Black History Month is the month in which African history and heritage is celebrated throughout the UK. Such celebrations are owed to Dr Carter G Woodson, an American black scholar, who noticed from his studies that history books largely ignored the black American population. After establishing the Association for the study of Negro Life and History and founding the journal of Negro History, Woodson launched Negro History Week in 1926. This aimed to bring national attention to the contributions of black people through American History.
This history week was chosen to be the second week in February by Woodson as it marks the birthdays of two men who greatly impacted on the American black population: Frederick Douglas an American abolitionist who worked to end slavery and Abraham Lincoln, the American President who freed slaves during the civil war.
In the UK BHM emerged as part of the African Jubilee Year for Marcus Garvey Centenary celebrations in America. Akyaaba Addai Sebbo coordinator of Special Projects at the Greater London Council (GLC) is acknowledged as the originator in the UK, with the first event in 1987. Since then BHM has grown to over 6,000 events being celebrated across the UK every October with activities such as lectures, conferences, concerts and specialist programmes in community centers, schools, libraries and museums which highlight and celebrate the achievements and contributions that Black people have made to the development of British society, technology, economy and culture.
Black History Month Wales engages, educates and empowers individuals, community groups and Wales-wide communities in acknowledging and recognising the contribution that the African Diaspora has made in the history of Wales’ economic and cultural development. It also allows the wider community to take part, learn and celebrate together to promote understanding and share our global history.
Wales arguably hosts one of the first truly multi-cultural cities in the world where numerous races have lived side-by-side in harmony for many decades. Wales remains aware and proud of its diversity and rich past and it celebrates a great tradition of sharing stories and welcoming visitors from around the world.
Did you know… that Betty Campbell MBE was the first and the only Black head teacher in Wales until her retirement in 1999?.
BHM Wales aims:
- Educate people in Wales.
- Challenge negative perceptions.
- Celebrate the positive contributions
- Promote the history of people of African Diaspora heritage.
The ultimate goal is to see meaningful activities happening all year round, 365 days of the year and not just in October. Black History is everyone’s history and should be studied, celebrated and showcased as part the national curriculum, additional educational activities, artistic programmes, College and University Studies and Museum and Gallery exhibits.