Although we at Soaring Stars Education celebrate and teach Black History all year round in our Saturday School, Black History Month is celebrated one month of the year in the UK in October. It aims to celebrate the heritage and culture of black people, and their contribution to British society as a whole. Each year has a theme, and inspired by the 2020 Black Lives Matter events, this years theme is called ‘Proud To Be’. It will invite Black and Brown people of all ages throughout the UK to share what they are proud to be of.
What is Black History Month & how did it start? The event was officially recognised by the US government in 1976 and then first celebrated in the UK in 1987. The celebration aims to promote and celebrate Black contributions to British society, as well as fostering an understanding of Black history in general. Its origins go back to the 1920s in the United States, which then evolved into Black History Month & was marked every February. February was chosen because both Frederick Douglass (the African-American social reformer & activist) and President Abraham Lincoln both lie in this month. In the UK, Black History Month was launched in the 1980s in London and was largely the result of local community activism that challenged racism in British society. Black History Month has now become an important date in the cultural calendar of many museums, galleries and local authorities in the UK. Many are putting on special events, which you can find here. The focus of Black History Month has also expanded its coverage over the years to include the history of African, Asian and Caribbean peoples and their contribution to Britain.
What is the theme about & how can I get involved with the Proud to Be campaign?
Black History Month UK says it wants to focus on “celebrating being Black or Brown” in response to all the challenging media coverage. “It’s been a challenging time for many Black and Brown people, with so much in the media about racism, inequality and injustice. We wanted the theme of Black History Month 2021 to focus on celebrating being Black or Brown, and to inspire and share the pride people have in their heritage and culture – in their own way, in their own words,” said Catherine Ross, Editor at Black History Month magazine. She added: “By asking people to share what they are Proud To Be we can share both individual stories and the vast richness of diversity that Black and Brown people bring to the UK. “Black Lives Matter means people being able to live life to the fullest without having to compromise who they are. Everyone deserves the right to be Proud To Be everything they are and want to be in life.” It’s easy to get involved. Black History Month UK is encouraging people to share their “Proud To Be” via letter, email, or social media (using hashtag ProudToBe), video and audio clips. You can find contact info on the Black History Month UK magazine website. We have also created a resource with some activities you can do with your children around Proud to be (as well as many others) which you can download for free on our TES store here.