard.

Unlike the UK’s October month that celebrates Black history, the USA chose February because it marks the birthday of two great Americans – Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln.

Here in the UK in the last few years our BHM events have become bigger, bolder and celebrated much wider than the target audience. To know what’s generally going during Black History Month your first port of call should be here. It’s action packed with great events.

My month kicks of with Diane Abbott’s annual Black Schools Achievement Awards at the House of Commons. What a great place, and great company, to start BHM. Also see OBV’s tribute to Mahatma Ghandi, today, the 140th anniversary of his birth.

I hope you enjoy this month as much as we certainly will.


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