October marks Black History Month and this year, our approach is a little different. While we recognise the importance of marking this month, we also recognise that one month is not enough to encompass the gravity of Black history and the Black experience. Therefore, we are committing to honouring black history for the entire year through various events, sessions, and the sharing of key resources. We already have lots of exciting things in the works and can’t wait to share these with you!
This page will be kept up to date all year round, so keep an eye out for exciting updates.
What is Black History Month?
In the UK, Black History Month occurs every October and is an opportunity to educate and understand Black histories, putting a particular focus on celebrating Black achievement. It is not just about celebrating Black heritage and culture, but also recognizing the contributions of Black people to society.
Initially, Black History Month was created with the aim of teaching young people about these contributions hoping to promote stories that had largely been neglected from the national narrative, encouraging people to challenge racism and educate themselves on this part of British history that was not taught in schools. Black History Month has evolved to also celebrate those who have impacted the country and the world with their achievements and activism.
While Black History Month provides an opportunity to bring Black achievement to the forefront, it is important to embrace Black History Month beyond the confines of a single month. For that reason, our approach to BHM celebrations will look a little different this year. In line with the University of Wolverhampton approach, we want to celebrate Black history all year round and ensure that important conversations about race disparity and inequality remain prevalent and encourage meaningful change.
Where did Black History Month originate?
Over time, the successes of Black people have frequently been ignored, distorted or completely overlooked, despite being such a vital part of British history. Within British history curriculums there is still a large focus on the traditional achievements of white figures. Black History Month provides a chance to share and understand black heritage and culture.
It is essential to develop a continued engagement with history to give context and deepened understanding for the present. Now more than ever, this is especially relevant. Following such a turbulent period where calls for justice reached a high, BHM provides a stark reminder to scrutinize systemic racism and highlight key people and organizations fighting to create change.
Intersectionality and BHM
When celebrating Black history, it is also important to highlight the overlap in systems of oppression. Social categories such as race, gender, sexual orientation, religion and ability can interact on multiple levels and often simultaneously, create a multidimensional basis of social inequality. Therefore, it is vital to recognize and fight these inequalities WITHIN inequalities.
In line with this campaign, we will be launching a documentary series outlining the experiences of underrepresented groups in academia, life and in Wolverhampton. To launch the series, Angel will be hosting a discussion with two groups of students – one with Black mixed-race students and one with Black international students. We will be having an honest and safe group conversation about the lives they have lived so far and their hopes for the future.
These will be shared in a video format through our YouTube and social channels, so that other students can hear how similar or how different other experiences have been in and outside academia. We hope to celebrate our achievements and acknowledge our struggles.